April 28, 2008

Let me just babble on for awhile about my academic interests

As you must have been wondering, I DID get my paper and annotated bibliography in on the original due date... woo hoo!

My paper was on Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ and his use of Catholic iconography - specifically the scene where Jesus pulls his heart of his chest in a morbid mock-up of the Sacred Heart. Then it magically becomes an axe out of no where... It's a messed up scene that's largely ignored by critics, so I wanted to put the history and meaning of the Sacred Heart of Jesus iconography next to the scene and see if/how his alterations change the meaning of the iconography.

Needless to say, it does change the meaning by taking an image representing Christ's divine love for humanity and turning it into a message of violence. The original image acts as a mediator to Christ's humanity, to ponder over Jesus' heart and his love for us. By changing the imagery, Scorsese takes this image of divine love and manipulates it in a way to cut off that access to Christ's humanity. Scorsese wanted his film to explore the humanity of Jesus, but it seems that everything he does stops that - including his manipulation of this Sacred Heart iconography. Scorsese tends to deconstruct himself again and again - what he wants to do is subverted by what he actually does.


I have three papers coming up in the next few weeks - two next week and one on May 24. I'm going to write one on Spike Lee's 25th Hour, based on David Benioff's book The 25th Hour. That's for my Christianity and Culture class, and I really don't know what I'm going to say yet. The paper for my Theology and Cinema class is about Saved! but the paper really is more of a project. We have to write about how we'd use a film in a ministry setting or professional setting (I suppose he really didn't account for people who want to teach film, and thus use film all the time... although maybe it'd be easier that way).

My paper due on the 24th is my Cinematic Spectacle course, and that's 15 pages - my longest so far (not counting the bibliography/pictures from my last paper). I have to give a 10 minute presentation on this tomorrow, so that's what I'm procrastinating from by writing this post. I'm planning on saying that The Ten Commandments invites participation from viewers on several levels - originally through it's widescreen proportions (a novelty when widescreen was released, promoted as engaging viewers) and then through it's yearly showing on TV, becoming a ritual in and of itself. Not only is the viewing a ritual, the film depicts the beginning of ritual - the original Passover. However, the movie isn't made for a Jewish audience, in fact it's often stripped of it's ethnic Jewish markers. It's Christianized (which is why it's shown at Easter) and Americanized in a Cold-War period. I'm still working on this, and I'm planning on starting to write the paper after my other work is done, so this presentation kind of conflicts with that. I wasn't even planning on looking at any of the material until those other papers were done, so that I have to put together this brief presentation is kinda annoying.

Anyway, after those two papers are due on the 7th and 9th, the Spectacle paper isn't due until after I leave for WI so I should have some free time after finals week to pack up my apartment and finish that paper. I have to move my stuff into the Catholic House (where I'm living next year, a intentional community living house) before others move out after graduation, so my stuff will be around the house until I come back at the end of summer. It's a big house and they have three floors, so it shouldn't be a huge problem. If anything, some of my friends are offering to store things in their rooms since they'll be gone for the summer too. Aside from moving and finishing that paper, I just have lots of drinking to do. I mean, spending time with friends. I'm actually really excited about it.

I posted before that I've started writing on a feminist blog Female Impersonators. Lately there have been some commenters who just don't get anything about the pro-choice movement. Their comments have been super frustrating and at times insulting (I stop commenting back when they do that - I'm a lady). Just today someone posted something along the lines of "but you deeply believe that all women should have abortions"... Yeah, because I'm so pro-choice that I think women shouldn't have any choice at all and just vacuum those babies out of their wombs. That's problematic enough, but the fact that someone wrote telling me what I believe? I told them they should come over and tell me what to have for dinner. Anyway, if you want to check some of it out, the particularly heated debates are in the Jessica Rabbit post and the Oklahoma legislature requiring ultrasounds before abortions post. There's also a really interesting link to a report about how scientists have been able to use menstrual blood to make similar tissue to heart tissue. It's really fascinating.

Here's some music I've been listening to these past few days:
Sweet Honey in the Rock - Wanting Memories (****)
Sia - Breathe Me (****)
Yael Naim - New Soul (****)
Tilly and the Wall - Bad Education (****)
Tilly and the Wall - Beat Control (****)
Hem - Half Acre (***)
The Poozies (hehe, Poosie) - Another Train (***)

Erich reminded me I haven't played Risk all year, and I'm jonesin' in a bad way. Riiiiisk. I miss it, especially LOTR Risk. Such an interesting board...

All right. Presentation planning time. I figure I can waste a couple minutes talking about the state of film in theological academia. All right. Bacher out.


FeministGal said...

Hi there :) I left you this message over at Female Impersonator but figured you'd have a better shot seeing it here:
i just realized you're from new haven - i live in hamden... i've never "met" a feminist blogger so close to home! :) are you involved in any activism around new haven? i'd love to get involved in something off the internet - feel free to email me at feministgal@gmail.com


CarbonDate said...

I don't remember that particular scene from The Last Temptation of Christ, but it was a long time ago, and perhaps I simply overlooked it myself. From what you describe, it sounds like Scorsese was exploring the paradox of a religion which preaches peace, love, and forgiveness but has historically practiced violence. Then again, Jesus did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34; as you no doubt know, I am taking the quote out of context; in its proper context, it's actually worse.) It would appear he succeeded. In fact, if the intent is to explore the concept of Jesus as less divine and more human, then bringing him in touch with the propensity for barbarity in man does just that.