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Thursday

In response to Disney's flirting with the line.

I was reading a fellow English 251 student's blog questioning the lines that are drawn. I don't think she was wrong in her thoughts, or her conversation with her mom, but I don't like the connection that is drawn between Ariel's selfish behavior, and the use of mistakes and repentance in the bible to show the power of redemption and pain.
I think one of the main differences between the bible and the people screwing up in the bible, and Disney's portrayal of incorrect behavior, is that the bible focuses on the bad behavior and labels it as incorrect. I'm not saying we shouldn't watch Disney, because if we limit ourselves that much we probably will have nothing to discuss, but I don't feel that the Little Mermaid and the story of David and Beth-sheba are adequate similes for one another.
In the Little Mermaid Ariel does anything and everything to get her way, and we celebrate it. David does the same thing in the bible, and we condemn him. There seems to be a disconnect in the idea that if we are going to accomplish our goals, nothing should stand in our way, not family, not honesty, nothing, and we only celebrate that if it's accompanied with singing fish.
Disney's The Little Mermaid shouldn't be banned from schools and taken out of a families' personal film collection, but I don't think Ariel should be glorified for being obstinate either.

Wednesday

The Song of Cummings

This poem kept reminding me of Songs of Solomon, and seeing as how I just posted a diatribe on the Songs I thought I should publish the updated and sweeter sounding version.

I carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

E.E. Cummings

Another Old Testament Post

I’m becoming too fascinated with the Old Testament. I refer back to it every time I read something else. I guess the most popular book in the history of the world probably has enough insights in it to fill a blog for a semester, so maybe it’s not the end of the world.

I read the Songs of Solomon the other day, and I had an insight that changed the way I saw the book. Here is a book that we largely ignore because of how erotic it seems. We’ve come up with ways to take the edge off of the apparent love poems between a husband and a wife, insisting that it was instead a metaphor for the relationship between Israel and God, but I don’t buy that. I think it is exactly what it seems to be, an erotic love poem. The problem is that we just don’t talk about that in the society I grew up in. You barely talk about it with your parents, you certainly don’t discuss it with your friends, and you never ever talk about it with people of the opposite sex.

We show sex as object lessons of ink dying an entire jar of water, or putting a nail into a piece of wood. Something that is bad and disgusting and ugly and should not be mentioned. And then one day you get married and sealed in the temple, and all of the sudden all bets are off and not only is it no longer ugly and gross, but it is something that you are expected to understand. There is something wrong with that, can’t we address sex the same way we talk about baptism or receiving your endowment? It seems that it should be a beautiful, wonderful, incredible experience that brings you closer to Heavenly Father under the right authority. I would probably be frustrated if I saw two 17 year olds pretending to baptize one another, but I wouldn’t tell them that baptism is disgusting or gross. The Songs of Solomon seem to try to walk that line. Expressing and showing that this is a beautiful moment for a married couple, but it should only occur within that bond.

I still don’t think I’ll be comfortable if my Dad tries to give me a sex talk, I’ve gone 24 years being uncomfortable talking about it, but at least now I know where to turn in the scriptures for a little guidance on the matter. Maybe that will be a FHE evening one night with my future wife.

The rise and fall of Esther

After writing the previous post I returned my thoughts to the Old Testament story of Esther. Esther, I think is one of those stories that is oft told in young women’s’ classes as a way to empower and encourage chaste young women to have faith and everything will work out. That at least is the way I viewed the story for a long time, but after reading night, and reading the story of Esther a little more critically then I would have in the past, it seems that the author of Esther was using Haman and Mordecai to contrast one another. With the rise of power of Mordecai, the uncle of Esther, Haman loses his stranglehold on the King. This is the part of the story that normally we cheer and give thanks that the good guys one, but when I started comparing the two characters a little more carefully, I wasn’t sure if I should be cheering for either one.

Both Haman and Mordecai share a number of similarities. They control the king through indirect power (Mordecai controls through Esther, Haman controls through the previous queen), they order the slaughter of the opposing character’s people (Mordecai succeeds in slaughtering the sons and daughters and followers of Haman), they both manipulate the king to carry out their orders, they both become de facto rulers of the region, they encourage the king to use capital punishment to enforce their proposed laws, and neither of them attribute their power to God. Mordecai no longer appears as the Abel to the Cain of Haman, maybe they were both just power hungry, maybe it’s just a metaphor, maybe the good thing to do is sometimes too similar to the wrong thing for me to distinguish.

The rise and fall of Haman and Mordecai, that’s what I think I’ll refer to Esther as from now on.

The Beatles, one of them, maybe

I’ve been stuck on Moishe the Beadle for some time now, ever since reading Elie Wiesel’s night. Here is a character that comes into the story at the beginning, appears headed for an important role in the story, and then disappears, never to really be seen again once he leaves for the second time. Wiesel’s night is filled with characters who are intimately involved in his development as a person, and a number of actors who affect his relationship with God, himself and his father. Moishe though seems to be a foil for Eliezer’s father. When the relationship between Elie and his father is weak, Eliezer turns to Moishe and looks for the support and love that he craves. Moishe returns that love and interest, and even offers to work with Eliezer to understand the holy writ that his Father doesn’t want Eliezer to touch. Moishe is offering himself up as a proxy to that father that Eliezer so desperately desires as a fifteen year old boy. Once the relationship with his Dad strengthens, Eliezer no longer has a need to continue his understanding thoughts and insights that Moishe offers. Here is where they diverge, when Moishe is fully aware of the doom that is to come to Eliezer he leaves, whereas the cold and understanding father stays with Eliezer throughout. Part of him staying may have been because he had no escape, but in contrast to Moise the Beadle, when the father finally leaves the picture for good, it is the end of Eliezer, it is the end of his story. Moishe seems to be just a contrasting relationship with the relationship that Eliezer has with his father. It is this contrast that gives the newly developed father relationship so much life, and so much purpose. Moishe is a surface relationship, and Eliezer seeks a deeper one, and finds it, with his father.

Magic Chocolate

I went to the grocery store yesterday and while wandering about the massive aisles of baking good found the magical chocolate that is controlled by mothers everywhere. My mom was particularly good at transforming good tasty chocolate that went into pudding and cake and cookies, and then when you would sneak into the big blocks of chocolate in the middle of the night, and grab a piece, they would lose all of their sweetness. I don't understand that chocolate.

Paisley

I don't understand the word paisley, is it a color? I thought it was, I thought is was one of those colors that men are never supposed to really understand or know what the women are talking about when she says that she wore paisley pants the other day. Normally it's my job just to comment on the alliteration of the comment, and not to actually understand what it means. I'm less sure that it's a color now, and possibly think that it's more of a shape, you know the awkward almost tear drop shape that is prevalent on ties. If the latter is the case I need to learn the meaning of the word, for while knowing the many shades of the color pink is definitely not required to be a successful father, knowing the various shapes and types of ties is requisite for having sons.

Type scenes

I've been thinking about type-scenes recently. Those scenes in books that repeat themselves oft, and the most meaning that you get from them is when comparing them to one another and noticing the difference. This fascination started while reading the Old Testament and comparing it to the Book of Mormon, and seeing the patterns and consistency in both. The type scene that I'm curious about right now though is the manifestation of a member of the Godhead. There seems to be a recurring pattern in the scriptures when it occurs, and likely it would extend beyond the Bible and the Book of Mormon. There is a period of introspection, usually associated with worthiness or reflection on the words of a prophet who had come before. There is a resolve to go out and seek an answer. This resolve is met by a small confirmation. The Heavenly Messenger appears, and declares their intentions. The prophet asks the question, and then not only receives an answer, but then proceeds to go on a quest. The quest results in the prophet being called on a journey to be a great help to those around him, and the manifestation closes. Following the manifestation there is often a period of recovery and reflection, and then the prophet goes and declares the word.
As I was thinking about this type-scene, I couldn't help but realize that it bore a close resemblance to the hero's journey. Too many connections, too many cool applications.
English classes are totally interfering with my normally mind wandering scripture study.

The date of no longer official singleness (official means legally)