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For mysterious reasons (ahem), Hollywood is largely hostile to Christian America.
Lionsgate has picked up the screen rights to Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, the best-seller written by Dr. Reza Aslan.
“Reza Aslan has written a remarkable book that manages to bring the ancient world into contemporary relief and to make a timeless story very timely,” said Lionsgate motion picture group’s president of production Erik Feig. “We are excited to create this uniquely cinematic and immersive world for moviegoers to experience.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Tom Cruise has yet another sci-fi-film-cum-Scientology-Analogue in the upcoming (and blandly named) film Edge of Tomorrow:
Ever wonder what Hollywood might cook up it it ever crossed Groundhog Day with Predator?
In Edge of Tomorrow, director Doug Limon (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity) explores the possibilities of aliens and time loops in the upcoming spring release, which asks the cinematic question: What would happen if you drop Phil Connors in the middle of Starship Troopers?
In the film, the Cruise plays Lt. Col. Bill Cage, a futuristic soldier attempting to stop an alien invasion.
I have little doubt that the projects Tom Cruise elects to work on, especially in the past 15 years, correlate highly with his obsession with Scientology cosmology.
L. Ron Hubbard believed that having the book cover of Dianetics depict a volcano exploding would, upon the masses seeing such an image, trigger “ancient memories” about the whole Xenu incident. Similarly, I’m sure Cruise believes the same about movies and the overall power of the image.
Nonetheless, in the sci-fi genre at least, Cruise doesn’t choose crap projects. Regardless of Cruise’s motivations for doing Edge of Tomorrow, the film is based on a Japanese novel called All You Need Is Kill, which sound promising.
Yet another example, this time at one of the msot poignant instances possible for driving the point home, of of how Africa is, well, different than the West:
(CNN) — To those outside the deaf community, the sign language interpreter for Nelson Mandela’s memorial may have looked like he was working hard, translating the spoken words into gestures for four hours.
But he has been dubbed “a fake,” and his actions outraged deaf people, according to an association for the deaf community in South Africa.
The service to commemorate the revered statesman, who died last week at the age of 95, was broadcast to millions of viewers around the world.
While dignitaries addressed the crowd Tuesday at Johannesburg’s FNB stadium, the unidentified suited man with a security pass produced a series of hand signals that experts say meant nothing.
On C-SPAN’s BookTV this past weekend, I caught David Horowitz speaking on his new book The Black Book of the American Left: The Collected Conservative Writings of David Horowitz.
Horowitz was excellent as always, showcasing his ability to distill the philosophical and motivational desires that animates the Left. Horowitz’s own political journey, best detailed in his earlier book Radical Son, is the journey of a stereotypical NYC Jewish Marxist upbringing, that then goes through a young adulthood of radical leftwing activism, before having a belated conservative awakening later in life (predicated on the murder of a friend and colleague of his by the Black Panthers), before landing into his current career of conservative activism. (On foreign policy issues, Horowitz is a staunch neoconservative, for obvious reasons.)
In his C-SPAN talk, he made a fascinating point of analysis wherein he characterized the Left/Right (or Progressive/Conservative) binary as being past-oriented vs. future-oriented. Conservatives, by their nature, look to the past for guidance on what works, what doesn’t, etc. The past, after all, is empirical; it actually happened. The Left, on the other hand, preoccupies itself with utopian longings for an imagined future. They dream of an impossible world of absolute equality, where the crooked timber of human nature doesn’t exist, andand rationalize their ‘ends justifies the means’ tactics as a tragic (but necessary) step towards the creation of Heaven on Earth.
You can view Horowitz’s speech here.
Colin Wilson, the prolific and eccentric writer on occult and other matters has died.
At age 24, a precocious Wilson penned The Outsider (1956), a reimagining of classic existential-oriented literature and arts that made a big splash. It’s a decent book, well written, and certainly one of the first books to look at modern literature through the lens of existentialist philosophy. Wilson espoused a “theory of the new existentialism”:
Colin Wilson, the writer, who has died 82, suspected he was a genius; and there were some who agreed with him when in 1956, aged 24, he published The Outsider, a somewhat portentous overview of existentialism and alienation.
Examining the role of outsiders in the arts, Wilson’s attention roamed across a multitude of figures such as Camus, Nietzsche, Kafka, Sartre, Hermann Hesse and Van Gogh. Few first books have been greeted with such unequivocal enthusiasm. Edith Sitwell, Cyril Connolly and Philip Toynbee were among those who hailed Wilson as one of the brightest young writers of the moment…
Wilson once observed: “I consider my life work that of a philosopher, and my purpose to create a new and optimistic existentialism.”
Over at the indispensable Daily Grail website, David Metcalfe has a nice article on Wilson.
Two lost Peter Sellers films have been discovered:
Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good For You are two comedy shorts, each 30 minutes long. They were made by the actor in 1957, the early period of his film career.
The studio behind the shorts, Park Lane Films, has long since closed down, but the films were discovered dumped outside the company’s offices in 1996. It is only now that they will be screened to the public for the first time…
In both films, Sellers assumes a number of roles, and appears to treat them as showreels to display a variety of his talents.
While he’s best known for his masterful performance in The Pink Panther (1963), as well as Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Being There (1979), Sellers’ prodigious cinematic output, while mediocre much of the time, has some other gems, most being of a ‘Swingin’ Sixties’ vibe.
Slowly, I’ve been checking out Sellers’ back catalogue and can recommend (in order of preference) these flawed, but endearing films:
- I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)
- The Party (1968)
- The Magic Christian (1969)
- After The Fox (1966)
An unreleased Johnny Cash album from the mid ’80s is being released:
Cash’s estate is releasing “Out Among the Stars,” an album he recorded with Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s that was never released by Columbia Records, then disappeared when the company dropped Cash in 1986. Turns out Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, stashed the tapes — along with just about everything else that came into their possession.
On the one hand, there’s this hint that the sound and production of the album will be the crappy, schmaltzy, ‘pop’ sound that dominates mainstream ‘country’ music right through today:
The music being released was recorded during a difficult period for Cash personally and professionally.
Columbia paired him with Sherrill, a producer and Country Music Hall of Fame member who was then the president of CBS Records Nashville. One of the main architects of country music’s so-called countrypolitan sound, Sherrill helped push the genre toward pop sounds and conventions — and away from Cash’s more independent-minded ways.
The pairing came at a time when Cash was at a low ebb in his popularity. The music on “Out Among the Stars” is taken from 1981 and `84 sessions, at a time when country music was going through great change.
On the other hand, there’s the question of why the same Pop Machine rejected the album. Was it it because Cash refused (or minimized a move towards) the pop sound, or was it because the album just sucked even by Pop Machine standards?
“Dad was always uniquely himself,” Cash said. “And later on the world would come back around. He never modified himself. But Nashville at the time was in a completely different place. It was the `Urban Cowboy’ phase. It was pop country, and dad was not that. I think him working with Billy was sort of an effort by the record company to put him more in the circle of Music Row and see what could happen at the heart of that machine.”
It was clear record company executives didn’t think much of the outcome. They put out a few more Cash albums after the recordings were made, but never used the music from those sessions before dropping him. Sherrill backed Cash with a band that consisted of fellow Country Hall of Fame member Hargus “Pig” Robbins and a young friend of Cash’s named Marty Stuart.
The younger Cash and his co-producer, archivist Steve Berkowitz, decided they’d bring Stuart back in to re-record his parts with 30 years more experience as a picker. Others, including Buddy Miller and Jerry Douglas, helped fortify the original tapes as well. The 12 tracks include a duet with Waylon Jennings and two with June Carter Cash.
On the day of the incident, we already had reports of the chaotic police and military response. Now we have this, which, if true, is one more example of how the West is different than Africa:
A report by the New York Police Department into the September terror attacks at an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya suggests that only four gunmen were involved — and all four may have escaped the clutches of the Kenyan police and armed forces.
To the aforementioned points about Conservative Inc’s Mandela Problem, Mediaite is on a virtual 24/7 cycle of pumping out posts on liberals’ highlighting of conservative opposition to Mandela in the ’80s, as well as on the gulf between Conservative, Inc opinions of Mandela and the grassroots’ opinions.
“Jake Tapper and Guests Take on Conservative ‘Trolls’ Attacking Mandela” reads one header.
Here’s one on the The Reverend weighing in (“Al Sharpton: ‘Betrayal of History’ to ‘Sugarcoat’ U.S.’s Opposition to Mandela“):
On NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning, MSNBC host Al Sharpton warned against “sugarcoating” America’s ambivalent history with Nelson Mandela, and pushed back against another panelist who argued that Ronald Reagan was aggressive in his support of Mandela’s release.
“There was a real battle in this country,” Sharpton said. “So when Randall Robinson and Maxine Waters and Reverend Jackson led that fight, they were attacked for supporting communism.”
“Let’s remember, the ANC, they were pursuing freedom,” Sharpton continued. “Many of the communist nations embraced them, this country did not. It was not like they were born Marxist; they were born people seeking to be free. Some of the Marxist nations, either genuinely or in a self-interested way, tried to embrace that. This country did not and fought that and denounced them and denigrated them. And I think for us now to sugarcoat that is a betrayal of history. We chose sides. We chose the wrong side.”
“It wasn’t that the United States was taking the side of the South African government and apartheid,” Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot said. “Everyone agreed that apartheid was odious. The disagreement was over how best to pursue the breakdown. After the sanctions debate, President Reagan picked an ambassador, Edward Perkins, to South Africa, who was a black American, who argued for the release of Mandela, and may in fact have had significant influence in releasing him.”
Sharpton wasn’t having this. “Let’s be clear, Reagan supported veto on bills, Reagan denounced Mandela, called him names. He evolved after a protest movement here turned the tone and public opinion. But let’s not act like Reagan was a major supporter of Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. It’s just not true.”
And to that aforementioned awkward prostrating by Conservative, Inc, we have “Newt Gingrich Fires Back at Anti-Mandela Facebook Commenters“, wherein that heavyset believer in activist government was asked by CNN’s Candystore Crowley about the many negative comments Newt has received on his FB page, like this one:
… and this one:
Newt, not surprisingly, was himself “surprised” by such reaction, and “amazed at the intensity” of it.
Gingrich responded on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning.
“What would you have done?” Gingrich asked, noting that Mandela opposed, both politically and personally, what was effectively “a police state.” “After 27 years in prison, he doesn’t come out bitter. He doesn’t come out angry. He comes out as an extraordinarily wise man who actually invites his prison guard to sit in the front row at his inauguration as president.”
Host Candy Crowley asked if Gingrich thought the commenters were fellow conservatives. (A similar group also bothered Ted Cruz’s remembrance of Mandela on his own Facebook page.)
“I think some people bought a rationale that defined everybody who was in any way in rebellion against the established system in the third world as anti-American,” Gingrich said. “There are people who have sustained this kind of mythology. There’s no question that in the ’50s Mandela moved from a nonviolent model toward being allied with the Communists. My point to conservatives is: there weren’t any conservative allies. Churchill allied with Stalin in World War II. I think in a similar tradition, Mandela was desperate by that stage, he saw the scale of the oppression, and the only allies that were available, frankly, were on the hard left.
I also love Candystore saying that Reagan, in his opposition to sanctions against South African within the context of the Cold War, presuming Reagan was “on the wrong side of history”.