No, Trump is Not Better Than Hillary or Bernie

This whole country’s just like my flock of sheep! Rednecks, crackers, hillbillies, hausfraus… They’re mine! I own ’em! They think like I do. Only they’re even more stupid than I am, so I gotta think for ’em. — Lonesome Rhodes, A Face in the Crowd

The final Republican debate will be airing on FOX tonight, but Donald Trump has taken his ball and gone home, citing moderator Megyn Kelly as the reason why. As per his usual practice of boldly, graciously engaging with his detractors, he has done so only after trying to browbeat FOX into removing Kelly instead. That is, if you believe FOX’s own press report, which I do, partly because it’s not the first time Trump has reportedly engaged in these kind of backstage intimidation tactics. While he was at it, why didn’t he just make Miss Kelly an offer she couldn’t refuse? I say this as somebody who’s not even a big fan of Kelly myself. But she does not deserve this kind of treatment from a man who can only be described as a boor, a coward and a bully.

If Republican America cannot wake up to this fact now, then I fear they never will. But what I am about to say must be said, and it must be said loud and clear, even to those who do not support Trump now but would doggedly vote for him in the general, because “at least he’s better than Hillary or Bernie.” So hear me now: No. He. Is. Not.

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Debunking The Myth of Simplistic Old Movies

It's a Wonderful Life, on the bridge still
Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life

It was C. S. Lewis who first coined the phrase “chronological snobbery.” This is the belief that the ideas, writing, and art of the past are outdated or irrelevant to “the now.” Chronological snobbery takes many forms. Sadly, it can even be found in the evangelical church, particularly when it comes to old-fashioned forms of worship.

Another form it takes in popular culture is the snide dismissal of old-fashioned cinema. My generation views old movies as stuffy and phony, full of goody-two-shoes and sappy happy endings. As far as they’re concerned, old movies are for old people. Old, politically incorrect, white people, to throw in a few more modifiers.

I submit this as yet further evidence that my generation has no clue what it’s talking about when it talks about movies, art, or culture.

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A Far More Pleasing Countenance

…Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds

Or bends with the remover to remove

Oh no, it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken…

— Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Alan Rickman in Sense and Sensibility

It’s been a bad year so far for 69-year-old British celebrities. David Bowie and Alan Rickman have both gone to their final reward in quick succession, prompting numerous fan tributes. For Rickman, many moviegoers love and remember him as Snape in Harry Potter. Myself, I am most partial to his turn as Colonel Brandon in the Ang Lee adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. He brought such sweetness and wisdom to the part, providing a deliberate contrast to the dashing but untrustworthy Mr. Willoughby. He is almost painfully self-effacing, but as the story unfolds, he emerges as its true hero. In a culture that has long lost all conception of love and honor towards women, Jane Austen’s classic tale and Brandon’s role in it are well worth revisiting.

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On Bing Crosby and the Sexual Revolution


Bing Crosby public domain image

Few voices are as inimitable or instantly recognizable as that of Bing Crosby. Warm, yet cool, he defined an American generation, and he remains one of the best-selling pop singers of all time.

In 1977, Bing Crosby gave his last televised interview. The interviewer, Barbara Walters, was known for asking prying, uncomfortable questions. She chose to leave no stone un-turned when it came to interrogating Bing about culture, morality, and its connection to his own family. Walters maintains a pleasant tone throughout, but it is clear that she saw herself as one of the cultural elite, while Crosby represented a generation whose cultural influence was gradually slipping away.

However, if she expected to one-up or throw off the Crooner King, she was sadly mistaken. And thanks to YouTube, we can see for ourselves just how mistaken she was.

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My Top 10 Gospel Songs of 2015

Top 10 SG Songs Album Cover collage

Christmas break has afforded me the pleasure of picking through the best of the best in 2015’s new southern gospel releases. I was able to review some of the albums these songs come from within a reasonable period of the time they came out, but alas, not all. Looking on the bright side, this meant I got to discover some great songs for the first time just as I was preparing this top ten list.

As usual, I have avoided including covers and traditional hymns, focusing on the best material that was brand new to 2015. Thankfully, many talented writers turned in some of their best work this year, including a new talent named Rachel McCutcheon. She co-wrote three out of ten of these songs, the highest single percentage of any contributing writer on this list. Other “double-dippers” include Kenna Turner West and Tony Wood. Most people probably wouldn’t recognize Tony by name, but I learned a lot about the craft of CCM songwriting from him growing up, especially through the songs he wrote with Scott Krippayne back in the 90s. I’m glad to see that he’s found an avenue through which he can continue to turn out songs.

Below the fold, I’ll provide a countdown of the songs with some bits of lyric and comments, then at the end, a playlist for your listening pleasure. Thanks to all the talented artists and writers who reminded me why I keep coming back to this music!

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