Hitchcock and the Moral-Religious Criticism of Art

 

Have you listened to my new movie podcast about Psycho? During the discussion of the moral concerns and conservative intentions of the movie-making, we tried to bring in the objects of art, and suggested that Hitchcock shows the audience certain important juxtapositions of movie plot and works of art, of settings–like the imposing residence–and societies–liberalism. I want to show you the works of art and to discuss their importance to the movie’s moral concerns. I’ll discuss them in the order in which they appear.

1. The Bates house, a very stately, old-fashioned kind of California architecture. The design is taken from Ed Hopper’s House by a railroad.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

College vs. the Love of Wisdom

 

Part I: A sad realization

While we Ricochetti may find it regrettable, the vast majority of human beings aren’t interested in ideas. In my Advanced International Relations class, we met once a week after reading a book. It was mentally electrifying. We ran the gamut of different ideas and theories and hammered out what they all meant. The teacher was superb, and it was a smaller class, so it was perfect for discussion. The class was among the most intellectually productive things I’ve ever done. Sadly, I doubt that a majority of the students were really into it. I asked my Professor why the students were so uninterested in the morality of torture and wars and Empires. He shrugged and said that while he always found it odd, it was usually that way.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Who Is Robert Mueller? Louie Gohmert Fills Us In.

 

I think that this is good and necessary background for us all to know. This is from “The Hugh Hewitt Show” last Friday. Rose Tennent is filling in for Hugh and interviews Rep. Louie Gohmert. I am struck by the recusal of AG John Ashcroft. It seems Comey and Rosenstein are playing from the same playbook. Gohmert is initially talking about how Patrick Fitzgerald was selected during Bush’s tenure.

Here’s the audio link for this short excerpt (you don’t have to join Dropbox to listen to it):

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Quote of the Day: The Atheist Who Pushed Me to Serious Christianity

 

Now if I’d really seen [God], really there, really alive, it’d be in me like a fever. If I thought there was some god who really did care two hoots about people, who watched ’em like a father and cared for ’em like a mother … well, you wouldn’t catch me sayin’ things like ‘there are two sides to ever question’ and ‘we must respect other people’s beliefs.’ You wouldn’t find me just being gen’rally nice in the hope that it’d all turn out right in the end, not if that flame was burning in me like an unforgivin’ sword. And I did say burnin’, Mister Oats, ‘cos that’s what it’d be. You say that you people don’t burn folk and sacrifice people anymore, but that’s what true faith would mean, y’see? Sacrificin’ your own life, one day at a time, to the flame, declarin’ the truth of it, workin’ for it, breathin’ the soul of it. That’s religion. Anything else is just … is just bein’ nice. And a way of keepin’ in touch with the neighbors. — Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum

When I first read this passage a decade ago, it struck me like the proverbial bolt out of the blue. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are just funny stories set on a flat earth resting on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle that swims through space, and yet here was a passage that so neatly encapsulated my frustrations with my church it could have been written for me. We were a church that seemed to exist for friends to spend time together while the world church leadership dragged us further and further into political correctness.

More

Obsession with Health

 

I am keenly aware of the continual onslaught of medical studies that are written, supposedly to improve our health: studies that talk about eating disorders, obesity, helpful drugs, dangerous drugs, unhealthy foods, fiber-rich foods. And I stopped paying attention to them a while ago. No one is going to stop me from drinking my glass of zinfandel at dinner, my full-test coffee at breakfast, and my chocolate chip cookie after dinner. But I’m concerned about my fellow Americans, especially regarding their growing concerns about health. So I decided to do some research. I learned more than I wanted to know: we are obsessed with our health. I also came to the conclusion that these obsessions may say less about our health and more about our search for control, perfection and meaning.

Now I’ve been aware of this pre-occupation in our culture for many years. It’s important for me to state that I am not describing people who have serious, debilitating and painful health concerns; a number of Ricochettis bravely struggle with these kinds of issues. Instead I am speaking about the overload of information that we continually receive about what people should put into their bodies and how they respond to it. And we aren’t alone in this country; many articles I read were published in British newspapers. What does this obsession look like, and what is it telling us about ourselves?

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

It Is Finished.

 

Strength is waning. Reflexes in doubt.

“Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.” JFK

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Life and Treadmills

 

Hello again, Ricochet. Sorry I haven’t written for so long. I do have a good excuse. It’s been a busy Spring. Also, I almost died.

I write the above not as hyperbole nor the start of some clever device. (Those come later, hopefully.) It’s fact. It is the first time I’ve written it as fact. I’m trying it on for size, like the tuxedo my daughter will no doubt someday force me to wear at her wedding. It will never seem to fit and I’ll never be ready to wear it. But there it is, hanging across my shoulders, staring back at me in the mirror. It’s also worth mentioning that I’m writing this from my MacBook in my hospital bed, watching CNN (sorry, it was that or MSNBC and seriously, CNN, what’s with you?) catching up on the story of a far worse fight for life than mine – although mine was no small potatoes. I have an IV still in my left arm, six bandages from previous blood tests, three bee sting sensations from Lovenox stomach injections and a heart monitor strapped to my chest for proof of that.

More

Special Counsel II

 

I walked slowly through the tunnel under the US Capitol Building. My longtime friend, attorney, part-time oenophile, and newly appointed Special Counsel II, E. Hobart Calhoun, and I were on our way to E’s first public hearing since his appointment by AG Beauregard Sessions.

E. was appointed to look into the collusion, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and felonious leaking by Special Counsel Robert “Ferris” Mueller, former FBI Director Jim Crony, and numerous Obama holdovers in the Justice Department and the Deep State, all designed to end the Trump Presidency.

More

ACF #4 — “Psycho”

 

Welcome to the fourth episode of the American Cinema Foundation movie podcast! Today, I am joined by my friend and Ricochet compeer @stsalieriericcook. Eric Cook is a history teacher in a charter school in North Carolina, an organist in a church, and a builder of pipe organs, actually. One of Ricochet’s eccentric scholar-gentlemen, with an all-American upbringing in the working classes of Western Pennsylvania and a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes angry respect for the dignity of work, which is not faring well in our times. He also scores silent films–this is his BluRay of the 1922 movie Timothy’s quest–and leads the Ivy Leaf Orchestra!

More

Honor Thy Father

 

We make a big fuss about mothers in our culture. Think of how often politicians offer sympathy to “heroic” single moms who are doing such an amazing job. Many do, and of course, their lives are extremely hard and they deserve sympathy. As a mother of three sons, I cannot imagine how I would have managed alone. That much having been said, this Father’s Day is a good time to remember that fathers are crucial to their children’s happiness and success.

Here is a small sample of what good husbands/fathers do for their relations: 1) Their wives are healthier, wealthier, and happier than single or divorced women; 2) their daughters are less likely to have eating disorders, be dissatisfied with their appearance, have behavior problems, have a child out of wedlock, or suffer from depression; 3) their sons are less likely to drop out of high school, get in trouble with the law, or drink to excess.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

The Biggest Losers?

 

Calls for unity among our bribed, corrupt, political class have indeed got them together. This insider love fest fails to address any of our underlying issues and potentially wastes the last chance in our lifetime for conservative legislation.

  1. Every member of the GOP needs to scream at the camera every day that this Russia garbage and the witch hunt need to stop. We are witnessing a potential coup and it will end very poorly for the conspirators as well as those who just watched. The American political class has never been so despised in modern times and if the GOP fails to prevent the coup or actively takes part I shudder to think what comes next.
  2. The GOP needs to ram home as much legislation as possible as fast as possible. The clock is ticking. They will never have another opportunity like this.
  3. The GOP need to quit being scared little girls about the media. Their pocketbooks are not more important than their duty to our country.
  4. Ryan and McConnell need to be men and if they can’t be we might as well make them use the ladies bathroom. They are now rich because of their time in DC and have gone soft. Their test is now and they either grow a pair or they don’t. Nobody gives a darn about their faux unity in this polarized country.
  5. We won this election and they either step up and lead or they need to be swept away like mice for they are certainly not men. Many of their insider friends want them to stand down as the coup happens. If they cannot lead this country then they surely are the biggest losers.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

School Daze

 

I’ve taught school, officially, for 22 years now. I mean, as a contracted teacher. I also worked as a teacher’s aide, and as a short-term and long-term, substitute teacher for a couple of years, as I finished the credential program in California. I went to college, for a couple of years, fresh out of high school, but wasn’t a dedicated student. So I dropped out, got married, had five children, then decided to go back and finish my degree (because I had so much spare time). But, this second attempt at college was more successful because I’d gained more self-discipline, and better stick-to-it skills as a mother. I became a full-time teacher when my “baby” was in eighth grade. It was a really hard transition because I didn’t realize how much time was involved in being The Teacher. Wow … lots of work and time. But, it is a very entertaining profession. I’ve taught in California, Maryland, and Nevada, and have been in 4th grade for my whole career … I love them.

Here are few anecdotes:

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Playing with Fire

 

There was this guy who hated his brother. We’re not sure why; usually there’s more than one reason, or one reason leads to another that leads to another that may have little or nothing to do with the stated object. But anyway, hatred started with anger. Someone asked the guy, “Why are you angry?” He couldn’t answer. The questioner went on, “If you do well, will you not be rewarded? But if you don’t, evil is crouching at the door. It desires to have you. Shouldn’t you rule over it?”

The questioner was God and the guy was Cain, the first murderer (Genesis 4:7). Killing his brother was the first crime of passion and anger was the first passion.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

I’m Out of Rehab

 

Good Day Ricochet,

Yesterday they decided I was strong enough to be released from rehab and I am back in my apartment. I can walk without the walker. I have good strength in legs and arms and a reasonable amount of balance. My endurance ability was what was in major question. The first week of rehab was depressing because I didn’t feel like my endurance was improving. Suddenly in the second week I began to come on. I could walk farther and still not be tired. I soon abandoned my walker and got my sea legs back.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Unity? A Respectful Dissent.

 

I really, really, really do want all this unity I’ve been hearing about to happen and I do so wish I could actually get my hopes up that such a miracle — and that’s what it would amount to in today’s vile and mean atmosphere — could actually happen. I know many of us also harbor that hope, as evidenced by the comment of one of the members who characterized Paul Ryan’s speech about an “attack on one of us is an attack on all of us” as one of the great speeches of all time. While it was a nice speech and quite typical of the Speaker who says many “nice things”, as much as I would dearly like to believe all this kumbaya attitude will continue, I find myself in agreement with the brilliant commentator Mark Steyn, who stated, on the Tucker Carlson show last night:

“Yes, I think so,” said Steyn. “If you have people like the Southern Poverty Law [Center], which has become fabulously wealthy by labeling everyone they disagree with as a hate group, if you keep calling everybody a hater, and in fact, if your organization calls people haters, you are the hater. I would like to disagree with the tone of what we have heard today, including in the last hour for Martha MacCallum and Brit Hume, when they were talking about unity and will this unity last?”

More

Are America’s Tech Giants an Economic and Political Threat?

 

If I were to list America’s big problems here in 2017, I’m not sure it would occur to me note the huge success of Big Tech—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Microsoft—as one of them. 

But I know there are those who would. As Axios reporter Kim Hart points out in a longish piece today, there are political activists, academics, and economists who are deeply worried that such huge concentrations of wealth and data mean the platform companies “have captured the economy.”

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Haven’t Got a Gift for Dad Yet? Here’s What Not to Get:

 

The Man Hanger: This is a clothes-hanger… but for men. It’s “Bent by hand from industrial-grade rebar,” and costs $25 per hanger. For those emergencies where Dad finds his “manly attire too much for wimpy regular hangers.” Yes, some regular hangers are wimpy. Others are not and will take up less space in your closet than rebar. And they don’t cost $25 a pop. If Dad is planning to hang a side of beef in the closet, he might appreciate a rebar hanger for Father’s Day. But otherwise, all this gift tells Dad is that he failed to teach you the value of a buck.

$200 Smart Socks with Matching Anklet: Yes, smart socks are a thing. The most annoying thing you’ll ever own, given the tendency of socks to file for divorce in the laundry. Many women have trouble keeping their socks from divorcing, and not to gender stereotype or anything, but men are usually worse at this than women. In all likelihood, all a gift of “smart socks” does is waste a serious chunk of change on annoying the “lucky” father who receives them. Now you’ve gone beyond, “Dad didn’t teach me the value of a buck” to “Annoying Daddy is worth at least 200 bucks to me.”

More