When Your Online Acquaintances Find Jesus

Two of the people in my feedreader have recently returned to the church.  I have no knock against anyone returning to the church, but if you’re suddenly and abruptly going to refocus your blog on your newfound renewed love of Jesus, I think you owe your readers a slight explanation.

I know this stuff can be incredibly personal, so I’m not asking for much.

Just something like “You know, I’ve decided to go back to church.” or, in one of the cases, I suspect “You know, I quit blogging and someone else has taken up my domain and you didn’t notice, dumbass.”

The one rededication has been pretty major.  The blogger and Jesus seem to have struck up some deal, an important deal, the kind of deal that, if it doesn’t come through, would have major implications, but if it did come through, would have other types of major implications.  I read along really just to see what will happen.  Either thing will be compelling, if the person chooses to write about it.

But the other has been more subtle.  One minute, she was blogging about feminism and the next minute she was blogging about Jesus.  I personally don’t believe those two things are incompatable, but I’m really curious.  It’s almost as if she slipped right out of one belief system into another and the only kinds of people who do that are the profoundly fickle or the profoundly changed.  I can’t tell which she is.

But I’m curious.

And Her Autobiography Practically Plagiarizes “Annie,” Too, but No One Seems to Care about That

You’d think that a story involving two acts you don’t care about would somehow be even less interesting than each individual act alone, like how, if The Black Crows elicit a “-2” on the B.’s Scale of Interest and Gretchen Wilson is also a “-2,” that together, they must form a “-4” of interest from me, almost at the point where I am physically unable to actually pay attention to them.

And yet, thanks to the fine folks over at The 9513, I’ve spent my lunch hour trying to decide if the Black Crows have any grounds to sue Wilson.

Yes, I’ll admit that the songs sound the same.

See Black Crows here:

and Gretchen Wilson here:

But can’t we just agree that both songs kind of suck and that the best defense Wilson has is that, even though she, like me, surely heard “Jealous Again” eight million times fifteen years ago, when it was playing on every radio in every car in the land, it is actually so bland and nondescript as far as songs go that there’s no possible way it could have stuck in her head long enough for her to plagiarize it?

But the thing that cracks me up is how quick the Black Crows are to sue, as if they didn’t luck out that the Stones never made an issue of how closely their song resembles this:


Which reminds me that I keep meaning to force Supermousy to watch this video and this video back to back and tell me those aren’t the same song.


If You Wanted to Make an Analogy

So, yeah, I loved The Dark Knight.  As did everyone, it seems, I thought Ledger’s performance was amazing.  I think what’s most amazing about his performance is that he makes you feel as if the Joker is real, not just in the context of the movie, but really real.  Almost everybody else, from Batman to Harvey Dent (with the exception of Rachel Dawes), seemed real in the context of the movie, but they didn’t seem to me like they quite bled over into real life.  It was like the lot of them were constantly asking themselves “How would my character respond in this situation?”  And Ledger and Gyllenhall ask themselves, “If I were this person, what would I do?”

It’s a subtle difference and I’m not saying that one is worse than the other.  It’s just that, for me, one allows me as a viewer to feel a safe gap between me and the story and the other doesn’t. 

I’m especially thinking of the moment when Dawes realizes that she’s going to die and how Gyllenhall makes you, right at that moment, wish more than anything that, if it meant everyone else in the movie had to die, she would get to live.  It’s something about the breath she takes and the way she shifts her body so resolutely.  In a movie that doesn’t really flesh out much of Dawes as a character, Gyllenhall turns her into a person whose loss you take personally.

In a way, the same with Ledger.  I really probably don’t have anything to say that a million people haven’t said before, but I thought his performance was amazing.  I get what Kat says about wishing for some kind of backstory.  But I felt like we got a backstory to the Joker, at least as much of one as could be articulated without rendering him too sympathetic.

And you get that, not from anything the Joker says–because you can’t trust anything the Joker says as the truth–but from what Ledger gives the character.  We know he’s in pain, constantly, from the way Ledger held the Joker’s body.  We know that he thrives on the pain, that something about the jolt of it is important to him.  We know that some of it is self-inflicted–just from the way he is constantly toying with his own scars; they pain him and yet he’s constantly poking at them.  We know that there’s an almost child-like quality to him–and not in the innocent and sweet way, but in the amoral, chaos-inducing way, see how he holds himself when he comes out of the hospital.

And so we know enough, I felt, that the Joker might have always been troubled, but something happened to him when he was very young, something nightmarishly bad, and that the nightmare continued–because he’s never been in any system that Batman can find–until he became it.

I think it’s brilliant to so subtly give you the frame of the story in the carriage of the man while letting your imagination fill in the backstory, because, of course, like all the best horror movie makers know, it’s often what you don’t see that’s much scarier than you see.

As for a third Batman, am I the only person who would like to see them not devolve the franchise into an endless number of sequels, which slowly degrade into cheesiness?  I say, let a third one be a final one–do something Batman Beyond-ish and call it a day.

Edited to add:  I forgot the whole point of my post, which was to say, if you wanted to make an analogy between this movie and anything, I recommend you ponder the Joker as Loki.

Tell me you see it, too.