Comings and Goings

by Kieran Healy on August 12, 2003

So I’m working away this afternoon (not blogging, no sir), getting ready to make a quick trip to Atlanta for the American Sociological Association’s annual meetings and this guy comes in the door…

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Bad Movie

by Kieran Healy on August 12, 2003

Amitai Etzioni has an odd post about the supposedly pernicious effects of The Matrix on impressionable young minds. It’s about four fans of the movie (and presumably its atrocious sequel) who committed violent crimes and talked afterwards about their obsession with the film. One guy shot his parents to death with a 12-gauge shotgun. “[Josh] Cooke’s lawyer characterized his client as “obsessed” with the Matrix, and supported the appointment of a psychiatrist to determine whether Cooke was sane when he committed the murders.”

The post doesn’t have anything in the way of analysis, it just invites you to blame the film for the crimes. Important bits of information (e.g. “whether Cooke was sane”) don’t seem to me to get the kind of weight they deserve. It wasn’t as if the guy beat his victims to death with the the DVD case, either — there’s that shotgun he had.

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Raining on the Brights

by Jon Mandle on August 12, 2003

The Chronicle of Higher Education (sorry, subscription required) asked Stanley Hauerwas and two other people to comment on the “Brights“. Hauerwas was withering:

Quite frankly, I find the kinds of things that Dennett is saying to be remarkably stupid for such a smart man. He says that what we [sic] brights represent is the denial of all supernatural explanations — well, when did he get the idea that Christianity and Judaism are about supernaturalism? That has very little to do with classical Christian convictions… The brights just don’t know dip about classical Christian theology…. It never occurs to them that we are looking at a 2,000-year-old tradition, and it takes a hell of a lot of study to even begin to think you know what you’re talking about, and yet they think that they can sound off because they’re pretty sure it’s about supernaturalism. Give me a break.

That sounded somewhat reasonable to me, since I certainly don’t know dip about classical Christian theology. But I began to have my doubts when I saw the notable Christian theologian Karol Wojtyla’s solution to the European heat wave: “I exhort all to raise to the Lord fervent entreaties so that He may grant the relief of rain to the thirsty Earth.”