On this most auspicious Tony Nomination Day, almost more interesting than the nominations themselves are the shows that were completely shut out:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
An Enemy of the People
Glengarry Glen Ross
I’ll Eat You Last
Jekyll & Hyde
Most can be attributed to early season closers or spectacular flops. But some are more interesting. The Anarchist, for instance, penned by Broadway son David Mamet, also starred beloved Broadway diva, Patti LuPone. Perhaps Mamet lost his flair for the dramatic in his much publicized political “conversion” from liberalism to conservatism, but the show was universally panned and ran for only 17 performances.
The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof shutout can be attributed to how overdone it is on Broadway, with runs as recent as 2008 and 2004. Additionally, the zeitgeist since the raft of movie star winners two years has been to favor homegrown talent. (This year’s only exception being Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy.) Unfortunately for Scarlett Johansson, Maggie the Cat is left to dance on that roof all by her lonesome. Read more…
T. S. Eliot was a Modern. Some say the last of them. But then Christ plucked him out of that arrogant nonsense. His Modernist poet friends didn’t like this very much because that whole conversion business made him the first Postmodern. (You can say this was Neitzsche, if you like, but I prefer not to give auspicious titles to whiners like him, however mellifluous their whining may be.) And then he wrote Four Quartets.
Postmodernism with its heavy emphasis on metaphor and the search for meaning really scares Reformed Christians. On the whole, we don’t like Eliot very much either. (Or any poetry, really.) Somehow we’ve managed to keep the ecclesia reformata and drop the semper reformanda, carefully settling the Westminster Standards into their climate-controlled case with bullet-proof glass and the kind of alarm system that would make the U.S. Constitution run to its therapist to address its feelings of inadequacy. “The Reformers got it right. Don’t touch,” we say.
Eliot is a disturber of this peace. Read more…
Christians suffer and the wicked prosper. But unlike his pagan counterpart, the Christian man knows that both trial by fire and each moment of happiness have their purpose and that purpose can be redeemed. “Every phrase and sentence that is right . . . is an end and a beginning.” Our end and our beginning, our tragedy and our comedy, our paradox is in the Divine Logos, the Word that was with God from the beginning. And we will find that when we come to the end of all our exploring here on earth:
. . . all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
The world seems tragic? “Seems, madam!” exclaims Hamlet, “Nay it is; I know not ‘seems.’” The Fall has made it so. Meursault must take cold comfort in his nihilism, Kant must live in the denial of existentialism, Achilles must choose a remembered death in battle or a forgotten life at home.
But the Christian can rejoice in the paradox, splashing about it in the puddles of reality because the Resurrection is what finally brings about the sudden joy that turns this tragedy into a deep comedy.
The Karamazovs embodied the Russian geist, but the Karamazovs were a repulsive sort, enslaved to their passions and drowning in nihilistic debauchery. Alyosha alone stood against this, but also within it. He embodied the passion of the true Russian geist by having a passion for righteousness and for healing the suffering of others. Ivan maligns Alyosha’s God and Alyosha responds with a kiss.
A paradox: Predestination and the Freedom of the Will. Must we choose between Twainish
determinism and the human autonomy of Open Theism? Or is there a tertium quid? May we refuse the distinction between freedom and necessity altogether and, instead, approach our lives with a live-in-the-paradox mentality that understands the two to be the same thing? Where man’s freedom is a necessary outworking of God’s providence?
The thing was going to be done. There was going to arrive, in the course of time, a moment at which he would have done it. The future act stood there, fixed and unaltered as if he had already performed it. It was a mere irrelevant detail that it happened to occupy the position we call future instead of that which we call past . . . Predestination and freedom were apparently identical. He could no longer see any meaning in the many arguments he had heard on this subject.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). τὸν πλησίον σου. Not the nebulous term of “neighbor.” Your near one. That person in close physical proximity to you. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love the Haitians whom he has not seen? (John 4:20)
To Hell with Haiti. Do you know the needs of your near one?