Friday, October 15, 2004

not just another Canadian virtuoso

violinist James Ehnes

"One of the most gifted and sincerely expressive artists to have emerged in recent times" (The Daily Telegraph, London)

I was very impressed when I heard this guy play on the radio. Not just his technique but his sparkling interpretation of every note and phrase is what I find really enjoyable. James Ehnes is one of the most important living violinists and one of the most prolific recording artists in any style of music (six recordings in 2004!). He plays on the "Ex Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715, which a collector purchased just to lend to him.

And he’s Canadian!

the tyranny of political correctness.

Political correctness versus science and democracy:

Globe & Mail article on gay population statistics

CTV article on gay population statistics

According to Statistics Canada, the gay population of Canada is only at around 1%, much lower than the 10% asserted by the gay community. The gay community has always tried to use the out-dated “10% of all men are gay” for propaganda, and has even been critical of attempts to research and publish the more reliable statistics. The 1% statistic from StatCan fits with other scientific surveys of the past decades from around the world, and a figure of around 1% was predicted by those who were familiar with the past survey results (from less than a percent to 3-4%). So it is no shock that it is not around 10%, like the propaganda insists. The gay community must have been aware of the facts for a long time and that is why they discouraged research to accumulate such statistics. Some critics of thesurvey think that the reason the census showed such a small gay population is because people are afraid to say they are gay in a telephone interview, or many who practice homosexual activity do not perceive themselves as gay. Those who have criticized the results have been gay rights advocates (see CTV article), so it is in their interests to discount the survey and lead the public to believe the old "10% of men are gay" myth.

The census results raise the issue of the status of the gay community as a minority. According to democratic principles, the Evangelical population is much larger and deserves much more recognition for its convictions in the legislation of Canada. The majority are not always right, but Canadian government policy and social order are now being controlled by special interest groups through the tyranny of political correctness. Special interest groups make the most noise and change society when the majority (or any other group) doesn't care enough to respond, or lives under the fear of the labels 'intolerant' or ‘homophobic.’ Just remember that during the next gay pride parade down main street.

Remember that the American Psychological Association (which is supposed to be scientific) changed its official view about homosexuality (from being a disorder to being normal) not because of new scientific discoveries, but because of pressure from the gay community. Once again proving that even in our ‘scientific’ age, political correctness is an even more powerful force.

Political correctness versus Biblical interpretation:

To determine which of the many Old Testament commands are applicable today, one must separate the ritual requirements from the moral. In some “gray” cases, this takes judgment and discernment (tattoos, Sabbath, etc.), in other cases it is clear. Homosexuality is obviously classified under a moral issue because it doesn’t relate to ritual, and there are a number of reasons to very easily condemn it on Biblical moral grounds (e.g. not God’s plan in Genesis, serves no natural purpose, does not fit into the biblical description of marriage and sexual practice). Can the 10 Commandments be divided into ritual and moral laws? The Adventists have a good point about the significance of the 7th day Sabbath, since it is included in the in the 10 Commandments.

Thoughts on the New testament

Copy of Rembrandt's The Apostle Paul In Prison, 1627

Christianity requires persecution, or at least a minority status. At least New Testament Christianity. It is not compatible with being the majority, or the establishment, or the status quo. Paul had a “theology” of suffering and humbleness. A 'theology' of “the cross” was, as far he was concerned, what he preached (as he said in Romans, "I preach 'Christ crucified'").

The only reason the New Testament is dated later than 70 CE is because of the prophesies of Jesus regarding the destruction of the Temple. Nevertheless, even the very famous (and very liberal) scholars, such as John Dominic Crossan, suggest that Mark could be dated earlier than, or very shortly after, 70 CE.

Dating the gospels after 70 CE helps to understand them as apologetic works, that are trying to defend the young Jesus movement against the Jewish authorities, and helps to understand how they discuss the destruction of the temple (in terms of prophetic words) as a way to do this. Matthew blames the destruction of the temple on the Jewish leaders, which the Pharisees are connected to. It also explains why, in the gospels, the Pharisees are the main opponents and are made to look so bad (uncharacteristically legalistic) and oppose everything Jesus stood for -- because apart from the Jesus movement (Nazarites) the Pharisee sect was the only sect known to have survived the destruction of the temple and they represented the Jewish authority after 70 CE. So they would have been the main opponents to the Jesus movement. If the gospels date from after 70 CE, then the writers are incredibly confrontational and radical. Why did they have to be so fervently anti-authority in order to defend the Jesus movement?

Ozu, Tokyo Story, etc.

Scene from Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo monogatari (Tokyo Story, 1953).

What would a new film done in the style of Ozu’s Tokyo Story look like? It would have an unusual mood. If the way people spoke and acted was the same, and their expressions were the same, the interesting graphic relations between shots, the low camera angles close to the floor, its pacing, and confusing 360 degree camera angles.

A good film idea would be to mix Tokyo Story’s story of a neglected parent who passes away, with a murder or political suspense.

Could Ozu’s style ever allow for fast action? Can fast action be effectively placed into an Ozu type of film for drastic and contrasting dramatic effect? Or is it the opposite -- fast action doesn’t fit into his style.

A documentary film can become a “great” film, and even a great artistic film, if is places an individual instance (which is what the film is about) into a great theme or universal problem, especially when the individual instance is portrayed as part of a recurring issue, part of the evolution/development of the problem.

A film’s sound track can tell you about the film maker -- if it is made by an old fogy (jazz or ‘Adult Contemporary’ soundtrack) or by someone trying to be cool (the latest thrash/punk in the alternative top 40).

A good way to build suspense in film -- by teh use of film technique that creates unrestricted narration (knowledge of the story beyond what the character knows) like when we view through the eyes of someone following the character (a POV, point of view shot). The character may be sitting or walking along minding their own business, and the camera follows them, maybe peering around a corner. This is a good way to start building suspense, to make the viewer aware that something sinister may be going on, after the previous scenes have looked like everything was normal.

Scene from Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo monogatari (Tokyo Story, 1953).