I think the limitations on comment length preclude a fair answer. Can you order something cakey for me, it's the closest I'll get...
Oh no. I'll think of you while I'm doing not much.
You'll have to let me know what I vicariously enjoyed eating ;-)
I went to the zoo.
Several long, exhausting meetings. In one, I had to tell a fully grown man some difficult news that brought him close to tears. Now very tired Glad I'm heading home for sole delicious pizza.
'some' delicious pizza.
Work. Trying to convince a mother who was completely certain her 2 year old has autism that it is way too early to be certain yet. Not very successful.And now I am off to a church musicians "jam session." I don't feel like going.
Looking after the boys for the morning so Jennie can have her half-day off from her 24/7 responsibilities. Then working 'till 8pm on either the thesis or some editing of some upcoming Bible Studies for Matthias Media - not sure which I'll do, but leaning towards another day with the thesis.
Hope you all had a good day. We did. Till we remembered a birthday party we had forgotten. Embarrassing.Anthony - I had a gourmet chicken burger. Andrew had pizza. The eggs benedict looked very good. Deb - Which zoo? Were there giraffes? I do like giraffes.Jo - Glad you endured. Hope the pizza was as good as you hoped.Karen - the jam session will be exactly what you need! Enjoy!Mark - I was just thinking of you guys a couple of hours ago. Wondered why I hadn't heard from you. Hope Jennie enjoys her morning. What will she do? I think you should do the thesis. I've heard they don't research or write themselves.I need to clean the house tonight. Visitors tomorrow.
When I read this post I wasn't sure what the day would hold.I shopped my "present box" for a 4yo birthday party tomorrow. Hung washing on line. Did another load of washing. Put it in the dryer as sky look uncertain. After school pick upI we to the hospital with 4 children to get weekly medication for youngest.The zoo sounds good. Actually so the cafe.
Right now it's the oven, the sink and the vacuume cleaner for me. Cafe feels like a long time ago.
Werribee Open Range zoo (it's in Melbourne for you non-Victorian types). Four beautiful giraffes. And a collection of other interesting beasts. But my youngest agrees with you - "Me like 'raffies best."
Simone - looks like it's going to be thesis. But I get paid for doing Matthias work, and money doesn't just create itself either :).Jennie did enjoy her morning - time spent working on Hebrews with O'Brien's new commentary. A truly scary change of gears from what she does the rest of the time :D (mostly poo, poo, and more poo).And no particular reason why we haven't said anything. Just haven't had anything to say on the posts and conversations going even though I've enjoyed them. Even for me that happens quite a bit, I read far more than I post or comment. I did attempt a long comment reflecting on your last Angel post. But the internet ate it, and on reflection I figured that I was typecasting myself too much by commenting everytime a friend says anything about something to do with Joss Whedon, so just let it go.
Mark - What did you think he was saying about religion? About the power of a name? About blood and sacrifice?
Sounds delicious. Not much of a cake, but that's alright. Probably better for me.
Sigh, blogger is on an eating comment warpath. I'll keep trying here and keep cutting them smaller and smaller.Simone - ah, you are evil. I indicate my self-control in not indulging in a long reflection on the philosophy inherent to Angel and so you then outright ask for one. I don't think there's any way my limited self-control can meet that temptation.Whedon is what I think of as a 'neo-New Atheist' - very much like Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and a strong run on Dr Who). He shares the New Atheists' absolutely hatred and fervent dismissal of God and religion, but he lacks their utter ignorance and contempt for philosophy, art, the humanities, and the like.
Seriously, we had a New Atheist speaking at "Thinking Week", put on by the atheists/humanists at Oxford here who apparently last year addressed the question "Can science answer all questions?" And his answer was, "Yes. All real questions." Apparently only the questions answerable by natural science are "real" - questions like, "Why am I here?", "What is the good life?", "What is the meaning of life?" even "What is right and wrong?" aren't real questions, just pretend ones. With a worldview so utterly inhuman, I think New Atheism is going to have a very short lifespan. They just deny outright the validity of fundamental questions of human existence as logical errors. It's unlivable for anyone other than the 'true believers'.Whedon lacks that level of stupidity and idolatry of science as the only game in town. His big interest is in questions like: what does it mean to be human, what is the meaning of life, how does one live the good life, what is good and evil and the like. That's what gives everything he writes (except when he drops the ball) a real humane flavour (if you like his preferred genre - and the popularity of Toy Story shows that it is very much a genre issue why people don't like Whedon normally).
What Whedon gets (like Douglas Adams I think) is that a sense of meaning, morality, purpose et al are fundamental to being human. And that there is no basis for such things in the universe. Both of those are true at the same time in the same way. It's called 'absurdism' - because it means that there is something absurd about human - the essence of our experience of being human has no purchase in reality. But we can't just deny it like the New Atheists want to either. It's a form of existentialism.That's utterly fundamental to his worldview, view of morality et al. And it shows up at key points throughout his works. (Possible exception of Toy Story, where he was fixing the script rather than creating it from scratch).
He is brutal in his rejection of the existence of God - realising God doesn't exist is where you have to start, I think he said once in an interview (and you see that in literary form with Mal Richards, who ‘starts’ in the flashback to the battle of Serenity Valley as a believer in God, who loses that faith because of their loss there). And he's very hostile to this non-existent God, has called him the 'Sky-Bully' more than once. It ties to his feminism. IIRC he believes that men created religion because they were jealous of women's ability to conceive and give birth - womb envy. Religion fundamentally exists to harm and subjugate women. It's very primal. You see it expressed by the bounty hunty in Firefly, and the episode in Angel where the demon creates a primordial violent misogyny in men by touching them, and the evil priest guy in the final season of Buffy played by Nathan Fillion. They're metaphors, but Whedon actually does believe that is where religion comes from.
So, in season 4 of Angel, Jasmine is God. She is fundamentally a lie, she promises paradise, she takes away people's humanity by imposing goodness upon them (and forces them to be unified), she consumes people as the means to that paradise. Once you know her for what she is (the whole name thing - cleverly used, because that's an important motif in epics, magic, fantasy and the like anyway) then she can never have power over you again. Connor ran with her because he thought she was a better lie than the other ones on offer. That’s Whedon’s view of what is attractive about belief in God – it’s a lie, but it’s a lie that enables many people to deal with the hardness of reality (an issue that an absurdist like Whedon recognises is a genuine problem for many people), and which can produce a fair bit of good – he does make the case at the end of the series that the world would have been better off under Jasmine’s rule than without it. We may have lost our humanity, but we’d have an end to war, crime, people dying through lack of cooperation of resources and the like. The good done and lives saved would have far outweighed those Jasmine would have consumed by a couple of orders of magnitude. You see the same theme in Serenity, with the attempt to make paradise by eliminating humanity’s capacity for violence and aggression, and the Operative is (I suspect) supposed to be an example of a religious believer – creating paradise one body at a time. The irony is that he didn’t build religion in, so it actually critiques humanist attempts to build a better world through technology, not God. Bit of an ‘own goal’ there, which I quite enjoyed.
That’s why I think he’s able to portray the Shepherd relatively sympathetically in Firefly, and you have the scene when they come across the victims of the Reavers in the ship. Mal gets the Shepherd to do a funeral service for them which means a lot to many of the crew, but gets them out of the way while the real work has to be done. It’s a negative assessment, but it has some sympathy to it.The basic problem is that his self-loathing as a man (womb-envy is the basic thing lying inside every guy? I mean really! Does he even hang out with any normal blokes?) and the sheer fury of his hatred for God means that when he riffs on these themes it’s a complete change of gear from his normal style. He stops describing reality and starts preaching. It begins to look like Star Trek and West Wing - this is how the world should be, but he completely fails to convince you that that is how the world is. And his normal strength is that you normally find his take on the basic existential questions of humanity plausible, and even illuminating (or at least I, and other people who read him at this level do). So I think only the ‘true believer’ in his kind of atheism finds his portrayal of God as Jasmine or the priest of Buffy Season 7 as at all convincing. The rest of us just go, “Right, so you are so unsympathetic to this subject that it prevents you from even understanding it properly.” It’s a shame, because if he could do something better it could be useful to produce an apologetic that would scratch where a lot of people itch – ‘cause I think he’s good at voicing where a lot of thoughtful people are at. But it seems like it’s a built-in problem with New Atheism - they’re awfully angry about someone they’re apparently sure doesn’t exist, and it interferes with their ability to actually critique it. The blood thing? Not sure whether that fits in - Whedon knows that the story is more important than the message, so he does what's needed for the story, not just for the message behind the story. It could be important – ‘love means sacrifice’ idea, and so part of the idea that God’s promises of paradise are built on the sacrifices of people – or it could be just what he needed for the story to work. Not everything in Whedon is significant.