Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sufjan Stevens on the Eucharist

Music website "The Quietus" recently posted an interview with Sufjan Stevens, in conjunction with the release of Stevens' first album in a few years, "The Age of Adz." Once the subject of religion comes up, or rather, is sort of forced uncomfortably into the room by the interviewer, said interviewer proves himself to be--how shall I put this nicely?--sort of an idiot. He appears to be trying to get Stevens to say something headline- and controversy-making. Stevens sidesteps the potential traps rather beautifully, and manages to say some very gracious and graceful things into the bargain.

One of the most interesting comments, for my money, was something whose controversial and revolution-stirring potential the interviewer was probably too ignorant to realize. The interviewer makes a disparaging comment about the idea of the church as a building, and Sufjan responds:

SS: I mean it’s weird. What’s the basis of Christianity? It’s really a meal, it’s communion right? It’s the Eucharist. That’s it, it’s the sharing a meal with your neighbours and what is that meal? It’s the body and blood of Christ. Basically God offering himself up to you as nutrition. Haha, that’s pretty weird. It’s pretty weird if you think about that, that’s the basis of your faith. You know, God is supplying a kind of refreshment and food for a meal. Everything else is just accessories and it’s vital of course, baptism and marriage, and there’s always the sacraments and praying and the Holy Spirit and all this stuff but really fundamentally it’s just about a meal.

His further comments strike me as VERY SUSPICIOUS from the perspective of most of the prevalent Christian views. Mwaha. Haha. Ha.

Rest of interview here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheering Up

My roommate asked me the other day to read from a book that was cheerful. I looked at my bookshelf, and the first several titles I saw were: "Winter's Tale," "One Hundred Years of Solitude," "Post-Scarcity Anarchism," "Tales of the Dying Earth," "The Last Tycoon," and "The Great Gatsby."

Really, he should have known better.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

History Fest

So as previously noted, the main reason I did not end up doing the reading marathon is that I went to History Fest (link to their website in previous post; it gives a pretty good idea of what the thing was like). The farm on which it takes place is owned by a very charming older fellow of Irish descent, who does sleight-of-hand tricks and speaks with the closest thing to an Irish brogue one can get while still actually being American.

After five of us directed parking for a couple of hours, we were released to wander about at will because traffic was arriving at a rate of maybe one car every ten minutes, something that would maybe take one of us to direct but would not take five.

So I found the guy playing Abraham Lincoln, and we discussed states' rights and whether he had strengthened or weakened the federal government and state governments during his presidency; then I noticed his campaign button (which he was rather impressed with--it comes from having an antique dealer for a mother) and was told all about it, which because I have an antique dealer for a mother I was rather interested in.

After that, wandered through the Wild West part of things, past a rather skilled cowboy yodeler, walked on stilts for a bit, tried on medieval plate armor, and wandered into the encampment labeled "Scotland, 17th Century." Now, because the Risings did not occur until the 18th Century, and because there were lots of Scottish mercenaries in the Thirty Years War, I had already guessed that TYW was what these Scotsmen would be. I was totally right.

Talked to the head of the mercenary encampment for quite a while, at first about Thirty Years War stuff and things that were actually on-topic, but then digressing into things that were not quite so on-topic (but were equally rare for two people in the same place to both know about--for example, see Will Kemp). I concluded by telling the guy about the time Zeke and I did such convincing Scottish accents that we made a British lady think we were Scottish.

THEN went over to the fighting ring, to see the medieval reenactors (from the Society for Creative Anachronism) fight each other, medieval-style. They made their weapons to have the weight and heft and as much of the look of actual medieval weapons as possible, while trying to limit the actual death that occurred during their re-enactment. After the battle I talked to the guy who I believe is the head of the local chapter. I was invited to join them for medieval combat, which they apparently engage in once a week in town here.

Then we met up with the others of our group, who had not had the chance to wander around, and Tarja and I wandered and, among other things, goaded each other into walking on stilts and crawling through the troll tunnel, the latter of which was a more claustrophobic experience than I usually engage in but wasn't bad. Then it was time to go, and I felt properly nerdy for a day's work.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Right II

So the this that I signed up for is not happening, as I am volunteering at History Fest for the first part of the day tomorrow, and may go to a state park for the second. History Fest, as far as I can tell, is predicated on taking all of the COOLEST STUFF from history, and putting it all together. It does look pretty cool.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

On My Grandfather

I have been thinking a lot about my Grandpa Mobley--my mother's father--lately. I'm not sure why. Part of it might be that, for various reasons, I have been noticing a lot of the things that both Zeke and I get from our grandfather. Little things, mostly, like quirks of phrasing, expressions, attitudes, dispositions toward certain topics, things like that. But those trivial things are just the outward evidence of what is actually a much deeper influence.

In fact, it has occurred to me that in order to fully understand me, and Zeke too, one would probably have to meet our grandfather. I'm fairly certain that a psychologist who was able to fully understand my grandfather would find it rather simple to pick apart my brother and me. However, that's assuming any psychologist could survive analyzing my grandfather without tearing out his or her hair. I find this an unlikely prospect, since I believe that what Freud said about the Irish is perfectly applicable to my grandfather: they are impossible to psychoanalyze.

Perhaps it is for this reason that, while I know I am in many ways very like my grandfather, and while I know that he is one of the people I look up to, respect, admire and wish to emulate the most in this entire world, I find it hard to pin down exactly what significant things I get from him. Perhaps it's like I say about certain authors who have come to influence my writing greatly: perhaps he has simply entered my heart and therefore my bloodstream and my very being at a microscopic level, so that he is simply a part of what I am, a part of the fabric of my very being. If there is any human goodness in me, it comes from my other grandfather, one of my grandmothers, my mom, my dad, or from him, from Grandpa Mobley.

The other day in Acting class, we were told as part of an exercise to walk like one of our grandparents--not like they actually walk, but as their personality would walk. I looked at my brother and knew he had also chosen to try to walk like Grandpa Mobley, whose personality is probably the hardest of any of our grandparents' to convey. For how do you express or embody someone who is a combination of George S. Patton, John Wayne, and the most dignified of Cherokee chiefs, someone who has utter confidence in himself, having done everything he ever set out to do, being completely satisfied with the life he has led, knowing how to be confident, comfortable, and at peace in almost any situation?

My grandfather flew airplanes in Europe during WWII; he spotted for artillery, doing a job that these days is done by satellites. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He flew General Patton repeatedly, was present for at least one incident that often makes it into the history books; he flew others, the likes of Churchill and possibly De Gaulle, and his dog used to play with Patton's dog. He met Ronald Reagan; he was an extra in the movies; he danced with Ingrid Bergman. He looks like John Wayne, too, and the feeling I get being in his presence is only replicated when I watch a John Wayne movie. But, did I have the chance to meet John Wayne, and General Patton, and Churchill and De Gaulle and dance with Ingrid Bergman, I'd trade it all for one evening with my grandfather.

Monday, October 04, 2010


So I signed up for this. I don't know if I'll have time, or if I'll want to come Saturday, since Saturday is the only day I can usually manage to have mostly free, BUT with the amount of people I've generally felt like seeing lately (that being MOSTLY NONE) it actually sounds rather inviting at this point.