On the decline and fall of discourse
1 hour ago
Where Religion, Philosophy and Demographics Meet
The best way I know to give “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” the heartfelt praise it deserves is to acknowledge that I’m anything but a scholar in this field. As a late arrival to the J.R.R. Tolkien canon, I tried my best to keep track of all the characters, intricacies, symbols, nuances, layers and interconnections in Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films, but it wasn’t easy.
...One of the signal achievements of Mr. Jackson and his myriad colleagues in this film is maintaining not only a sense of momentousness but of individual purpose, crisis and tragedy. Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins, touching as ever, is an observer of Thorin’s madness, up to a point; when he finally intercedes, it’s with courage and thrilling clarity. Other stalwarts of the series are present and vividly accounted for: Ian McKellen’s Gandalf; Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel and, especially moving for devotees of genre films, Christopher Lee’s Saruman. The six films in Mr. Jackson’s two trilogies have come to constitute a genre unto itself—peerless fantasy, flawlessly rendered.He has not, in other words, read the books. Which of these last mentioned "stalwarts of the series" do not belong in The Hobbit? Which one is cut from whole cloth? Mr. Morgenstern doesn't know, and his review slips into a strange alternate world in which Peter Jackson's computer-generated padding, every moment built up into an epic confrontation completely unmoored from the raison d'etre of its source, becomes the standard of cinematic accomplishment:
The dragon is, of course, born of bits and bytes. The same goes for the contending armies of this climactic tale, in which the races of dwarves, elves and men must unite against a common enemy if Middle-earth is to have a future. Indeed, much of “The Battle of the Five Armies,” like the films that preceded it, could qualify as an animated feature, but that magnifies the awe, rather than diminishes it as in the case of so many middling attractions that depend on mediocre technology. The computer-generated effects here are executed so gorgeously—my favorite is a battle on the ice—and intertwined with such stirring live action, that the film as a whole is seamless, quite astonishing and deeply satisfying.I have better things to do than watch Jackson's stapled and mutilated orc-goblins rampage across a three-story screen laying waste to the remnants of Tolkien's plot, but Darwin will go see it with the guys. Then he'll come back and tell me strange tales, just as he did last year with the second Hobbit movie, when I was nine months pregnant and bedridden, listening in wonder as my husband babbled the most arrant nonsense at me and claimed it was the plot. I had the strangest deja vu, a memory of a child trying to make sense of a book too big for her, trying desperately to hold to an unfamiliar path, only in this case the familiar path had been bulldozed into a smooth triumph of technology, gleaming and senseless.
I. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence. Why? It is essential in order for us to be able to collaboratively work together to find common solutions to pressing world problems.
II. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true. Why? We're more likely to believe what we wish to be true over what we wish not to be true, regardless of veracity. If we’re interested in learning the truth, then we need to actively separate our beliefs from our desires.
III. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world. Why? Every time humans have questions this method is used to solve them. If we don't know, we don't know but instead of making up the answer we use this method to reach a conclusion/answer.
IV. Every person has the right to control over their body. Why? This includes a person"s right to not be murdered, raped, imprisoned without just cause (violating another person's rights), kidnapped, attacked, tortured, etc. This also protects a person's freedom of speech and freedom to dress and represent themselves as they so choose.
V. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life. Why? When one does a good deed it isn't because God tells one to do a good deed, but because one simply wants to be good person. As Human beings we are capable of defining our own, different, meanings for our lives, with or without a god.
VI. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them. Why? It may sound obvious, but negligence and refusal to take responsibility are an immense source of harm in the world, from interpersonal relations to Global issues.
VII. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective. Why? If everyone did their best to carry this out as far as it can go, everyone would get along much better.
VIII. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations. Why? As human beings, we have great power. As Voltaire noted "With great power comes great responsibility." To not consider others would be selfish and petty. We have demonstrated the ability to be magnanimous, are rapidly becoming more so, and will be even more so in the near future.
IX. There is no one right way to live. Why? If you look, even a little, you find many cultures living in moral societies that are fundamentally different, with only a few very basic principles being adhered to between them. Just because one group is different, does not mean they are wrong.
X. Leave the world a better place than you found it. Why? The Japanese concept of Kaizen teaches that small incremental improvements can have a profound effect over time. We should all strive to leave the world better than we found it be it through relieving the suffering of others, creating works of art, or passing along knowledge.
On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, at approximately 5:14 P.M., uniformed patrol officers in marked vehicles answered a Robbery call at a business located at 4807 Maple Avenue. As detectives and uniformed officers were searching the wooded area near the shopping center, the W/M/48 suspect was located. The suspect reached down, as if retrieving a weapon and one uniformed officer fired one round at the suspect missing him.
The suspect was not injured.
Suspect was armed with an airsoft handgun.
The suspect was charged with Robbery.
No officer was injured.
One officer fired 1 round. Involved Officer: W/M 2 years, 6 months service.
On Sunday, March 10, 2013, at approximately 12:29 A.M., uniformed patrol officers in marked vehicles, responded to a Major Disturbance Emergency at 3303 Southern Oaks Boulevard. A witness gave a description a former roommate to the officer and stated that the B/M/35 suspect had kicked in the door to her apartment earlier in the day and then returned and refused to leave. The officer located the suspect at which time the suspect began physically assaulting the officer. The officer deployed his Taser on the suspect, but it did not stop the assault. The suspect began choking the officer, with his hands from behind and lifting him off the ground. The officer fired his weapon at the suspect striking him.
The suspect was pronounced deceased at Baylor Hospital.
Suspect used his hands to choke the officer.
The officer was injured.
One officer fired 9 rounds. Involved Officer: W/M 4 years, 8 months service.
On Sunday, August 10, 2014, at approximately 6:03 P.M., a uniformed officer working off-duty at an Extended Neighborhood Patrol assignment driving a marked vehicle responded to a call regarding a W/M/26 walking along 100 N. Windomere Avenue making lewd comments to women. The officer located the suspect and began following him waiting for additional officers to arrive. The suspect was walking in the street at 400 S. Rosemont Avenue when an approaching vehicle occupied with a family stopped. The suspect attempted to enter their vehicle at which time the officer exited his vehicle and pointed his firearm at the suspect while issuing verbal commands. The suspect then charged the officer who fired his weapon. The suspect was struck five times. The suspect was pronounced deceased at Methodist Hospital. Suspect was unarmed.
No officer was injured.
One officer fired 5 rounds. Involved Officer: L/M 7 years, 3 months service.
On Thursday, August 21, 2014, at approximately 6:40 P.M., an off-duty officer in plainclothes, was on his way to a family function when he observed an altercation at 4800 Veterans Drive. A female victim was shot in the face while stopped at the intersection by a B/M/20 suspect. The officer then acted to stop the continued aggravated assault on the victim. The officer fired his weapon striking the suspect one
The suspect was injured and transported to Methodist Central Hospital.
Suspect was armed with a .357 magnum revolver which was reported stolen out of Fort Worth Texas.
The suspect was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. The victim survived her injuries.
No officer was injured.
One officer fired 3 rounds. Involved Officer: L/M 3 years, 1 month service.
If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME.
It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.
When you're finished, post this paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.