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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Friday, May 14 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Postmoderns

In the previous looks at this topic, while saying that all of us are being shaped by and will become more aware of postmodern influences, I proposed several phenomena that strike me as exceptional examples—"set pieces" to use an apt metaphor from the art world—of what's happening in this latest philosophical movement. The examples were the revelations about abuse in an Iraqi prison by American soldiers (and especially the way these revelations came out, through erotic photographs), the well known movie now already a decade old, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, and the public personna of Britney Spears.

I'm not a fan of Britney and know probably less about her than most members of the general US population do. But I know she maintained that she was a virgin into her independent adult life, even after she started cohabiting with Justin Timberlake; she was married for 54 hours to a longtime acquaintance from her school years; she dabbles with the "religion du jour," the Jewish-based "kabbalah" that has been popularized by Madonna and other well-known Hollywood-type celebrities; she's a Southern Baptist "at heart" (by some reports), and she announced that her current concert tour would be "sexed up" (observers thought in the Janet Jackson mold).

Though Pulp Fiction wasn't exactly a box office blockbuster, it has been talked about and clips of it shown on enough talk shows that many people probably know as much about it as I know about Britney Spears (search). I saw it when it first appeared in theaters and my sons and I have discussed it extensively over the years. It's about, to make a long story short, hit men who discuss what Big Macs are called in Paris and religion between hit jobs, one of whom is "miraculously" spared a hit upon himself and goes through a spiritual awakening through it.

I don't think anyone can yet be certain what was going on in the Iraqi prison where American soldiers forced their sleep- and clothing-deprived charges to play out erotic tableaus. It may have been plain meanness or imagined revenge for attacks on American prisoners of the war, but some have suggested it may have been more related to boredom and—especially germain the topic—a perverse attempt, at least in some of the incidences, as playfulness, more meant as fun as the pornography-saturated American young adults construe it, than torture.

What all of these pieces have in common is their seeming total lack of any internal consistency. Britney is a Baptist, a practitioner of Jewish occult arcana, a virgin and a "ho," a dabbler in marriage as fun and games while protesting afterward her high view of marriage and desire not to lead anyone astray. Pulp Fiction is one of the most violent, most obscene, and yet most unguardedly "religious" films of the past decade. The prison abuse in Iraq is both an American disgrace and (some propose) "innocent fun" with sexual perversion.

All are symptomatic of people who've gone through the fire and not been so much "refined" as found wanting any pure metal in their cores (Zechariah 13, Malachi 3, Revelation 3).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Will Rogers' wisdom

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.

— Sent by Carl Essex 

Thought for today

In a lot of cases, the presidents with very strong faith were liberal Democrats. It is interesting that liberals don't mind that at all. When it's their guy with a strong faithwhether it's Jimmy Carter or Woodrow Wilson or Harry Trumanthat's just great. FDR inscribing Bibles and sending them to the troops. God bless him! But when a Republican president cites Jesus Christ as his favorite philosopher, as George W. Bush did on a famous occasion, then, well, the liberals cry out that [Tomás de] Torquemada is on the loose and warn gravely of the coming Inquisition.

Paul Kengor, author, God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life; associate prof. at Grove City College. Interview by Stephen Goode 

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