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Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 2: The Birth of (Cybertronian) Tragedy: The Cyclic Deaths and Rebirths of King Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 2: The Birth of (Cybertronian) Tragedy: The Cyclic Deaths and Rebirths of King Optimus Prime

Thankful for this one, the second part of a series by Jeremiah Lawson. Don’t forget the first part! In The Golden Bough, James Frazer proposed that ancient kings died and were reborn in cycles in fertility religions. Nothing can die and be reborn quite like a robot. Surprisingly, one of the most prominent examples of […]

PZ's Podcast: Tip for a Happy Marriage & Surprise, Surprise

PZ’s Podcast: Tip for a Happy Marriage & Surprise, Surprise

EPISODE 264: Tip for a Happy Marriage Justin Hayward is a sort of archivist for romantic relationships. He is 72 and still going strong. Two ‘Live’ performances book-end this cast, which is intended as fresh therapy towards a happy marriage. Appeals to grace, forgiveness, and empathy in relating to this impossibly different person with whom […]

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 1: The Total Work of Art as a <i>Transformer</i> of Culture

Optimus Prime and the Religion of Toys, Part 1: The Total Work of Art as a Transformer of Culture

This one comes to us from Jeremiah Lawson, the first in a three-part series! First and foremost, play is self-presentation. – Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method About forty years ago an animated program began that helped revolutionize the way some Americans enjoyed and thought about popular culture. Thanks to changes in FCC regulations during the Reagan […]

The Mirror Has Way Too Many Faces

The Mirror Has Way Too Many Faces

This past New Year’s Eve marked the first one for my husband and me to actually go out in Sydney — though, with two kids and middle age defining our lives, “going out” consists of joining friends at the North Sydney Olympic Pool for a family night of swimming and fireworks. And, it turned out, […]

<i>2001: A Space Odyssey</i> as Cultural Icon, Cinematic Masterpiece, and Modern Myth, Part 2

2001: A Space Odyssey as Cultural Icon, Cinematic Masterpiece, and Modern Myth, Part 2

This second installment picks up where Part 1 left off. A Re-enchantment of Modernity In his essay “Science as a Vocation,” Max Weber famously wrote, The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the ‘disenchantment of the world.’ Precisely the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from […]

TOP FILMS OF 2018

TOP FILMS OF 2018

2018 has come and gone, and we’re a bit late on getting you our favorite flicks to hit the big (and small) screen this year. That’s just the type of year it was, though. Am I right? But this past year wasn’t all that bad. Superhero fans witnessed the Marvel Cinematic Universe grow EVEN BIGGER. […]

<i>2001: A Space Odyssey</i> as Cultural Icon, Cinematic Masterpiece, and Modern Myth, Pt 1

2001: A Space Odyssey as Cultural Icon, Cinematic Masterpiece, and Modern Myth, Pt 1

2001: A Space Odyssey, now celebrating the 50th anniversary of its release, came late to the little one-screen theater in the small Maryland town where I grew up. It wasn’t until the summer of 1969 that I went to see it with my best friend from high school. By then the movie’s tag line had […]

A Son Is Born

A Son Is Born

WARNING: Spoilers for the film A Star Is Born ahead. Read at your own risk, while remembering this movie has been made four times so if you don’t already know the ending then that’s really on you. In the beginning of the film A Star Is Born, just after Jackson’s raucous opening number, he sits […]

PZ's Podcast: Transgressive Enough 4 U?, Mountain of Love, Magic, and Too Weak to Fight

PZ’s Podcast: Transgressive Enough 4 U?, Mountain of Love, Magic, and Too Weak to Fight

EPISODE 260: Transgressive Enough 4 U? Experiencing a massive re-think just now concerning world cinema! This has been occasioned in part by watching every disc one can get one’s hands on of the recently released catalogue of British “Vintage Classics”. Have you ever heard of “Mandy” (1951)? Or “The Captive Heart” (1946)? Or “The Sound Barrier” […]

<i>El Huracán:</i> Facing our Fragility

El Huracán: Facing our Fragility

This reflection comes to us from Kyle Holton. A few months ago in a suburban movie theater, I wept uncontrollably. I was watching Incredibles 2 with my family. The tears came on me like gale force winds. My body silently shook while a storm surge of emotion flooded my senses. It was a category-4-Hurricane type […]

Fear and the Reality of Horror, Part 3

Fear and the Reality of Horror, Part 3

Find the other installments in “Fear and the Reality of Horror” here: Part 1 and Part 2. The perpetual complication that hinders the attempt to understand evil is that of isolating what exactly evil is in its being. In many ways it seems as plain as the meaning of time: immediately intuited as a resource […]

An Air of Condescension: Why Working-Class Whites Don't Go to Church

An Air of Condescension: Why Working-Class Whites Don’t Go to Church

Grateful for this reflection by David Clay. In the 2016 film Manchester by the Sea, sixteen-year-old Patrick Chandler loses his father to congestive heart failure and finds himself in the custody of his uncle Lee, a laconic and depressed Boston janitor. Neither Patrick nor Lee are very excited about the situation; much of the movie revolves […]