At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Deeper Into Movies--Church Search--Reading List--Back in the Ring

I post with some trepidation, since I've noticed that whenever I slip into inactivity I start picking up subscribers (mostly people who sign up for any and all library blogs whatsoever), but when I make an effort to post more frequently I lose them. Extrapolating from this trend, if I never posted I would attain the popularity of an Instapundit, but probably the strategy has diminishing returns. So here's a post for form's sake.

In my DVD viewing I've been drawing from the deep well of vintage Hollywood. The movies of the '30s, their charm and glamour designed to distract a nation burdened by the Great Depression, also give me solace in my own mental trough. I don't have the emotional resources to spend on much Serious Art, and it's hard to be glum while watching Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. In the past two weeks, I've seen The Thin Man (thanks Society Dome), Shadow of the Thin Man, The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Grand Hotel, and All About Eve. (Okay, not all of these are comedies or from the '30s, but even the dramas of the golden age are hard to take too seriously--melodrama mixed with wit.) Any other recommendations?

I decided to abandon a sinking ship and start church-hopping, even though our Calvie congregation doesn't get the axe until March. The past few weeks I've been going with K.G. to the Greek Orthodox church in Lubbock. K. G. is, as they say, a character; a brilliant West Texas farm kid who majored in religion and philosophy, doing not much homework but a lot of reading and debating. A hayseed Socrates, he walked around campus barefoot, chewing a stalk of grass in his rotting back-country teeth, talking with an incongruous combination of twanginess and eloquence to whomever would listen about, say, the transmission history of the Masoretic text or the differences between Attic, Homeric, and modern Greek. Now he's had to buckle down and support himself, but with no marketable skills he has become probably the nation's most erudite convenience store clerk. His independent studies led him to convert from the Baptist church to Orthodoxy, but without a vehicle he depends on others to take him to worship. Since I happen to be church shopping at the same time, it works out conveniently--he gets a ride and I get an excuse to check out the Greeks. Anyway, I'm enjoying the liturgy much more than the Reformed service--the chanting puts one in a contemplative frame of mind, and I certainly don't miss the long, dry Calvinist sermons devoted to microscopically detailed exegesis.

Latest reads: Pauline Kael, Deeper Into Movies--the Christgau of film criticism (or is it the other way around?), intelligent, sarcastic, liberal but rejects facile leftism; Evelyn Waugh, Put Out More Flags--light satire of wartime bureaucracy.

After a few months of licking my wounds, I've started putting out resumes again. Unfortunately it seems that they're being ignored.