I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Out to the woods

I am heading up to northern Michigan, Manistee National Forest, this weekend for a few days of solitary camping.....leaving now, back on Tuesday.


daniel hutchinson said...

Hi Jon,

Hope you had a wonderful time out there. You have returned to a world without Michael Jackson - without the person behind the face, although the face, the voice, the moves, remain in the digital domain.

Meaningless, it's all meaningless.

Jon, you are back from your solitude, but Michael, at peace at last, we'll only meet again on that day of Judgement... when all the lies and deception and confusion is finally swept away by the most liberating, revelating, truth in all the Universe. God himself will have his say, and fire will test and prove the worth of our work.

I'm hoping to see a moonwalker in heaven :)

john doyle said...

That's why filmmakers and fiction writers usually bring the proceedings to some sort of definitive conclusion, be it happy or sad: everybody desires a Day of Judgment that reveals how things turn out in the end.

tamie said...

Now I am asking myself: do I desire a Day of Judgment?


Jonathan Erdman said...

Bring the historical human narrative to an end, tie up all the loose ends, give the whole thing "one, ultimate meaning"......sounds interesting, but a bit too Hollywood.

What if God is a bit more.....well, a bit more like Qoheleth, the author of Ecclesiastes: disturbing things and leaving the loose ends loose.

Jesus hints at this idea when he inverts the human notion of "judgement" and suggests that "those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last."

"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

"He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death...."

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."

Selections from Revelation, chapter 20 and 21

Matt said...

Do you still have a job?

Jonathan Erdman said...

Yes. I still work accounting, but I work part time with a very flexible schedule when it is not tax season.

john doyle said...

Tamie and Erdman, regarding Last Judgment... I've been reading a book entitled Becoming Visionary by Peretz, which interprets Brian DePalma's portfolio of B-movies as expressions of high theory. Peretz says that, in a traditional movie, the scenes taking place inside the frame and projected onto the screen are incomplete, sources of mystery, fragmented. The framed scenes only come into "focus" when the frame is expanded into the larger world. There, beyond the frame, the whole is revealed, making sense of the fragments, pulling them together.

Peretz wonders with DePalma: what if the fragments aren't part of any whole? Then, when the camera pulls back or pans around into the larger world, what's revealed isn't the whole, the unifying source of meaning, but rather a kind of white noise, a primal source not of unity but of difference. In such a cinematic universe there is no Last Judgment, no closing the loop, no tying up of loose ends and making sense of it all. An irreducible mystery pervades an open universe. Meaning isn't uncovered in such a universe; it's created, tentatively, artistically, always subject to destruction and re-creation.

...if that makes any sense. I can illustrate from DePalma's Blow Out if you like.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Yes. I'm certainly interested.

I'm a fan of some of the films that DePalma did with the early Al Pacino: Scarface and Carlito's Way.....Scarface, especially....and I was absolutely fascinated by Carrie, which I viewed for the first time only recently.

I did some reading of DePalma on wikipedia, and I found this to be an interesting thought he had (though not directly related to what we are discussing here):

“First of all, I am interested in the medium of film itself, and I am constantly standing outside and making people aware that they are always watching a film. At the same time I am evolving it. In Hi, Mom! for instance, there is a sequence where you are obviously watching a ridiculous documentary and you are told that and you are aware of it, but it still sucks you in. There is a kind of Brechtian alienation idea here: you are aware of what you are watching at the same time that you are emotionally involved with it....”

“I wanted to show in Hi, Mom! how you can really involve an audience. You take an absurd premise – “Be Black, Baby” – and totally involve them and really frighten them at the same time. It's very Brechtian. You suck ‘em in and annihilate ‘em. Then you say, “It's just a movie, right? It's not real.” It's just like television. You’re sucked in all the time, and you’re being lied to in a very documentary-like setting. The “Be Black, Baby” section of Hi, Mom! is probably the most important piece of film I’ve ever done.”

tamie said...

These sound like interesting movie (*film*....let us call it by the more sophisticated name!) themes to explore. Themes isn't the right word, but my brain is tired.

Jon, we should put some of these movies....erm, films....into our Netflix queue.

john doyle said...

I recently watched Be Black Baby on YouTube -- here and here. "Dark humor," I suppose you might say. The cop who shows up toward the end of part two is a young Robert DeNiro.

I just watched Carrie again the other night -- a really good and entertaining exploration of desire and repression. I put up a post about the first chapter of Peretz's book on DePalma, and will probably do a screengrab or two for Carrie today.

In Blow Out, John Travolta plays a movie sound technician who's been told by a director to record a really good scream for a slasher movie. In his search he happens to witness a fatal car crash. Presumably the car's tire had a blowout causing the driver to lose control. Travolta, who had his tape recorder on, thought he heard two explosions -- he thinks somebody shot a hole in the tire. So he tries to match up his tape with the skid marks of the car in an attempt to reconstruct the events. The question is whether these pieces can be put together to reveal The Truth, or does the assembly of pieces into a whole constitute something more like a the creation of one among many possible truths.