I've watched two documentaries over the past few days. Both have given me insight and have made me want to delve further into their subjects, but only one of them made me a bit... well, a angry is not the right word. It's also not for reasons I would have first thought of. I'll be writing more detailed reviews and findings after I've had some time to step away and look at them more objectively and complete some personal research and investigations. For now, though, my initial thoughts:
Religulous was up first, Bill Maher's exploration of religion. To be honest, I was expecting it to be a lot more incendiary than it was. However, Maher was really a nice guy to everyone he met, even though he'd try to poke them into a bit of healthy debate. He mostly focussed on asking questions. I also learned that many deities actually share a lot in common with Jesus Christ; more than I had realized.
Tonight, I watched Ben Stein's Expelled, which is about Intelligent Design. I'll be honest: I was expecting to be really angered by this film.While I think the use of the imagery of the Berlin wall and Nazi Germany was more than a tad heavy-handed, they did seem to have a point and made sense within the Intelligent Design arguments. Great pains were taken at the beginning of the film to separate ID from Creationism. That ID did not have to be viewed from a religious perspective, and was merely proposing that life was kickstarted, or designed as it were, by some form of intelligence. This, I thought, could be plausible. I would love for the stigma to fade and allow research in this arena. It was towards the end of the film that I became angry. That's when the previous statements that religion (or specifically, Judeo-Christian) did not have to be involved in ID... well, they were blatantly ignored, in favor of capital "g" God being that specific intelligent designer. This, I think, detracted from the whole film.
As stated above, I'm going to do a bit of research on my own and take a step back before I write a proper blog post about either film.
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And now, some snippets about life in general:
On Saturday, My friend Rach, her boyfriend Mark and I attended our first roller derby bout. It was a battle royale between the London Roller Girls and the UK Allstars (a team made up of the best derby girls from the rest of the country). London won by quite a margin (they have been at it longer than everyone else), but the Allstars received the most cheers by far (perhaps this was because were were in High Wycombe and not London). It was great to actually see the sport in action outside of practice jams. Now I just need to get the hang of skating... more practice!
Today marks one year that I've lived in Britain. It was a rocky start, but I think I've come into my own and truly feel comfortable here.
Tomorrow is my husband's birthday, and he's spending it as a contestant on ITV's The Chase. Good luck, Michael!
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Lastly, here are a few podcasts I've been enjoying lately. All can easily be found on iTunes:
WYNC's Radiolab [link]
Radiolab explores a myriad of topics and threads stories and interviews together beatifully and with fantastic production values. Because of Radiolab, I now know about the terminal velocity of cats falling out of buildings as well as face-blindness ( neuroscientist and author Oliver Sacks and artist Chuck Close both experience this condition).
Hometown Tales [link]
The Hometown Tales blog looks like it hasn;t been updated in a few months, but they're still putting out podcasts about every three weeks or so. Very much one of those "two guys shooting the shit about X" podcasts. The X in this case stands for hometown tales, folklore and urban legends. The great thing is, it's not about these stories being true (in fact, most of the time hosts Bryan and Gene don't think they are), it's about the fun of telling the stories themselves. There is also a separate feed of video podcasts available, most of which were segments from their old public access show.
Chortle: the Peacock and Gamble Podcast [link]
First off, don't listen to this at work unless you're wearing headphones and are prepared to be stared at by your coworkers as you gasp for air after loud fits of laughter. It's rude, it's crude, and it is utterly fantastic. Again, it's two blokes shooting the shit here, but the twist is that they're both actually professional comedians... who are both mental. I first saw Ray Peacock on Russell Howard's Good News on BBC3... the same night Matt Smith debuted as the Doctor, I believe. Michael actually started listening to the podcast first, and I hadn't given it a shot until a week or two ago. Now I'm hooked. After a bad day at the office last week, I listened to an episode on my way home... and it cheered me right the fuck* up.
*OH NO! I DID A SWEAR! Actually, I said "shit" a few times too, so I did many swears. Oops.