The Taser's Edge

The Social Network is not the Best Picture of the Year
January 20, 2011, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Art, Film, History, In the News | Tags: , , ,

To be clear, it is very well-written (no surprise), solidly acted, and very well-directed (no surprise), but it’s not ambitious enough. My pet theory as to why it has a great chance to still take the Oscar has three parts:

1.) The better films always split the votes, so the quality-but-not-best film wins every year.
2.) The more ‘American’ the story is, the better chance it has of winning, and this is definitely an American film.
3.) The folks who make up the Academy are generally older, and they mistake their awe at the existence of Facebook (and at the fact that people care about it) for the feeling of watching a true best picture.

Back to My Roots

I was going to put up a clip of Jesus Camp, but all the clips made me way too uncomfortable.  Then I thought about putting up the Bill Maher clip where he and his panel are ‘reviewing’ the movie (and all of religion, as Maher likes to do).  But as much as I love Bradley Whitford in every iteration of his same basic Aaron Sorkin character, he is kind of an idiot when he talks, at least on this show.  Note that I would never say that of Maher.  I love his stuff and think he’s a genius, probably even in the technical sense, although I do find his take on religion to be overly dogmatic (ironically, that’s the exact word to describe it).

When Jesus Camp came out, Duke University showed it in its weekend film series.  I went with Holly and a couple Divinity School friends, and we all four walked out discussing how much of the weird Christian stuff in the movie we had seen and/or done in various churches and church camps in our Christian pasts, and none of us (I don’t think) had a particularly out-there Christian past.  For instance, we had seen or personally joined in prayers over the seats in a church before a worship service, that God would bless each person there, or that a sound system wouldn’t cause problems.

For a while I was ashamed of that stuff, or at least really really really uncomfortable.  No, ashamed is accurate.  Recently I had the thought that maybe I should go back to what my head labels as ‘stupid prayers.’  Because underlying all prayers for stupid little things is the belief that God cares about all the little things.

Until recently, I had always thought of Jesus saying that God has numbered the hairs of our heads as a statement affirming divine omniscient.  (Now you can recognize my title as a pun.)  That is, God knows the number of hairs on my head because he knows everything.  I think I missed the point.  By about a nautical mile.  Now when I think of that statement I consider this image: God cradles us and lovingly counts our hairs one by one out of his overwhelming love.  It’s kind of like the new parent who continually stares at the miracle of her first child, its delicateness, its apparent miraculousness, and its utter dependence on her.  She is lost in that child, and even though she knows exactly how soft the skin of her newborn’s face feels, she brushes a finger across the skin again and again in a sense of wonder.  God knows us.  God made us and yet he is still in awe of us.

God cares about stupid things.  And people should pray about stupid things.

(A note that should be an entire other post: Most of the time I avoid male language for God, because God’s not a male.  The problem with avoiding personal pronouns with God, however, is that in losing them you lose a personal God; English fails to communicate any personhood. Because this was a post about our very personal God, she needed personhood.)