- - Monday, December 13, 2010

The 40 percent

“Mark this down as another win for capitalism — and Israel, too. Recently, on the Princeton University campus, a student-led referendum sought to urge ‘Dining Services to provide an alternative brand to Sabra hummus in retail locations on campus,’ according to the Daily Princetonian. The measure failed by a vote of 1,014 to 699. …

“But while this quickly could be dismissed as child’s play, there’s more to it. The anti-Israel campus group the Princeton Committee on Palestine singles out the U.S.-based hummus manufacturer because of its support, through one of its partial owners, of the Israeli Defense Force’s Golani Brigade. …

“Taken to the logical conclusion, PCP is making the case that anyone who fights to defend the Jewish state is, in essence, guilty of human rights abuses. … It’s one thing to boycott a company that supports human rights abuses and terrorism. But unless you’re ready to call an element of the IDF a terrorist entity, this should never have been supported. That this referendum garnered 40 percent of the voters at one of America’s elite colleges is a troubling sign.”

Daniel Halper, writing on “A (Small) Victory for Capitalism — and Israel,” on Dec. 6 at the Weekly Standard blog

Man symbols

“In ‘Faster,’ Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is like a piece of living granite, all business and frown as he stomps from one scene to the next, killing his way to vengeance. He’s filmed in such a way that turns his every second into a violent one, with simple acts such as crossing the street hammering the audience in a way usually reserved for gunshots and explosions. His revenge kills are efficient and without trouble, just one name on a list after another getting crossed off. There’s no joy or excitement in it for him, who comes off as so angry that the possibility of satisfaction itself has seemingly been removed. …

“His first stop after prison sees him pick up a stored classic Chevelle with a gigantic revolver stashed under the seat. Roger Ebert often points out (and does so in his review of ‘Faster’) that contemporary action heroes usually drive classic cars because newer models don’t seem manly enough. I’ll put forth another observation: though there are much better guns to use as a weapon than a gigantic revolver, action heroes often use them because contemporary automatics don’t seem manly enough.”

James Frazier, writing on “Faster,” on Dec. 2 at his site Whispers of a Cinematic Echo

Moral movement

“Specifically, [Pope Benedict] used a hypothetical example in which a male prostitute using a condom might indicate within him a genuine concern for the welfare of the other person and a growing awareness that there is a moral dimension to sex. … Pope Benedict seems to be thinking like a novelist or screenwriter here, in getting into the mind of a person who is living a life steeped in sin, but who comes to experience a gradual moral awakening. It’s a common story element in the works of authors like Flannery O’Connor or Graham Greene, and in some modern cinema.

“For instance, in her novel ‘Wise Blood,’ Flannery O’Connor creates the character of Hazel Motes, who rejects the Christianity of his grandfather and wants ‘to be converted to nothing instead of to evil.’ To pursue that goal and mock the beliefs of those around him, he founds the Church Without Christ ‘where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way.’ The irony is that, in pursuing a life that opposes the existence and teachings of Christ, he is slowly moved closer toward Him. Though Motes’ initial actions and intentions are misguided, grace is nevertheless moving his heart, mind, and will in the right direction. You could even say that he is sinning his way toward faith.”

Tony Rossi, writing on “Death into Light: Gradual Moral Awakening,” on Nov. 23 at Patheos.com

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