Nostalgia

2015-12-17 nostalgia img01“Memories for sale!  Get your reminiscing and musing here!  Memories for sale—!”

“Childhood daydreams, first birthdays, and flights of fancy, yours for only three hundred—!”

“Piano lessons, cooking classes, foreign languages, we’ve got ‘em all!  Get your practical skills now—!”

“Memories for sale!  What’s past is present again!  Memories for sale!” Continue reading

Songs About Nothing: Rachel Platten and Postmodern Art

2015-10-12 Platten img01What do Rachel Platten, Marianas Trench, and avant-garde sculpture have in common?  Postmodernist tendencies to self-referential exposition.

One of GoodTrueBeautiful’s authors exposes the dangers of postmodern art and its hidden moral claims in an article published recently by The Federalist:

[“Fight Song”] is [Rachel Platten’s] “take back my life song” and “prove I’m alright song,” but the song does not do these things. It only claims it is doing them. As much as I enjoy “Fight Song,” I have to recognize it for what it is: not a song, but the idea of a song.

Read more: Like All Postmodern Artists, Rachel Platten Makes A ‘Fight Song’ About Nothing

Word Choice

2015-10-8 Word img01

A word is a form blessed with the breath of life
Pregnant with meaning, the gifting-syllables
Shaping minds, scribing thoughts, and shifting hearts
In air, in ink, in ether

One word is not another, nor cannot be
How else to know the thing signified?
Then mind you the flavor, the texture, and taste
Words frame the deed, so speak in accord

Say sorrowful, not sad
Longing, not pining
Wistful, not down
Pensive, not quiet

A rose by any other name a rose may be
But Rose is the name we know from old
Storied, rich, bursting in glory
Choose not a lesser title for a greater flower

Say joyful, not happy
Charmed, not pleased
Enchanted, not interested
Delighted, not glad

What pedestrian measures should tread the tongue
When grander, lusher, still sweeter verba will serve?
Settle not for stale in all your speech
But have a care for plenty, euphony, and spirit in truth

Requiem

2015-9 Requiem img01

Mist swirls about the headstones as midnight draws nigh
The cemetery is tranquil at this late hour,
and why not?
Its residents slumber undisturbed, and their kin lie elsewhere in the long night
Above the worn markers, only beech trees murmur amongst themselves, swaying in the nighttime air
Earth, moistened and gentled by an easterly breath, darkens with hidden dew

A sly fox treads lightly, ears pricked and straining to catch a hint of company Continue reading

Color Theory for Movie Fans

2015-7 Colors img09All movie-watchers indulge in their own pet obsessions. Maybe you watch for plot twists; your sister watches for gorgeous soundtracks; your dad for the quotable one-liners; your mother for her Hollywood crushes; and your college roommate watches for goof-ups he can skewer later in ironic Youtube videos. As for me, I obsess over cinematic color theory. Continue reading

Inheritance

2015-6-11 Sonnet img01

Beneath the crust of ages past and gone
And ‘yond the dust of empty chasmed halls
We find the trust of forebears dead at dawn
But hid in ink for better days and dolls.
In pages bound and pressed with gentle care
Preserving laughter, tears, and wintry scorn
For minds too young to know the evening fair
When peace and sanctity are mocked and torn.
That festival of flame so wild and free
Cut loose and lighting every silver hair
Till none are left who know save only me
A world so proud and built on old debris.
When once we breathed our rich and storied past
We also knew that naught would ever last.

Art and Faith in the Private Sphere

2015-5-22 Art & Faith img01After the Protestant Reformation shattered the Christian consensus and ended the serene confidence of the Renaissance, the dramatic Baroque style swept Europe. In the Netherlands, religious wars had ravaged the country, so art tended to avoid religious topics. As church patronage declined, however, the Netherlands’s booming economy allowed private citizens to commission art. Rembrandt’s Night Watch reflects the shift towards painting private, secular activity. Meanwhile, Spain remained resolutely Catholic. Spanish painter Velázquez painted genre scenes during the Baroque period, but his work often included subtle religious messages that supported Catholic doctrine. In Las Meninas, he is more concerned with his personal aim to establish himself as a member of the royal household rather than with conveying a religious message. Both group portrait paintings demonstrate the shift in art from religious to secular subjects. Continue reading

An Original Poem

2015-5 Poem img01

Rage! goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
Whose frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Does make cowards of us all, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –
We bid the good people farewell for a while,
We sailed to many-tower’d Camelot,
Where up and down the people go,
Talking of Michael Angelo, –
Oh the places you’ll go!
And sometimes, through the mirror blue,
The knights come riding two and two –
riding – riding –
the knights come riding two and two,
Up to the old inn door –
Some late visitors entreating entrance
at my chamber door.
(I read, much of the night, and go South in the winter.)

Taylor Swift’s Hollow Victory

2015-5-11 Swift img01The New York Times claims that Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space…serves to assert both her power and her primness.”  Jessica Valenti from The Guardian lauds the music video’s portrayal as, “the woman we’ve been waiting for.”

What would John Paul II say?  One of GoodTrueBeautiful’s authors analyze the work in context of Theology of the Body:

The “Blank Space” music video shows us the culture’s solution to exploitative love: Be the exploiter. Taylor Swift wants viewers to perceive her as master of her and her lover’s fate. Early in the video, she shouts, “I love the players, and you—love—the game!” Unable to escape the players, she tries to defeat them by becoming the best player of all.

Read more: Taylor Swift and the Emptiness of Disordered Desire