I realized that this year will officially be ten years since I read The Phantom of the Opera for the first time. And considering the number of times Erik has managed to pop up on my blog, it clearly made an impact on me. Well, even though it’s been ten years since I read the book, it wasn’t the first time I heard about it. No, the first time I heard about Phantom was through the TV show Wishbone.
To be perfectly honest, the Phantom in this episode straight-up terrified my four-year-old self–especially the unmasking scene; it looked as though he had peeled his face off. I never imagined it would become one of my favorite books.
As an adult, Erik is far less terrifying to me now. But I never would have known him at all if it hadn’t been for Wishbone.
I have a confession to make–I have never liked Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. I always thought he was stubborn and arrogant; it’s all Gondor all the time with him, and he refused to listen to Elrond, Gandalf, and Aragorn when they kept telling him that in no uncertain terms can they ever use the Ring. I mean, sure, he redeems himself by sacrificing himself to protect Merry and Pippin, but up until that point I’m always, “Why’d we have to bring him again?” Contrawise, I have always loved Faramir from the very first time I read the books. Unlike his older brother, Faramir is not so single-mindedly focused on saving Gondor that he fails to see the big picture, and he actually listens when people tell him the Ring is mucho no bueno (in the books anyway. Don’t get me started on the movies). And the fact that he was never even tempted to use the Ring even when it was three feet in front of him just floored me the first time I read that. Clearly Faramir got all of the awesomeness in the family.
Yet to my surprise, there are people out there–quite a few people–who don’t like Faramir for that very reason! They say he’s too perfect, and that they can’t relate to him because of it. They find Boromir more relatable because of his fallen nature. This upset me at first–why would you prefer the jerky brother over the non-jerky brother?–but over time I began to see a certain logic behind the preference. However, Faramir still plays an important role that I think too many people overlook.
Several years ago, I had a chance to listen to a talk given by Joseph Pearce on the Catholic aspects of The Lord of the Rings, and he was the one who first drew my attention to the parallel of Boromir as a sinner and Faramir as a saint. Boromir had a fallen nature he had to overcome, but Faramir had already overcome that nature (probably because of all the stuff Denethor put him through). So in a sense I can see why more people would like Boromir; we all have fallen natures we have to overcome. But all sinners are called to become saints. Boromir is who we are, but Faramir is who we are supposed to become.
…the Star Wars animated series from 2008 that fills the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. “It’s just a ploy for money!” I cried. “They’re probably breaking canon and expecting people to ignore it! And what’s this nonsense about Anakin having a Padawan?” The rest of the world, however, seemed thrilled about Clone Wars, claiming it was better than the prequel movies and a fun show to boot. Still deeply suspicious, I decided to give it a try.
Oh my goodness, it is leagues better than the prequels. If movie Anakin had been more like TV Anakin, I really think the prequels wouldn’t be quite so hated. Padme gets to do interesting stuff; Jar Jar is less annoying (but still giving off those secret Force power vibes); Obi-Wan is a delightful ball of sarcasm, and Anakin’s Padawan, a Togruta girl named Ahsoka Tano, is a much better character than I was expecting. Granted, I’m only on the first season, so maybe the show goes downhill. But for now, it’s amazing.
I haven’t seen any of Rebels yet, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to it. Right now I’m enjoying the ride that Clone Wars is offering.
The good news is that we finally have an idea of when Thirteen will be crashing onto our screens. The bad news is that it’s not until October.
We also got a glimpse of the new logo today. It’s nice and shiny, but at the same time I feel as if it’s missing something. I’m not sure what that something is yet; I just have the strangest feeling that the logo is missing something.
One thing’s for sure–October will definitely be an interesting month.
It’s here! It’s finally happened! Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day are the same day! Long have I awaited this occurrence! Sure, it’s cynical and probably evil of me to do so, but having never been a fan of the overwhelming mushiness of St. Valentine’s, I longed for the year that would see Ash Wednesday trump it. And it’s here! Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, baby!
To help with the mood, we have a fine collection of Ash Wednesday/St. Valentine’s Day cards courtesy of Jason Bach Cartoons. It’s a perfect addition for the day when you want to celebrate love but have to remember your inevitable demise, too.
So this weekend is the release of the final movie in the stupid trilogy about the color grey, and it just makes me mad that a messed-up relationship like that is glamorized. To counter that, I am pulling out one of my favorite videos, the speech from Yours, Mine, and Ours about what love really is.
Love isn’t about feeling good; it’s about dying to yourself for the benefit of others. The other people become more important than your own wants and desires. In its ideal form, it should be a reflection of the love God has for us, that He loved us so much He was willing to die for us. That’s what love really is.
Several months ago, I stumbled across an article that talked about how a group of Dominicans from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. was releasing an album of bluegrass music. I’m no connoisseur of the bluegrass genre, but I’ve always had a fondness for it, and I love Dominicans, so naturally I checked it out.
It. Is. Amazing.
They call themselves the Hillbilly Thomists, a term that Catholic author Flannery O’Connor originally used to describe herself. Judging from the album’s cover picture that dates from the 1920s, there have been Dominicans playing bluegrass at the House of Studies for a very long time; I think this was the first time they gave themselves and name and recorded an album. And they don’t limit themselves to just bluegrass; various YouTube videos show them playing old Irish folk tunes as well. No matter what they’re singing, though, there is an unmistakable joy that permeates everything they do.