Friday, January 11, 2013
More Les Mis Revelations, Musicals, and Gun Control
So, as you know, I love Les Miserables: the book, the musical, and now the movie. Today I downloaded the audiobook (it's 57 hours long, so it will be my companion for the foreseeable future running in the park and riding in the car). Listen to (or I guess read) the Victor Hugo's preface to the book: "So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century - the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labor, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night - are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a still broder point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this."
Well said, Victor (Yeah, we're on a first name basis; no big deal.). The question is, why don't we have more books like this - sprawling books that speak to the social condition, the human condition, and the need for redemption? There still seems to be enough ignorance and misery to go around. I think Jay Phelan points in the right direction: post-modernity and cynicism have disregarded all grand narratives, especially about redemption. And don't even get me started on "Christian fiction," which either focus on personal salvation, terrible eschatology surrounding the "End Times" (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Left Behind), or narrow notions of Christian morality. I wish we had some present-day Victor Hugos.
Speaking of musicals, I hope this is me in 40 or so years.
The Minnesota Gophers are ranked 8th in the country! In unrelated news, plagues of frogs have been sighted and and an international outbreak of boils have been reported as the end of the world must be around the corner.
If they make this 1 trillion dollar platinum coin, I hope they at least use it for the Super Bowl coin toss or as a prize in some type of bio-dome/Hunger Games competition.
After Kim Crawford told me that it was a bit disconcerting to see a poll on physician-assisted suicide next to pictures of my new nieces, I decided to switch it out. So, vote early, vote often!
I was really happy to see Wayne LaPierre, executive Vice President of the NRA, continue to make great suggestions of what should be done in the wake of unmitigated gun violence (and yes, I'm riffing off some Stewart/Colbert material): armed police in schools (how could that go wrong?), controlling violent video games and movies for children (this is probably the sanest of his recommendations), a national database of the "lunatics" and "monsters" roaming the street (I'm assuming he means the mentally-ill, who need care and treatment more than their names on a registry). Anything else, Msr LaPierre? I've got a couple of my own:
-ban semi-automatic assault rifles, and not just the manufacturing of them as the previous assault weapons ban did, leaving hundreds of thousands on the market.
-ban high-capacity magazines. Someone please tell me how any citizen needs a 30-bullet magazine (used in the Newtown shootings) let alone a 100-bullet drum (as used in the Aurora shootings) in their lives?
-clamp down on unlicensed gun sales at gun shows (and enforce background checks at gun shows!) and close the gun show loophole.
-beat all guns and armaments of every kind into plowshares and study war no more.
Alas, I think the last one will have trouble getting through the House of Representatives. A boy can dream!
This evening I'm going to a restaurant in Boston (duh) called Jacob Wirth that has a Friday evening sing-along. They describe it on the sing-along on the website as "rock/oldies from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, with plenty of show tunes and standards, too." So basically, this place is my dream come true.
So, until then I'll be reading The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion - 1805-1900. Jealous?