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[When I first wrote this a couple of days ago I thought it might be too mean, but then I saw that I’m not the only one that took issue with the review.]

On over at Books&Culture, Jean Bethka Elshtain writes a review of “There Will Be Blood” that is a little overwrought (is that a criticism I get to make?), but appropriately gushing toward the film. There are several comments I have however.

“When I saw [Magnolia] in a theater in Chicago, there were murmurs of perplexity from exiting filmgoers. “Like, what the hell was the frog thing about?”, I overheard one fellow say, a statement objectionable for two reasons: first, the ubiquitous, distracting, and slightly demented repetition of “like”; second, the illustration of complete biblical ignorance. Ever hear of the plagues Moses called down on the Pharoah and Egypt?”

Yeah, except neither had Anderson. He got the idea from reading a book on weird phenomenon.

And as a sidenote is it really necessary to mention Martin Luther, Hannah Arnedt, Alexis de Tocqueville, and St. Augustine? You could just have a sidebar of the books you’ve been reading recently.*

“In large part, Plainview’s tragedy is that he needs other people the way an addict needs a fix: to triumph over, to kick in the balls (sorry, crude but necessary), to bury, all too literally at one turning point.”

I’m sorry? Why is it necessary? What I’m saying is that stylistically, using words like “lugubrious” and “stentorian” with “balls” and “bejesus” results in a tone problem.

“After a ritualized danse macabre between the two protagonists…”

I love the pointless interjection of foreign languages, tres chic, muy beneficio.

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You could go to Pastor Jeff Meyers website just for the potent theological thoughts, but then you’d be missing out on the fine photo work he puts up.

His three interpretations of one bridge can be found here.

His fine commentary on Ecclesiastes can be found here.

Triolet by A. E. Stallings

Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther

Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night,
The swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes?
Does he hum them to while away sad afternoons
And the long, lonesome Sundays? Or sing them for spite?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
The booze and the neon and Saturday night?

It should be mentioned that if Martin Luther did in fact say this he would’ve been talking about the Roman Catholic Church and not what would be called “secular” music.

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May 2008
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