The Social Network

10/01/2010 Comments (4)

“Every creation myth needs a devil,” a sympathetic attorney tells Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, in the last scene of David Fincher’s dazzling, engrossing The Social Network. It’s a slyly subversive line, simultaneously summing up and calling into question much of the interpretation of events we’ve seen over the last two hours—and it gains another twist when you know that the line was neither dreamed up by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin nor copied from life, but was first uttered by a Facebook executive after reading the screenplay.

If The Social Network is a creation myth for the era of Facebook, what does it tell us about the world in which we live, the people we have become? As...READ MORE

Filed under movies, reviews, social media

Babies on DVD!

09/28/2010 Comments (7)

I’m not sure, but I think that Babies is the only movie this year that I’ve already seen three times. (Movies I’ve seen twice include Inception and Iron Man 2, the latter of which arrives on DVD today.) The first time was my initial screening. After it opened, I brought my whole family to see it in the theater—and we were joined by friends from church—another family with six kids, so there were sixteen of us in all. (We were easily the majority of people in the theater.) And last week I received an advance DVD screener, and my whole family sat down and watched it again. (My second viewing of Iron Man 2 was also via advance screener, watching with Suzanne, who hadn’t seen it in theaters. Suz...READ MORE

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The Politics of Desecration: Burning the Flag

09/17/2010 Comments (2)

Chicago Cubs veteran Rick Monday makes the most famous play of his career, snatching a flag from a pair of would-be flag burners in 1976.

Continued from “The Politics of Blasphemy: Offending Others as Free Speech.”

Burning the American flag was the favored form of protest last week for many Muslim demonstrators in the Middle East responding to Terry Jones’s Quran-burning scheme—a desecration for a desecration, as it were. While Jones himself eventually canceled his plans, his calls for an “International Burn a Koran Day” did result in a small number of lightly reported copycat incidents. Among these, Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church—a hate group even smaller and more virulent than Jones’ church—reportedly planned to mark September 11 by burning both a Quran and an American flag.

In current US law and jurisprudence,...READ MORE

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“Dude, you HAVE no Quran!”

09/14/2010 Comments (41)

This morning I blogged on the overwhelming Christian repudiation of Quran burning involving everyone from the Vatican and the USCCB to the Patriarch of Jerusalem to Evangelical luminaries like Franklin Graham, Rick Warren and Chuck Colson. “Outrageous and grave,” “contrary to the respect due to all religions,” “contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ,” “insensitive,” and “foolish and cowardly” were among the many words that world Christian leaders addressed to would-be Quran burners.

Jacob Isom, a 23-year-old skateboarding enthusiast from Amarillo, Texas, had something more succinct to say: “Dude, you have no Quran!”

The facts seem to be these. Isom, a skateboarding enthusiast, came...READ MORE

Filed under islam, tolerance

Quran burning: The Christian world says NO

09/14/2010 Comments (20)

One gratifying thing that came out of Terry Jones’s much-publicized plans to burn Qurans on September 11: The world, including the Muslim world, saw all of Christendom stand up and speak with one voice universally rejecting this provocation against Muslims.

Most significantly, of course, the Vatican condemned Quran burning as “outrageous” and “grave”—language that was repeatedly reported by Qatar-based Al Jazeera. The Arab-language news agency also ran a photo of Pakistan’s National Council of Churches marching with banners condemning Jones’s threat.

The Vatican’s denunciation was echoed by Catholic leaders around the world. In India, the archbishop of Mumbai and president of the...READ MORE

Filed under islam, tolerance

Cordoba House: NO mosque near Ground Zero? Part 2

09/10/2010 Comments (16)

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The situation is changing faster than I can blog it! (See my previous series of posts on Cordoba House.)

  • In addition to his recent piece in The New York Times, Imam Rauf has also given an interview on “Larry King Live” that may shed more light on his intentions.
  • Yesterday events took a surreally farcical turn as the two big Islam-related controversies in the news (each of which I’ve been trying to blog separately) converged as Terry Jones, pastor of the tiny Florida church that has threatened to burn Qur’ans on 9/11, implausibly announced that he had spoken to Rauf and had agreed not to burn the Qur’ans—in exchange for Rauf’s promise to relocate Cordoba House. No one with an...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: NO mosque near Ground Zero?

09/09/2010 Comments (29)

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The situation around Ground Zero may be changing somewhat since I wrote my mega-post series on Cordoba House a few weeks ago.

There will be, it now seems, no “9/11 mosque,” or even “close to 9/11 mosque.” In fact, it looks like there will be no mosque at all. In spite of what the official websites of the Cordoba Initiative and the Park51 project once said, changes in the websites and a new statement by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf indicate a different trajectory for the project.

Whether this a change in tack or a clarification of intent is not entirely clear. Not long ago, as I documented, the Cordoba Initiative and Park51 websites both indicated that the planned facility would include...READ MORE

Filed under ground zero, islam, mosque

The Politics of Blasphemy: Offending Others as Free Speech

09/08/2010 Comments (42)

Blasphemy is in the air, it seems. The last day of September will mark the second annual “International Blasphemy Day,” so designated by the Center For Inquiry, a think tank that promotes science and secularism. Meanwhile, you don’t have to wait till then to find numerous YouTube videos featuring desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. In Spain, as Pat Archbold blogged yesterday, a priest struck a young man for desecrating the Eucharist. The fisticuff made headlines; otherwise, it would be just another desecration.

September 30 was chosen for International Blasphemy Day to commemorate the 2005 publication of controversial cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005, and the protests...READ MORE

Filed under blasphemy, islam

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About SDG

Steven D. Greydanus
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Deacon Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register, creator of Decent Films, and a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark. With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. Steven has degrees in media arts and religious studies, and has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. Steven and his wife Suzanne have seven children.