Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Partridges. Pear Trees.

Well, we cleaned up in a minimally embarrassing way on Christmas. Since then we've been napping and cleaning and watching movies, except for Beth, who's also been working 6 hours a day.

In the process, I finally saw "Devil Wears Prada," which was full of fantastic throwaway lines, but was relevant to me and my work because if there's anything deeper to it than lines like "I'm just one stomach flu away from my perfect weight", it's that most people don't start out evil minions of the Man, they talk themselves into it. Evangelical first year med students aren't suddenly informed of scientific information that they didn't have before and so then they abruptly stop being Christians; they very very gradually (frog in the kettle syndrome) talk themselves out of faith. Well, I don't have to...do whatever: Bible study, read devotionally, pray with other people, be involved in a faith community...for..however long, for whatever reason: just til this test is past, til this rotation is over, just during third year. And of course, mutatis mutandis, for any other identity-competing entity in your life: law school, becoming a mom, movin' to the groovitude uptown, or whatever it might be. So the movie said, a bit, that it's on balance good not to cease being who you really are just for a goal or a job or a career or whatever. And that's an all right message. Plus the of-course amazing Meryl Streep, whom we've watched ever since God was a boy, and props to Ann Hathaway for standing on the same stage as her and not getting blown off it.

We also saw "The Good German," a less heavy World War II / Holocaust meditation than "Sophie's Choice" or "Schindler's List" or "Life Is Beautiful," but again, a message on how it's impossible for something so huge not to affect everyone it t0uches, and how it's very hard for such a monstrosity not to pervert and twist most of those it touches. Cate Blanchett was amazing. "Casablanca" it's not, and the last scene is an intentionally revisionist take on Bogey's last moments in that greatest of movies, but, overall, well done, and I'm still glad Soderbergh, whom I don't particularly like, did it in as close to a forties-ish way as he could.

I rounded out my viewing (Dawn and Beth have crammed in a couple more I didn't see) with "Happy Feet," which, despite some visual and in-script sex references one wouldn't expect in G land, and a soundtrack that made no sense, was fun. Rubbing a bit of dust in the joy was my feeling that just once, I'd like to see the kid who is different and misunderstood by his dad be a boy who has gone all thoughtful conservative and whose PC mom doesn't approve, instead of it always being the sensitive son or the ambitious daughter oppressed by mean ole conservative ly religious daddums.

Presentwise, I got historian Lane Fox's "The Classical World," was indulged in my LOTR weakness by getting Argonath bookends (q.v. Google), scored mui clothings, and other fun things. Dawn got a new backpacking stove, Jonathan and Beth got clothes and gift cards and other assorted hooha. And I think we enjoyed my family on Christmas Eve, and each other throughout. This is a happy thing for someone in my situation, and by no means to be taken for granted.

We're packing dearly beloveds in like sardines this week. Connie and Ted and entourage arrive today through the 6th; Amber and friend (but then who isn't, or doesn't at least aspire to be, Amber's friend, really?) arrive Friday; Steve and Sarah Allen come in tomorrow I think, and Lauren Ahkiam on Saturday (big props to Danny for staying with the ailing feline). Hopefully we will share the love as well as the bathrooms.

And as a closing remark on the unjust aspects of contemporary economic orthodoxy, and on the jerky-person-producing effects of workaholism reflected in Ben Affleck's wonderful line, "how can you be anal retentive without an anus?", I would just like once again to assume the voice of Jacob Marley in this holiday season. I realize I've quoted this this very fall. But like the preacher who kept preaching the same message every week, I won't apologize for repeating myself til people hear it and start changing (starting with me):

"Business? Business!? Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

1 Comments:

Anonymous sarah s said...

i SO agree about the conservative kid/PC parent bit! why is that not just as damaging as the oppressively conservative parent? ah well, it's all a part of the grand idea nowadays: all ideas and values are great and wonderful -- unless you are a christian (by faith, not culture) and believe there is actually a right and a wrong. then you're evil. rules are bad, even the ones that make your life so much better.

4:35 PM  

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