Why I consider this scary

Earlier today, I posted a link to this New York Times article on the resignation of Alabama Governor Robert Downey, and commented that the sixth paragraph was scary.  That paragraph reads:

“The idea that moral hypocrisy hurts you among evangelical voters is not true, if you’re sound on all of the fundamentals,” said Wayne Flynt, an ordained Baptist minister and one of Alabama’s pre-eminent historians. “Being sound on the fundamentals depends on what the evangelical community has decided the fundamentals have become. At this time, what is fundamental is hating liberals, hating Obama, hating abortion and hating same-sex marriage.”

Who would have thought that “the fundamentals” were fungible?

Let alone that “evangelical voters,” “the evangelical community” would have “decided … what is fundamental is hating liberals, hating Obama, hating abortion and hating same-sex marriage.”  Not exactly a paraphrase of John 13:35. The opposite, in fact.

All in all, a depressing read, but, unfortunately, not an outlier.

I imagine most evangelical voters supported Mike Pence, who has famously said that he is “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”  If Wayne Flynt is correct, I would suggest the word order be reversed and “Christian” be put in scare quotes (and not just because that was the reaction I had).

And, for the record, I am a Christ-follower.

Another excellent book by Mark Pryor

I just finished reading Mark Pryor’s The Paris Librarian:  A Hugo Marston Novel, which contained this paragraph:

I also want to thank you, the reader, and I truly hope that you enjoyed The Paris Librarian. There is no greater reward for a writer than to know that his or her work is enjoyed by the reader. If you did enjoy it, or any other Hugo story, please tell others and like it on Facebook, or perhaps review it online— for the greatest support you can give any author is your word-of-mouth-recommendation. Thank you!

Pryor, Mark. The Paris Librarian: A Hugo Marston Novel (Kindle Locations 3816-3819). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

I have enjoyed each of the Hugo Marston mysteries (his stand-alone Hollow Man was not nearly up to the same standards, in my opinion).  The protagonist is interesting, competent, and a little quirky.  The other characters are believable, and the recurring characters progress nicely from book to book.  (Those who survive anyway, and that’s the closest to a spoiler as I’ll be venturing.)

I’ll be looking forward to the next book in this series.

Wondering why movies based on real events take so many liberties with the facts

In today’s New York Times, there is an article by their new England Bureau chief, Katharine Q. Seelye, that starts by looking at why most reviewers outside New England “have generally given the movie positive notices.” On the other hand, most writers in New England “have been far more critical.”

She introduces the next part of the article with a very interesting statement:

what I’ve found is that moviegoers outside New England pretty much accept the film on its own terms, as entertainment, and Bostonians do not.

She then proceeds with a fascinating list of embellishments and other deviations from what actually happened. I will let you read the article for yourself but among her more salient points, in my opinion, were:

  • the composite police officer played by Mark Wahlberg, who “is both made up and, implausibly, present at every key development.”
  • A police officer who was killed by the bombers is shown in a made up scene flirting with “a pretty female student, although a romantic relationship did not actually exist.”
  • An eight-year-old boy, Martin Richard, was killed in the bombing. Boston police officers (plural) stood watch while forensic units did their work, whereas in the movie it’s a single state trooper standing guard. The writer poses a salient question on this point, which the director, Peter Berg, totally fails to respond to. “Was showing a trooper just an innocent mistake? Mr. Berg [I love that New York Times still does honorifics!] said that the film was dedicated ‘to all law enforcement’ and that ‘we tried to spread the wealth around to each of the different departments without being overly concerned about which department did what.’”
  • I remember what I was watching the coverage at the time that I was amazed at how my different police officers had gone to Watertown when word went out that the bombers were there. I had not realized that it was more than 2500 law-enforcement officers  who responded, let alone that hundreds of them “self deployed.”  To represent them we have a made up character.  “Mr. Berg said that the female cop from Framingham, who stakes out a rooftop position, was not real but was meant to represent the gung-ho spirit that brought all that firepower to the scene.”

I still intend to watch the movie, but I will keep these points in mind as I watch it.  (And I won’t even vent about the missing apostrophe in the movie title, which WordPress automatically added when I tried to tag this piece.)

Trying to interpret Iowa voters

This morning I was trying to catch up on my news reading for the week, and took a look at yesterday’s New York Times. One of the pieces I looked at was by Trip Gabriel, reconnecting with some of the people he had spent some time with in Iowa over the last year.

I was wondering about the Democratic party’s ground game when I read this paragraph:

“Maybe it’s time to have some change,” Mr. McKibben [laid-off Maytag worker, now working in a prison] allowed. “I saw neighbors I knew were strong union people with Trump signs in their yards.”

Are there really no authority figures, either in the union, or the Democratic Party, or at colleges in the area, who could address the underlying issues and show the folly of this reaction?

I would put that lack of response in the unacceptable category, whereas my reaction to Jackie Furman, a 70-year-old retired commercial bakery manager is stupefaction. Her comment:

“I’m ashamed to say we caucused for Obama” in 2008. “My view is he purposely got into the presidency so he could ruin America.”

I know a number of people who voted for Trump, something I would’ve never contemplated were I a US citizen. I would never suggest that he purposely ran for president to ruin the United States, although that outcome is more likely with him as president then with Barack Hussein Obama.

Don’t let my take on this article dissuade you from reading it. It is well written and worth reading.

And please feel free to share your reactions to the article, and to this post.

I knew a post on the subject was coming, but I was still pleasantly surprised…

I try to read widely both on the Internet and elsewhere, and as I’m doing the former I try to keep an eye out for items that will be of interest to other people with whom I interact on the web. One of the people I follow closely on Twitter, and frequently retweet items from, is @pubcoach, Daphne Gray-Grant IRL, one of whose tweets yesterday pointed to this blog post. It was encouraging that my read of her interest was correct, and it was nice to get the credit. If you’re interested in writing, either the doing of it or quotes and thoughts about it, I strongly suggest you follow her.

And while I did some of this last year, I’m going to be intentional this year at pointing out the people I admire who I follow on social media.

Amusing newspaper correction

From the Reader’s Digest (English Canadian edition, December 2016):

The story said, “More than 30,000 pigs were floating down the Dawson River.”  What piggery owner Sid Everingham actually said was “30 sows and pigs,” not “30,000.” (From Morning Bulletin (Australia).)

The thing is, I can see how the reporter could have misheard the original quote.

I’m Offended! By Easily-Offended Christians — New Small Church

Well, we did it. We made it through this Christmas without a major national brouhaha erupting about a not-holy-enough red cup, banned lyrics at a school play, or a scandalously-placed manger scene. So let’s keep it going, shall we? Let’s resolve to go through the coming year determined not to be so easily offended anymore.…

via I’m Offended! By Easily-Offended Christians — New Small Church

**I particularly endorse the last two paragraphs:

Let’s get outraged on behalf of the poor, the orphans, the widows, the abused, the refugees and the outcasts.

Jesus got angry. But he used it surgically. He used it when people attacked others, not when they attacked him. And he told us to do the same.

10 Things That Demonstrate The World You Grew Up In No Longer Exists — Carey Nieuwhof

You know things are changing, but the real questions is how quickly and how deeply. Well, the change is pretty fast and pretty deep. In fact, unless you’re under 25, the world into which you’re born doesn’t really exist anymore. You may have heard of the the Beloit College Mindset list. It comes out every year and…

via 10 Things That Demonstrate The World You Grew Up In No Longer Exists — Carey Nieuwhof

Okay, the previous post was optimistic

It turned out that I was the person responsible for the technical difficulties, and the fact that I am posting this (and you are able to read it) would indicate that I have extricated myself from them.

And, you were saved from a lot of coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Stand by for more posts, and happy New Year.



Technical difficulties were temporary, but we’re back

So, what should have been a simple upgrade and migration seems to have hit a few speed bumps.  The previous posts here seem to have disappeared (temporarily, I hope), but we will press on.

The intention is to blog (here, and on sister sites to be unveiled shortly) much more regularly, and with purpose.

If you’re new here, welcome (and feel free to check out the sidebars for my activity on Goodreads and Twitter).  If you’ve been wondering what happened to me, it’s good to be back (and you can also check out the sidebars).