Indiana Jones and the Death of Magic

Disclaimer: I don’t usually write movie reviews. I’m not very good at it. There are people out there who do a much better job. All the same, here’s my attempt.

Disney and the Mangling of Lucasfilm IP

The past eight years have been anything but kind to the nostalgic IP of the 80s and 90s.

Although opinions vary depending on who you ask, the general impression I get from people (and a sentiment I share) is that Disney has all but destroyed Lucasfilm’s intellectual property—to such a brutal extent that I would now entertain a conspiracy theory suggesting that it was all part of Disney’s deep-rooted revenge plot to brutalize the franchise it wished it had thought of, to begin with.

I won’t repeat how I and others feel about the Star Wars sequel trilogy except to say that I’ll likely never watch any of them again, and for me, that’s the litmus for whether I think a movie is any good.

But I admit there is a high probability I’m out of touch with what appeals to most people. For example, I thought Rogue One was a steaming slice of crap—mainly because if you hold up a freeze-frame of the movie’s protagonist, Jyn Erso, alongside a faceless slab of moldy cardboard, I would have difficulty telling the two apart. But I realize that for most Star Wars fans, all that matters is whether Glup Shitto makes his cameo. So, what do I know?

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Infinite Mass

Of late, I have become fixated on a curious yet dreary task, still in its infancy, of understanding the type of person who drives a car with a loud engine. I’m talking about the ones that rev and split the night like a steam-punk thunderbolt, interrupting both audible and internal conversations with indiscriminate malice.

As someone who navigates the spoken word like an uphill ice slope, struggling with gasping efforts at articulation should I find the grace of your undivided attention, you can understand how I might feel about such interruptions.

You can understand me when I say: it would not strike me as unjust to round up these renegade road warriors and detain them for questioning. But I promise this sentiment is academic; I mean them no harm.

And you know that whenever someone says, “I promise,” you can bet grandma’s farm that they mean it.

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Elevator Pitch

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The classroom is large enough to hold about thirty students, one professor, and two chaperones, which works out swell because that about sums up our group. I’m attracted to the huge industrial-grade windows at the back of the room, more so for the rich Los Angeles cityscape beyond them. If you smash your face against the window and slide your eyes to the left as far as possible, as if to embody Jim Carrey on his best day, you can see almost half the city. Not saying I did this, but if you happen to meet anyone from the building across the street, maybe don’t mention that you know me.

Or do mention it. It’s not as if the suits in the building across the busy street know my name. Just my contorted, idiot face trying to see if the Uruks really are taking the hobbits to Isengard.

The room has a clean, indoor smell, though if it were my forty-story building, I would’ve stripped and replaced the carpet months ago. Correction: I would’ve sold the building and set up shop on an island in the South Pacific. But that’s neither here nor there—strike that, it’s all there and 5,501 miles from here, a classroom in a corporate-collegiate building in downtown LA.

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An open letter to America’s false (er, mistaken) prophets

Troubling signs…

About a week before the 2020 election, while driving home from Orlando, I saw a sign that read, “In Trump We Trust.” And all I could think was, “That’ll have to be answered for, and probably sooner than we expect.”God will not be mocked.

Now, seeing America’s Charismatic and Evangelical Christians teetering on the cusp of an existential crisis fills me with hope. Perhaps I need to see a pastor and, you know, get that looked at…Dark humor aside, I find I have less in common with the bold-faced Christian nationalist worldview and what seems its self-evident aim to interweave “God” and country with each year that passes. At the same time, I remain convinced that just as Christ should become Lord of our lives, hearts, and minds, he should also become Lord of our communities, cities, states, and nations (which, I admit, makes me something of a Christian nationalist myself, though I can only hope more so in the vein of C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton). But as to how that is to happen and how I am to walk that line, I am uncertain.

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Curated Morality

A time is coming—maybe it’s already here—when curated evil will be all we see. And make no mistake: it will be true, undeniable evil. That is what makes the thought behind it so brilliant, so sinister.

The evil of murder, of racism, of social injustice, of systemic prejudice (fill in the blank for whatever comes next)—these will be cast like veils over our perception until blinded in our relentless pursuit of justice, we can no longer tell our friends from our enemies.

And, most important of all, we will cease praying for both.

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