I'm politically conservative, but I read Indy Weekly when I can because I'm entertained by how predictable it is on certain issues.
Movie reviewing is inherently subjective, but "Soul Surfer" is a much better film than Kathy Justice of Indy Week suggests, and one big clue that she wasn't paying attention is that her mini review mistakenly locates the action of the film in the Hawaiian island of Maui. In fact, as the film makes clear via dialog and cinematography, its events take place in Kauai (where the Hamiltons live) and Oahu (whose North Shore hosts legendary surfing contests).
Given Bethany Hamilton's inherent toughness, some of which is captured in the committed performance by AnnaSophia Robb, it's also wrong to dismiss the inspiring Hamilton story as "syrupy" or lacking in broad appeal. You don't lose an arm to a shark at Halloween and resume a professional surfing career by Thanksgiving of the same year just by going to an open-air church and singing Christian hymns along with Carrie Underwood.
Kathy Justice thinks the film's dialog is "shaky," but to me it sounded real. That's not to say that it was great, but evangelical Christians really do talk like that, and to its credit, the movie never got preachy. If you walk into this movie looking for artful profanity or some David Mamet-style zinger like "Coffee is for closers, " you'll be disappointed, but then you've only yourself to blame. On the other hand, if you take "Soul Surfer" on its own terms, it's a move that will stick with you for all the right reasons.
If Crowther went to Florida on the IndyWeek expense account, somebody needs to do an audit, stat. The man's just phoning it in, again.
You'd think that a guy who has been writing for as many years as he has would know better than to spend something like 3.000 words on an "ad hominem" argument. Crowther can't write even an opening sentence without insulting people who don't agree with him. Think ill of the famously bearded cigar smoker with Cuba under his thumb? You must be "Castrophobic." It's a medical condition, doncha know. And let's just stipulate that Republicans trawl for "America's least intelligent, least compassionate" voters. Even Crowther's asides are venomous, as witness the sophomoric dig at a "tea party primate."
Crowther's schtick depends on insulting conservatives and attacking straw men, to the exclusion of anything else. Who besides him ever annointed Rush LImbaugh "the pontiff and the prophet Isaiah"? That's not satire; that's laziness. It's also par for the course for pundits who persist in believing Al Gore's fable of the "stolen election."
Hey, Crowther-- if you really distrust Democrats, how about looking into some of what the Chicago political machine has been doing for our current president? And if you really think the ideal politician is a cross between Bernie Saunders and Ron Paul, then my advice for you comes right out of "Ghostbusters": Don't let the streams cross!
@Tacitus: Karl Marx thought his ideology was scientific. Mao did too, in spite of his murderous dislike for intellectuals. And while I'll grant that Darwin actually was a scientist, his groudbreaking theories still had gaps he couldn't explain, as he himself admitted. He deserves to be lumped with Marx, Mao, and Carson in this context because his "On the Origin of Species", however scientific it alleged itself to be, nevertheless became a touchstone in the ensuing culture wars. That meets Crowther's definition of "polarizing" as much as anything by Ayn Rand.
Crowther started with a faulty premise, as he usually does, by torturing an aside from Rep. Paul Ryan until "influenced by the writing of Ayn Rand" morphed into "worships Ayn Rand, together with everyone else on the political right." What a load of horse pucky!
For what it's worth, I'm politically conservative and I agree with the criticisms of Rand leveled here. Her books are practically unreadable.
Unlike Hal Crowther, however, I don't think Paul Krugman has rebutted anything about tea party economics. Krugman wants his Nobel Prize to obscure his service to Enron and his laughable allegiance to falied Keynesian policies, but some of us are less than dazzled.
Moreover, if you want to start a bar argument about the "most polarizing book ever written," Rand's magnum opus would have serious competition. Does "Das Kapital" ring any bells? How about "On the Origin of Species" or Mao's "Little Red Book" or even "Silent Spring"?
Crowther's main problem as an essayist is that he's much better at slinging invective than at making a coherent argument. Being over seventy isn't a license to demonize the tea party, even if some of what they say would have given pause to dear old dad.
I can remember when journalists in most newsrooms referred to Barry Lynn as the "Reverend" Barry Lynn, but I wouldn't consider him a go-to guy for articles like this one. Contrary to his assertion (echoed uncritically in this article), the First Amendment has no "ban on the establishment of religion" by the government. The only thing the relevant clause in the First Amendment does is forbid Congress from establishing a national church.
It wasn't long ago that Bob Geary alluded to officially sanctioned havens for Quakers in Pennsylvania, Catholics in Maryland, and Presbyterians here in North Carolina. Are we now to believe that all of those things were unconstitutional?
Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas are among those who would take issue with Barry Lynn's unsourced assertion that fifty years ago, the Constitution was a "living document." That all three men are punching bags for progressive pundits is irrelevant, because they know law and history at least as well as Barry Lynn does.
Even the fear of Christians who are "anti-science" is overblown. True, that "Ark Park" thing in Kentucky may become a haven for kooky "Young Earth" creationists, but far more often the alleged "anti-science" bias that Lynn and his ilk fret about is what happens when school boards finally cop to the fact that Darwinian macro-evolution is a theory with significant empirical difficulties, and so decide to teach "Intelligent Design" along with it. That's not "anti-science," that's inclusivity.
Would it have been so hard to bring some of that out rather than perform what reads like a minimal rewrite on a press release from the so-called "freethinkers"?
I'm happy for Miller because her show is or was outselling Al Pacino, but I'm not sure that says good things about our culture. On the one hand, a comedienne and talk show host of fair-to-middling accomplishment. On the other hand, arguably the world's greatest actor, making the kind of appearance he almost never makes. Notwithstanding the shameless cheerleading for Miller from writer Danny Hooley, if those ticket sale numbers were anything other than an anomaly, it might be time to revisit cultural critique.
I think Fellerath missed what self-styled conservatives would call the most obvious point, namely, public rejection of the nihilism and moral equivalence in the current crop of war movies.
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