Posts From Author: buddhism

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: Five Things We Learned

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise by Chris Taylor NY: Basic Books, 2014; 488pp Star Wars Episode VII has a title — The Force Awakens — as you can’t have failed to notice if you switched on the internet last week. Great timing, as I spent last week taking suspiciously long lunch breaks to read Chris Taylor’s new history of the series, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise (Basic Books, 2014). Although Taylor is not endorsed by Lucasfilm, the Force is nevertheless strong with him. His fanboy credentials are never in doubt, even as he manages to maintain a decent editorial distance throughout. The book doubles as a partial biography of George Lucas, Star Wars‘ Creator (the biblical proper noun maintained throughout). Taylor takes us from Lucas’s childhood in Modesto, CA, a town which would serve as inspiration for his first big hit, American Graffiti (1973), to the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 and the announcements surrounding Episode VII. Along the way, Taylor makes stops in some of the darker, less explored corners of the Star Wars universe. Here are five things I learned. 1. You can watch Star Wars in Navajo. […]
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Jay Parini and the Gradually Realizing Kingdom of God

I emphasize throughout what I call the gradually realizing kingdom of God — a process of transformation, like that of an undeveloped photograph dipped in chemicals. The process itself adds detail and depth to the image, which grows more distinct and plausible by the moment. — Jay Parini, Jesus: The Human Face of God (New Harvest/Amazon Books, 2013) I’d always assumed that I probably knew only the bare outline of “what we know” about Jesus Christ. Born poor in Bethlehem, he’s later hailed as the Messiah; he performs some brilliant miracles and preaches the word of God; he annoys the Romans and is crucified for it; he finally returns from the dead in an act that also betokens the salvation of humankind. But reading Jay Parini‘s new biography, Jesus: The Human Face of God, I realise that the “story” bit is just the beginning. In eight chapters, Parini introduces his ancient setting and takes us through what is known or surmised about Christ from his nativity through to the Resurrection and beyond. Along the way he teases out the many possible interpretations of Jesus’ famous teachings. He ends with a useful discussion of “the evolution of thinking about Jesus”, from Paul’s letters through […]
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