Friday, June 30, 2006

NERD ALERT #2 - Breathless


“Informers inform, burglars burgle, murderers murder, lovers love” - Michel

“I believe in dialectics” - Godard

Ian Cameron begins his book on Jean-Godard by writing, “If violence ever breaks out in the normally peaceable ranks of film critics, it will almost certainly be provoked by the work of Jean-Luc Godard” (6). Richard Roud writes, “Jean-Luc Godard is, of all contemporary directors, the most controversial” (7). David Sterritt echoes, “Mention the films and videos of Jean-Luc Godard, and superlatives will flow from his admirers. I was not ever thus. Godard’s reputation has undergone more than its share of ups and downs” (1). These comments are sparked by two things: Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Luc Godard’s films. His first film, A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) is no exception. It has been heralded as the brilliant beginning of the French New Wave, a piece of pure art and it has been dismissed as nothing more than a gangster film with bad editing. However, when one looks closer it becomes apparent that he wanted it this way; he wanted to spark controversy and he wanted to make people think.

Andre Bazin and Jean-Pierre Chartier established the Cahiers du cinema in 1942 and, in doing so, laid the groundwork for the establishment of the nouvelle vague (New Wave) and its directors. Viewing film as a language, the critics of the Cahiers called for personal realism (which was anti-montage) and a resulting politique du cinema (which later became known as auteur theory). This politique gave the power to the auteur (roughly “author”) which was usually the director. The “homme de cinema” had the ability to wield the camera like an author wields a pen (camera-stylo); he had the control.

Godard takes his control solidly for the first time in 1959, with his first feature Breathless. And with this control Godard has sparked much criticism, debate, and thought about what exactly he is trying to say. This, as many critics emphasize, is the way that he will operate for most of his career; it with Breathless and namely with his character Michel Poiccard that Godard begins to truly speak in the first person and where he will begin his dive into the dialectical.

David Sterrit in his Seeing the Invisible writes, “The opening scene begins with Michel buried in the pages of Paris-Flirt and muttering to himself, ‘I’m no good. If you have to, you have to” (57). A different translation is, “After all, I’m an asshole. After all, I must, I must!” With the opening line, Godard lets the audience into the instability that will characterize the rest of his film. Michel does not know who he is (much in the same way, as Godard would argue, that he doesn’t know who he is and humans in general are on a quest for identity). As Ian Cameron writes, “In images of dazzling clarity, Godard reflects the ideological confusions of the world today. The only unity which he imposes on his observations is that which comes from his own individuality as an observer. Increasingly, his films have been shaped by his own uncertainties”(8). He continues, “Godard is at his best when his films are least coherent and least circumscribed, when they appear to be reaching out through references and allusions in all directions to take in vast areas of modern life” (8).

In this way, Godard is the ultimate modernist and Michel is his ultimate mouthpiece. He once said, “In A Bout de Souffle I was looking for the theme right through the shooting, and finally became interested in Belmando. I saw him as a sort of block to be filmed to discover what lay inside” (175). This criminal makes decisions on a whim, is helplessly in love, and is constantly in search of his identity. In one of the most famous scenes of the film, the breakneck cuts, music, and pace slow and cut to Michel standing in front of a poster of The Harder They Fall. He is face to face with a picture of his God-like idol Humphrey Bogart. Michel stares, smoking his ubiquitous cigarette and utters “Bogey” in a manner on par with a child’s first words. He is in awe.

Michel, as a character, is constantly contradicting and constantly indifferent. He does not think twice when he shoots the policeman after the initial car chase. This, of course, sets the plot in motion by putting him on the run. So, essentially, Breathless is a story built off of this improvisational move and this theme continues throughout. Michel says what’s on his mind when it’s on his mind. As Godard says, “It is when a man talks simply for the sake of talking that he pronounces the most beautiful and original truths.” He also famously says, “People in life quote as they please, so we have the right to quote as we please. Therefore I show people quoting, merely making sure that they quote what pleases me. In the notes I make of anything that might be of use for a film, I will add a quote from Dostoevsky if I like it. Why not? If you want someone to say something, there is only one solution: say it” (173).

Michel also does what he wants to do. He robs cars, mugs people, and steals from those who trust him. He is a man of action and this action is directed towards his needs. This is with the exception of Patricia, the woman who throws all of this out of whack. She is what creates the tension, the conflict, and the contradiction within Michel. He is in love with her, as he admits at the beginning of the movie and he’ll beg, borrow, and steal for her. But this comes into direct conflict with Michel’s Bogart image. Bogart is dependent on only himself; he can love and leave. But Michel is as attached as he ever will be to anyone. So he tries to get Patricia to talk to him, have sex with him, and move to Rome with him. And even though she may be almost as confused as he (during a conversation with her newspaper boss who she sleeps with for stories) she says, “I don’t know if I’m unhappy because I’m not free, or if I’m not free because I’m unhappy.” Here, Godard is playing games with language but he’s also establishing a spontaneity, a questioning of reality, and a modern look at the world.

Michel is trying to find his meaning much in the same way that Breathless, as a whole, is trying to find its meaning. It was shot as an attempt at the gangster film and film noir, but Godard wanted reality. He writes, “Beauty and truth have two poles: documentary and fiction. You can start with either one. My starting point is documentary to which I try to give the truth of fiction”(8). However, he wrote of Breathless, “Although I felt ashamed of it at one time, I do like A Bout de Souffle very much, but now I see where it belongs - along with Alice in Wonderland. I thought it was Scarface” (175). With this statement, Godard is admitted two things. The first is that he contradicts himself (he has been widely regarded as not liking Breathless). He says in an interview with Colin MacCabe, “It’s more a picture that I’ve done for others. A dream of how to make a picture. Perhaps the films should have been done but not by me…I feel that it’s not my movie” (45). But, more importantly, he is admitting that conscious efforts and unconscious thoughts led Breathless to its conclusion. Godard may not have meant to make it the way he did, but that’s the way he would want it to be. In other words, he was just doing what he thought was right. He was improvising.

In an interview with Cahiers, Godard says, “On A Bout de Souffle I used to write the evening before shooting. With me this is a method. As I make low-budget films, I can ask the producer for a five-week schedule, knowing there will be two weeks of actual shooting…The big difficulty is that I need people who can be at my disposal the whole time. Sometimes they have to wait a whole day before I can tell them what I want them to do. I have to ask them not to leave the location in case we start shooting again. Of course they don’t like it. That’s why I always try to see that people who work with me are well-paid. Actors don’t like it for a different reason: an actor likes to feel he’s in control of his character, even if it isn’t true, and with me they rarely do. The terrible thing is that in the cinema it is so difficult to do what a painter does quite naturally: he stops, steps back, gets discouraged, starts again, changes something. He can please himself” (180).

This is Godard’s aim - he must, like Michel, please himself. He wants to be a painter of images. So much so that Richard Roud compares him to Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer writing, “One thinks first of all of Vermeer, who was also, in a sense, a painter of reality, one whose subjects were drawn from the banality of everyday life. But often the beauty in both Vermeer and Godard comes from gestures or movement. And like Vermeer, Godard accepts the true light source - accepts and glories in it” (81). Emma Wilson agrees, “Both Godard and Truffaut revel in their early films in the possibility of filming in the street, the natural light. A Bout de Souffle is marked in particular by the work of Raoul Coutard, one of the most celebrated cinematographers of his generation. Coutard’s work with a moving camera, in the scenes in the Champs Elysees for example, allows the natural movement and vagaries of conversation between Michel and Patricia” (72).

Paris, for many critics, is the third major character in Breathless with Godard hopping from the Champs to Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. And like Michel and Patricia, it also has contradictory elements. It can be the light, sunny grounds for conversation between the couple, but it can also be the dark, seedy city where Godard’s jump cuts and ultra-fast jazz soundtrack stutter and confuse the audience as much as Michel’ actions may. Wilson writes, “While its visual marking of the city as space of light and chance may seem the obverse of film noir, Godard manages no less to create Paris as a location of the underground, of paranoia, of the externalization of the psychic spaces, as the city found in film noir. Effectively Godard deconstructs the difference between dark and light, between internal and external, exploiting the possibility of opposition for opposition’s sake. Much the same might be said of the film’s moral codes where, by its ending A Bout de Souffle had rendered the difference between good and bad, between criminal and victim entirely indeterminate” (72).

Michel cannot be qualified as good or as bad. He is struggling against society in the ways that Hegel, Sartre, and Foucault wrote about. Foucault writes at the end of his study on Bentham’s Panopticon, “It is a type of location of bodies in space, of distribution of individuals in relation to one another, of hierarchical organization, of disposition of centres and channels of power, of definition of the instruments and modes of intervention of power, which can be implemented in hospitals, workshops, schools, prisons. There were many reasons why it received little praise…but the real reason is no doubt that the power that it operates and which it augments is a direct, physical power that men exercise upon one another.” This is, no doubt, analogous to the power that the state, the police, and the law have over Michel. His freedom is bound by their careful watch and, in the end, it is taken away by their hand.

Sarte writes in his Being in Nothingness, “Seduction aims at producing in the Other the consciousness of his state of nothingness as he confronts the seductive object. By seduction I aim at constituting myself as a fullness of being and at making myself recognized as such.” Michel, in the same way, is attempting to be by being through Patricia. Unfortunately, he is caught up in a Hegelian Master-Slave dialectic and, he’s the slave. He does everything for her and, in the end, she’s the one who rats him out.

Godard is fascinated with this American woman and Americana; with Bogart, gangsters, Westerns, the New York Herald Tribune, and jazz. But what he’s most fascinated with is improvisation. A comparison to the Beat Generation and to Jack Kerouac that Sterritt makes that rings the most true. Sterritt writes, “Both were iconoclastic thinkers with a zest for experience and ideas; both were impatient with the 1950s mindset of conservatism, consensus, and conformity; and both sought to release from this questionable Zeitgeist in a torrent of creative activity that challenged sociocultural norms with a charged-up mixture of impulsiveness, irreverence, and flamboyant rejection of common sense” (46). Michel Poiccard, was most basically on the road to somewhere but he didn’t know where. From the mouth of Kerouac’s Dean Moriarty:

“Now you just dig them in front. They have worries, they’re counting the miles, they’re thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they’ll get there - and all the time they’ll get there anyway, you see. But they need to worry and betray time with urgencies false and otherwise, purely anxious and whiny, their souls really won’t be at peace unless they can latch on to an established and proven worry and having once found it they assume facial expressions to fit and go with it, which is, you see, unhappiness, and all the time it all flies by them and they know it and that too worries them to no end.”

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Upright Citizen's Brigade Sketch #3



Scene is on a subway car. There are many different passengers, including a couple near one of the doors. A vagrant wearing no shoes carrying a vacuum from the 1970s walks in.

Jeepers

Hello my name is Jeepers and I am here to tell you a little bit about myself.

Guy in Couple

Oh, boy. Here we go again with this.

Wife

Oh honey, he’s just a nice man who wants something to eat.

Guy

(Sarcastically/Slapsticky) Yeah or drink.

Jeepers

I am here in front of you today because I’m just a nice man who wants something to eat.

Guy

Yeah right. How am I supposed to believe that?

Jeepers

If you could find it in your heart to spare some change I could get a sandwich…

Wife

See I told you…

Jeepers

Or a slice of pizza. Maybe a PZone. Or a taco. Or some Chinese food – maybe some dim sum, perhaps an egg roll, I sure do like sesame chicken. Or a hamburger. Or a cheeseburger. Or a bacon blue cheeseburger with mushrooms and sautéed onions…Actually come to think of it, I’d rather have an Arch Deluxe.

Guy

Is this guy for real?

Jeepers

Or some Indian. Curry is my favorite. Maybe a falafel would hit the spot come to think of it… Or some cereal. Maybe even some Count Chocula. Does anybody remember Franken Berries?

Guy

What’s going on here? I mean seriously.

Jeepers

Ooooooheeee. I could use me some spaghetti and meatballs. Now that I think about it, I think I much prefer carbonara sauce with all of that cream and pancetta. Mama Mia! Forget that, Jeepers wants some Dinty Moore Chicken and Dumplings. Wash that mofo down with an Ecto Cooler.

Guy

Is he just going to stand there and list foods off? Look at him. He’s not even moving through the car collecting change. I’ll take him to Le Bernardin for dinner and buy his Hoover a bottle of Dom if he just shuts the…

Jeepers

Does anybody here like ribs? Mmmm-uummm. Talkin’ bout some St. Louis Spareribs or maybe even some Memphis Baby Backs. Texas beef is the way to go, but, actually, wait, no, I think I’ll have some saucy Kansas City ribs. Nah, nah gimme that McRib.

Guy

Look, look, see. He’s insane. He’s ordering ribs but he’s not in a restaurant he’s here with us. I (pause) can’t (pause) take it anymore! (Guy goes into vacant handicapped seat at the end of train, lies down, and sucks his thumb.)

Jeepers

I’ll tell you what, though, and I know that you people have learned a lot about me here today – and I’ve learned a lot about you. There’s nothing in the whole wide world that can compare to the delicacy of which I can hardly speak the name. Its glory is too large for one man to handle. It’s taste too great for human tongues. If its smell was in every breath that I took, I would be the happiest man on earth – nay, the universe. It’s magnificence is like that of the sun. Stare too long and you shall go blind! …I speak of the Burger King Chicken Fries 36 piece party pack. I speak of Heaven on Earth.

The Burger King King arrives.

The King

Jeepers, I heard your call and have left the football game I was playing in to get here as fast as I
could. And I have brought you the most prized possession known to man. Behold, beneath my cloak I bear the Burger King Chicken Fries 36 piece party pack. I don’t need to tell you how lucky you are. For, you, Jeepers, are a god amongst men. Let us feast!

(Guy awakens to the smell of the chicken fries and joins Jeepers and the King for their party which includes dancing and the feeding of the fries to one another.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NERD ALERT #1 - People wonder what I was doing in college...


Fides

As George Vass explains, “Karl Rahner is one of those who in recent years have tried to reformulate the basic truths of Christianity and suggest new creeds for the use of contemporary Christians” (Vass 1). The focal point is, for Rahner, contemporary Christians. He is writing for a new generation of believers (and unbelievers), and he is careful to formulate his ideas around them. He, however, still holds firm to the basic terms of Christian theology, especially with respect to faith and grace. Sometimes this gets Rahner into trouble, for he tries to square contemporary viewpoints with classical ones. Nevertheless, what is his legacy is this “ascending” Christology. Ultimately for Rahner, Christ is in humanity.

How Rahner begins his theology of Christ is unique. As William V. Dych (Rahner’s translator, student, and contemporary) puts it, Rahner does not ask “Is Jesus the Christ?”, rather he wonders, “Is my faith that Jesus is the Christ legitimate?” (Dych 49). So, with this in mind, Rahner begins in an ultra-contemporary vein; he chooses to look at Christ’s place in an evolutionary view of the world. He writes, “We are presupposing thereby the evolutionary view of the world as a given, and we are asking whether Christology is compatible or can be compatible with it, and not vice versa” (Rahner 178).

First of all, he looks at Christ with respect to what he calls the “hypostatic union”: “The God-Man is the initial beginning and the definitive triumph of the movement of the world’s self-transcendence into absolute closeness to the mystery of God” (181). Jesus is the ultimate way in which humanity transcends towards God. Rahner sees this transcendence as being perfectly compatible with evolution. Matter has developed towards man and, now, man is developing towards the spirit. Rahner writes, “If the temporal duration of the relationship between spirit and matter is kept in mind, then without hesitation we can say of the intrinsic relationship between the two that it is of the intrinsic nature of matter to develop towards spirit” (184). Humans naturally tend towards this movement. As Karen Kilby writes, “To be human is to transcend all things, to ‘go beyond’ all things towards God” (Kilby 19).

Rahner asserts that this destroys any evolutionary theory that man is an accidental occurrence. For Rahner, attainment of the spirit is the goal for man and the development of man was a necessary precedent for this realization. We cannot, however, understand the totality of our goal, but this salvation (total attainment of spirit) “must exist” for Rahner. It is a totally reasonable (the totally reasonable) cause and effect. One must wonder, however, why it “must exist?” Isn’t it also perfectly reasonable that nothing saves us, that there is no salvation? Not for Rahner - he does not sway on this position. For him, one cannot explain the corporeal and the finite without reference to the infinite; it just would not make any sense.

It is God who wants us all to be saved. Rahner writes, “This immediate self-communication of God to spiritual creatures takes place in what we call “grace” while this self-communication is still in its historical process, and “glory” when it reaches fulfillment” (190). He continues, “God’s self-communication, then, is a communication to the freedom and intercommunication of the many cosmic subjects. This self-communication is necessarily addressed to a free history of the human race. It can take place only in a free acceptance by free subjects, and indeed in a common history” (193).

The human being must accept God’s gift of grace freely; it is up to us to be saved. As Kilby writes, “Grace is not offered to some of us some of the time, but to all of us all of the time” (25). If, however, we do not accept God and his grace, it does not go away. We simply live against it. In doing so, we would be living against God’s ultimate self-communication and offering of grace, Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus is the “absolute saviour” for Rahner and his Christology (like most) centers around the concept that God became flesh. In this Incarnation, God bestows his grace upon all spiritual creatures. However, he also emphasizes that the Incarnation has always been going on and always will be going on (John 1:1). Jesus is fully human and fully divine - this Rahner does not contest. This Incarnation, however, took place and takes place here. It is real and for humanity. Rahner writes:

If the Incarnation were to be regarded as an absolutely different and new level in the hierarchy of the world’s reality which simply and only surpasses what existed previously or is to exist, without it being necessary for this ‘lower’ level, then given this presupposition either the Incarnation would have to be able to be seen as a surpassing culmination of the ascending hierarchy of the realities of the world, so that it is incorporated positively to some extent in an evolutionary view of the world, or both notions would have to be abandoned. (199)

It is difficult to understand how one can maintain that Jesus was the Logos, the Messiah, the Saviour, and the Christ while still holding on to his humanity and our understanding of him. But, it is simple for Rahner, because the concept that “God became flesh” puts him into our history and level of understanding.

Jesus becomes significant in his relationship to us and to our faith. Rahner writes:

In describing this Christian relationship, in the first instance at least we do not have to distinguish between what Jesus is in the faith of a Christian “in himself,” and what he “means for us.” For in their unity these two aspects cannot be completely separated from each other. For, on the one hand, we neither could nor would be concerned about Jesus if he had no “meaning for us,” and on the other hand every assertion about his meaning for us implies an assertion about something “in itself” (204).

Rahner is emphasizing that without humanity, Christianity would not exist. Once the belief that Jesus is the absolute saviour ceases, so does Christianity and, with it, salvation.

Rahner looks at humanity with a historical, anthropological, and transcendental eye. He believes that to understand how we are transcendent beings open to God’s grace, a historical background is necessary. The self-communication of God appears historically (primarily in Scripture) and gives man his hope for “everything” (an eschatological hope for salvation). We find our history in Jesus and his acceptance of it. As Vass writes, “For in Jesus the Christ, God irrevocably accepted men and his whole history” (9). This includes the past, present, and future. Vass goes on to term this as Rahner’s “futurological” conception of the history to come, of our evolution. This seems like a lofty assumption on Rahner’s part, but he defends it by once again emphasizing that God becoming man was his acceptance of all of humanity.

Rahner, next, attempts to further understand the conception of this claim. What does it mean to say “God became man?” He has a hard time classifying either term. The “Word” of God he claims can just be left at the understanding of hypostasis and he writes that a concretization of what “man” means is also impossible. Definitions are not important for Rahner, human interpretation is. As Kilby writes, “At this point most Christians might be content to acknowledge that there is a paradox at the heart of the gospel. That Jesus is both human and divine is simply a truth of faith to be believed but not comprehended. They do not understand it, but then they do not expect to understand it, and do not need to understand it” (17). Herein lies the major strength and the major weakness of Rahner’s Christology. Because it comes from faith it is specifically human. But, because it comes from faith it is not rational or provable in the scientific sense.

Because God has become man (despite his immutability), man is “grounded in the greater” (223). God creates humanity by assuming it and he does so fully. The notion that Jesus is only the livery of God and that God only speaks through him is heretical. For Rahner, God is the beginning and the end of anthropology and everything else (alpha and omega) and there can be no disputation on this point. All of these claims, of course, are founded in Rahner’s own personal faith and, to that end, it would be difficult to dispute them.

Many, of course, wonder whether or not the events in Jesus’ life that were passed down really took place, whether they are historically valid. Rahner writes:

The ultimate and decisive question is rather whether this historical offer has already taken place, or whether it is only the asymptotic and still ambiguous point towards which our hope strives, and finally whether and why we can truly believe that this event of an absolute mediator of salvation and of the historical concreteness of God’s absolute self-communication to the world has taken place precisely and only in Jesus of Nazareth. (229)

He comes back to faith, writing, “We are posing the Christological question here about Jesus the Christ as a question about the accountability of each one’s own faith in Jesus as the Christ” (230). Once again, Rahner’s Christology comes down to personal faith.

Human beings have to opportunity to accept or reject grace, just as they have to opportunity to accept or reject the Biblical accounts of “the first witnesses.” These accounts make up what Rahner calls the “ground of faith” which justifies faith to the believer. Rahner believes that there are two fundamental theses which we must accept as our grounds of faith. He writes:

First, Jesus saw himself not merely as one among many prophets who in principle form an unfinished line which is always open towards the future, but understood himself rather as the eschatological prophet…[Secondly,] we [must] look in faith to that event which mediates the saviour in his total reality: the resurrection of Jesus. (246)

Rahner believes that through the exegesis of the texts we come to the full realization of the Kingdom of God as “already/not yet,” as an eschatology of the present.

Accepting the accounts does not mean a total rational belief in them, but rather an understanding of their importance to Christian life. Rahner understands that miracles can be seen as unbelievable, but he stresses their importance to our lives as signs. He sees them as tangible means of God’s self-communication, interruptions in the laws of nature, and significant for certain people at certain times. While his euphemistic phraseology may not “explain” if/how Jesus turned water into wine, Rahner makes it clear that it does not matter in the end if one believes these events to be indications of Jesus’ divinity. The resurrection, for Rahner, is the only miracle that really matters.

Rahner writes, “[The resurrection] means rather and precisely the permanent, redeemed final and definitive validity of the single and unique life of Jesus who achieved the permanent and final validity of his life precisely through his death in freedom and obedience” (266). Through a faith in and understanding of Jesus’ resurrection, one can move towards his/her own resurrection. Dych writes, “Since the union with God achieved by Jesus’ free and perfect response is the very end and goal for which God created the human race, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus can be seen as our common human destiny” (61). Rejection of the resurrection is “an act against one’s very own existence” (278).

Rahner understands that not all of his Christology is “classical,” nor does he aspire for it to be so. He believes that his theology has an advantage because it is “ascending.” It is grounded in faith, humanity, and the person of Jesus, and works upwards towards God and salvation. It is his “Christology from below” that allows for more personal interpretation and for theology to be lived, not just talked and written about.

Rahner also believes that he can include those who are not Christian in his theology. The “anonymous Christians” who have never come into contact with Christianity and even those who have but are of other faiths can still find salvation elsewhere and through contact with the Holy Spirit (316). Rahner addresses rejection of Jesus, but he does not give enough attention to those who are not Christian, do not want to be Christian or ascribe to its dogmas, and are, nevertheless, good people.

Karl Rahner and his other contemporaries (such as Schleiermacher and Bultmann) have come under fire from some who believe that they are being too subjective and too anti-classical. Kathryn Tanner, in her essay “Jesus Christ,” articulates just that. She does not blame modern theologians for being influenced by modernity, she is just wary that modernity is dictating the terms of Christological response. She believes that modernity must come under a scrutiny just like every prior theological period, and it would seem that she believes she is just the person to do it. So, she writes:

For instance, within the context of the logic of Christian belief what Christ does in and for us makes sense as a remedy for the Fall. Now, however, this story of what happens to the believer is interpreted independently of the logic of Christian belief, so that it becomes an account of what has to happen before one can hold any Christian beliefs at all. (Tanner 252)

She believes that Christianity is losing its facticity, its objectivity, and its reality. She believes that the focus on the human apprehension and response to Jesus is removing its truth value. She is a proponent of what George Vass calls a “self-conservative” theology, while Rahner and others are of the “self-creative” type. Vass writes that the “self-creative” creeds move towards “being open to development by subsequent generations in line with their own situation and mentality” (2). This what is radical about Rahner’s theology. While those like Tanner propose a more stagnant way of looking at God and Christ, Rahner proposes an evolutionary theology. It is always moving and renewing itself because it rests on the shoulder’s of the people that matter: average Christians.

Tanner wonders whether or not Christianity has lost its prima facie plausibility in these modern times. What Tanner tends to lose sight of is that the origin and truth of Christianity lies with the people that participate in it. Karl Rahner’s Christology is a step in the right direction. It gives some of the power back to the individual. It is a theology that literally is in the eye of the beholder. Because of this, Rahner’s Christology seems even more reasonable than those forged out of the classical conception of reason. It rests upon something that cannot be criticized or dissected. It rests upon personal faith.

Bibliography

Dych, William V. Karl Rahner. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1992.

Kilby, Karen, Karl Rahner. London: Fount, 1997.

Rahner, Karl. Foundations of Christian Faith. Trans. William V Dych. London: Darton, 1978.

Tanner, Kathryn. “Jesus Christ.” The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. ed. Colin Gunton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Vass, George. A Theologian in Search of a Philosophy - Understanding Karl Rahner. London: Sheed and Ward, 1985.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Onion Headlines #2


Roommate's Toenails Far Grosser to Find at Bottom of Beer Than Cigarette Butts

Finding the Right Person Just Like "Deal or No Deal"


I Think the "Objective" Part of Resumes Is Really, Really Gay

Area Man Not Concerned With Latest Grey's Anatomy Plot Twist

It's Fucking Impossible to Get a Job at The Onion

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Upright Citizen's Brigade Sketch #2

Scene is in an office. The boss, Robert, stands at the door and the prospective employee, Jimmy, has just entered.


Robert

I trust your trip went well and that you found us alright, Jimmy. I’m glad you could make it up here.

Jimmy

The snow falls hard and don't you know?

Robert

Yes, well we have some hard winters up here in Caribou. But we don’t let the weather get in the way of being the best stair-makers in the northern half of Maine.

Jimmy

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,

And my spirit is crying for leaving.

Robert

Well…now…that’s quite poetic. What we can offer you – a new place to live; a new place for your family. We have a really tight community up here and I’m sure you’ll fit in nicely. Come on over here and have a seat. Both men move to Robert’s desk. Let me get your resume out, here. Checks resume. Okay, that’s right so how was the levee business in Illinois?

Jimmy

If you're goin' down South

They go no work to do,

If you don't know about Chicago.

Robert

Well, there’s always work to be done here at Heavenly Stairways. We can offer you a weekly paycheck and a nice community to raise your kids in. I just need to know that you’re a hardworking craftsman. Levees are different from stairs.

Jimmy

Every day I work so hard, bringin' home my hard earned pay.

Robert

I believe you – I mean it says here that you used to haul sticks around on your back. I just need you to know that this job can require long hours.

Jummy

Working from seven to eleven every night,

It really makes life a drag, I don't think that's right.

Robert

Well, you may have to work that long when we’re under contract, but you have a family to provide for – don’t you?

Jimmy

Now I got ten children of my own

I got another child on the way that makes eleven.

Robert

Wow, holy moly. I do have one more really important question for you. If I hire you – are you going to continue to talk only in Led Zeppelin lyrics?

Jimmy

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,

Now I've reached that age, I've tried to do all those things the best I can.

Robert

Ok, see right there. That one didn’t exactly relate to the question that I asked you. That’s the problem. Led Zeppelin lyrics can’t express every thing that’s going on in your mind. I mean, for Christ’s sakes, the first three albums are pretty much all about women breaking men’s hearts. The only way you’ll be able to use those ones is if your wife breaks up with you.

Jimmy

Didn't take too long 'fore I found out, what people mean my down and out.

Spent my money, took my car, started telling her friends she wants to be a star.

Robert

Not to mention that most of “Presence,” “In Through the Out Door,” and “Coda” are unusable. I mean, those albums were all sub-par.

Jimmy

I wonder if you know what I'm talkin' about.

Robert

Touché. A “Coda” lyric. But, don’t you see? It simply can’t last forever.

Jimmy

The song remains the same.

Robert

I can see that this is going to be harder than I thought. Oh, man…this is hard.

I’ve never told anybody this, but for a time in the mid 1970s, I used to speak only in Yes lyrics. I can’t help the feeling that we’re connected somehow. You’re hired!

Jimmy

I don't know what it is that I like about you, but I like it a lot.

Robert

See yourself - You are the steps you take - You and you - and that's the only way.