Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Robert Godfrey on Kuyper

Hey guys, this little summary of sphere sovereignty and the basic cultural outlook of Abraham Kuyper is done very will in this video. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts.

http://www.wscal.edu/resources/video/King_Kingdoms_Godfrey.php

It is interesting that he criticizes Michael Horton from a Kuyperian perspective.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sundance 2010

It was another good year at Sundance. ......my blogs are getting so lazy.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Center for Public Justice

Today we are going to have the privilege of meeting with Gideon Strauss, head of the Center for Public Justice. I'm looking forward to talking to him. Here is a quote from his websight.

"At the Center we stand firmly opposed to the public establishment of any religion, but we reject the idea of a sacred/secular dichotomy that would confine religions to a private sphere. Religions are ways of life and not merely ways of worship. The question, then, is how to do justice to diverse religions and points of view while keeping the public square open to people of all faiths and points of view. This is the challenge that the Center believes can best be met from a Christian-democratic starting point."

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Religion of Aesthetics

Picaso said, "'I don't loathe art, because I couldn't live without devoting all my time to it. I love it as the only end of my life.'

"Thus works of art become surrogate gods, taking the place of God the Creator; aesthetic contemplation takes the place of religious adoration; and the artist becomes one who in agony of creation brings forth objects in absorbed contemplation of which we experience what is of ultimate significance in human life." - Nicholas Wolterstorff

He goes on to say that "Plato suggested that our spacio-temporal world came into being when some god, confronted on the one hand by space and on the other by the realm of eternal Forms, did his best to produce in space accurate instances of the Forms. He failed, and his failure was inevitable. For to be spatial and temporal is to be inherently imperfect, and so to be capable of nothing more than blurred mirroring of the Forms. Creation, on Plato's view, cannot be other than a noble failure."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Collision

Welp it looks like the Hitchens-Wilson debate is finally out. l've ordered a copy and hope to watch it soon so I can let you all know what I think of it. In the mean time, check out the interview with the director here:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Writing Comedy

So I read this somewhere, but I can't remember where now. But in case you are bored. Here are some thoughts on the nature of comedy.

There are three types of "funny" guys.

1. The imposter. This is the fool. It is a stupid person who we actually laugh at.

2. The innocent. This is a simple person who gets by quite well from being passive and not reacting to adverse situations around them. Life seems to work for them in spite (or perhaps because of) their simplicity. Someone like Forrest Gump, who does not understand what is going on around him and through his eyes, we are able to make light of the absurdity of the world.

3. The ironic figure or the "wise guy". This is the Bob Hope, David Letterman type and includes almost all stand-up comics. This is the person who is always trying to do things on the sly, they are tricksters. They have smart remarks like Groucho Marx or they make jokes in the face of conflict in order to get out of things. (Think of Jerry Lewis talking to a bunch of bullies who are about to hurt him and saying some smart remark like "easy fellas, when I am handled roughly, I break out in a rash").

What is interesting is that Homer Simpson actually embodies all three types. He is always trying to pretend to be someone he is not, and Marge and the kids have to constantly remind him. This is the ironic figure. Also, he sometimes just does stupid things that we laugh at. Like when he gets hypnotized and screams for three days straight because it brought up a repressed memory. This is the imposter. We just laugh at him. Also we see him as an innocent sometimes. For instance the time he drove Frank Grimes to his death. He had no idea that he was causing Frank any harm.

Now you can take these three types and put them in certain situations in order to generate comedy. You can put one of these three funny guys opposite a straight guy to build a comic duo, like Laurel and Hardy....Laurel being the playboy and Hardy the killjoy. Laurel is often the innocent, causing Hardy much heartache as a result. Sometimes he is a fool. Now in the case of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Crosby is the killjoy and Hope is almost always the wise guy, or the ironic figure, trying to deviously get what he wants and then trying to joke his way out of trouble.

There are basically two ways to write comedy relative to your characters. One is called comedian-driven comedy, and the other situation-driven comedy. Comedian-driven comedy is like all those sitcoms based on the material of a stand-up comic like Home Improvement or Seinfeld. In this style of writing, you try to create situations for your comic to thrive in. It is really just an extension of a stand-up act. Rather then the comic acting the jokes out alone, on stage, the sitcom merely creates those situations for us to see. Situation-driven comedy is not character based. It is just funny things that happen to people. Not that there is no emphasis on character, but the situations overshadow the characters involved. For example, think of the Chris Farley, David Spade comedies. Usually it is some sort of a journey that they embark upon and funny things happn to them and they react. In their case, David Spade is the wise guy and Farley is probably sometimes the innocent and sometimes the imposter.

What then, are the situations that one might find these characters getting involved in? Well, there are eight of them:
1. The Journey: where the character must travel and encounter any number of adventures along the way. (Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road movies)
2. Reducto ad absurdum: taking an idea to extreme lengths. (Monty Python)
3. Parody and bulesque: playing with a specific genre in a distorted and exaggerated manor. (Three Amigos, spoofing westerns)
4. Wedding of young lovers: romantic comedies (funny stuff just happens when boy meets girl, it happens in real life too)
5. The central character with difficult task or quest: something happens and a character has little time to accomplish something (he has to find a bride by midnight in order to get his inheritance or something like Back to the Future)
6. The consequences of a magical or surreal element: there are tons of examples of this form Teen Wolf to Liar Liar, Shaggy Dog, or Flubber....usually the main character understands the magic and the comedy is in him trying to explain it (or hide it) to an unbelieving world
7. Innocent reacts to situations thrust upon him: Forrest Gump...
8. Fish out of Water: characters have to deal with an environment that they are not used to (Trading Spaces, Freaky Friday...) the comedy is in that the audience knows that the person is out of his/her element but every other character does not

So setting up the comedic environment is key. You have to create an environment within which the joke can be told. In other words, you have to set up one of the above situations in order for one of the three comic characters to "act" inside of (I'm sorry for ending this sentence with a preposition).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sin By Silence

My old college classmate, Olivia Klaus, has been working on a documentary for a few years now called "Sin By Silence." It's been getting a lot of buzz and screening all across the country. I'm so proud of her! Listen to her interview on NPR here.