October 2004 Archives


Last monday I saw "Tarnation" at the MFAH here in Houston. Jonathan Caouette, the filmmaker introduced the film and took questions following the screening. The film is a personal documentary about Jonathan's violent and tormented life as he coped with growing up with trouble on all sides, his relationship with his abused schizophrenic mom. One of the ways he coped was by shooting video of himself and his surround. "Filmmaking for me became a means of disassociation and escape. By picking up a camera when I was a kid, I found a way to survive the life I was enduring." He compiled the film from all the video, telephone messages and pictures that he kept since his childhood.

I loved the film. It ends with non-sacharin hope and a somewhat theological statement about the world and our place in it. The theatre was filled with mainly young people, 20's, and they gave the film a standing ovation. Jonathan is from Houston, so he has many friends here.

Hope it comes to your city.

Poll on Gay Marriage and Copyright

Mary notes an opportunity to vote on gay marriage with Bill Moyers on PBS. To vote, go to the very bottom of the Bill Moyers Page on Culture Wars.

Yesterday our local paper, the Houston Chronicle, ran a prominent article about the Creative Commons, an AP story. At least some of the mainline churches are beginning to explore copyright and its stifling effect on our ability to worship with elements of our culture. A two-hour discussion is being prepared for the 2005 gathering of church communications personnel in Nashville, TN. More on that later. At Creative Commons there are two animations that do a very good job of explaining the need for the Creative Commons approach:
"Get Creative" and "Reticulum Rex" which revisits Creative Commons one year after their launch.



ReligionLink features a basic text/links that journalists can use in reporting about Catholics and politics. It was updated in May, before the nomination, but the resources it lists are helpful in understanding the complex and differing views of Catholics about this political race. ReligionLink is produced by the Religion Newswriters Foundation, the educational arm of the Religion Newswriters Asssociation.


Bush Is Wired now on CNN

It is fascinating that an Internet conversation about Bush using a transmitter and earpiece to receive prompts during public appearances and particularly the debates, is now being covered by CNN. It was in every HNN newscast yesterday. The ability of grass-roots conversations to erupt into the consciousness of corporate news organizations shows a growing strength of conversations on the Internet. Or should I say, of "the Internets". Yes, I'll join in the howling over Bush saying that during the last debate. If he was wired, and still said "Internets," something went wrong.

This is a list of some funny Bush video moments. This one is particularly funny,
"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."


political videos

This new political satire video, "It's Good To Be in DC" is linked by Mary. Sing along and chuckle ('cause crying does no good) at this animation about DC . Also, Paul from ELCA sent me this link to another animation, "Debating for Ratings," about the corporate framing of the debates.


The Message of the Musical

My friend in London, Jane, has just sent me a copy of a new book, "You've Got To Have a Dream: The Message of the Musical" by Ian Bradley published by SCM Press this year.

The thesis is that musicals are cultural icons of our age and that "they may be iconic in a deepers sense, with an almost sacramental, hymnodic, transofmring power to point beyond themselves to the realm of the spiritual and the divine."

Bradley obviously loves musicals and presents them as incarnational theology, going through 10 theological aspects of the musical. Although there is no analysis of audience reception, he does present some hints about the religious experience from the audience/reception perspective. He points to the increasing inclusion of show songs in Christian funerals and actually claims that "data collected by the Co-operative Funeral Service, the largest providers of funerals in the United Kingdom suggest that such songs are coming to challenge the primacy of traditional crematorium favourites like 'Abide with me and the 23rd Psalm. The top ten most requested pieces of music at funerals in Britain over recent years have included 'My heart will go on' from Titanic, 'Bring him home' from Les Mis�rables, 'Wishing you were somehow here again' from Phantom of the Opera, 'You'll never walk alone' from Carousel and 'Memories' from Cats."

Sing Halleluyah, Come on Get Happy!



A victory for the community and free speech this past Thursday. Students who sued Diebold Election Systems won their case against the voting machine maker after a judge ruled that the company had misused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and ordered the company to pay damages and fees. Lawyers for the students call the move a victory for free speech.

Last October, students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania posted copies and links to some 13,000 internal Diebold company memos that an anonymous source had leaked to Wired News. The memos suggested that the company was aware of security flaws in its voting system when it sold the system to states. The company sent them threatening letters aserting copyright infringement.

The ruling makes Diebold the first company to be held liable for violating section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it unlawful to use the DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement hasn't occurred.


Debates and Spin

On Chicano.org You can vote about who won the debate last night . This is not a scientific sample, and there are only four votes at this time (5 counting mine), but it is a good, healthy internet latin@ involvement at the grassroots. It is informative to read the postings about the debate. (Go to the end of the article) Spin is in our hands if we become involved, Raza.


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