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Greg Wolfe

An Announcement about the Future of A&F

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Would anybody (especially Ken, Jeffrey, Steven, or Peter) be interested in contacting Doug C and inviting him back personally?

I speak to Doug several times a week, and I know from our conversations that he received the announcement that was sent by Greg Wolfe via e-mail. I wouldn't make any assumptions about his reasons for (non)-participation. And he is very easy to contact or catch up with at Filmjourney.

Ken

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Paging Russell Lucas.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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techne wrote:

: can we please ban all images of colons from the next iteration of this forums? please?

But people are having so much fun with poop in the 'happy place' thread ...

mrmando wrote:

: There is certainly room for both vigorous debate and more relaxed conversation, and it's possible to learn from each other in both types of exchange. I would hate to see a moderator try to squelch "debate" in favor of "conversation."

Indeed.

: The only universal rule I can think of is for each participant to model the kind of talk he or she wishes to see more of on the board


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Nothing should be off limits of discussion here.

But not everything may be beneficial for the individual.

That's the first thing. The second, which is also crucial, is that we need to handle argument with grace, both for the reader, and for the writer.

By handling it in grace, you may find that you need to not respond immediately, or chose to not participate in certain discussions.

But there's surely no point in a discussion of arts, faith, or arts and faith without religion (and I personally feel, politics).

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Just to add to the chorus:

I have always tried to use this-currently-nameless-discussion-board as a place to learn how to speak charitably about film and the arts, as I have been personally most influenced by critics who saw their vocation as a way to enact grace and justice in the public square through the critique of specific films. Bazin talked about how the cinema is an art form primarily bound up in love, and you can see that sensibility in the way he communicated with others about film. And he was writing through a very divisive political context.

I think our verbal interactions about art actually form our future responses to art, and this board can be a place where this critical formation happens in a positive direction. I would rather back down from an argument about trees in some random thread for the sake of the forest of cultural material that we have a theological obligation to wade through together. There is no argument that can be won now that can't be more effectively addressed over time and discussion. This is ecumenism writ large, but it is an ethos that Christian cultural criticism seldom goes out of its way to foster.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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I'd vote for axing the Politics forum... more out of concern for Image than anything. Image is not about politics, and hosting a politics forum might not be in their best interest.

It is, yes, one of the most flammable branches of the site.

The Politics forum hasn't been flammable since Obama was elected -- not for lack of effort on my part! I'm willing to let it go, though, especially since the interest level in that area has plummeted since November.

Star ratings: I want to axe them.

YES! Get rid of the star ratings.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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So I think I saw someone suggest I start a "Suggestion Box" thread as a place where people can discuss things they'd recommend in terms of new policies, forums that might reasonably be dropped, etc.

I can do that.

But I'm divided.

I want to hear ideas for positive changes and rules and policies for healthy debate AND healthy conversation.

The other part of me just wants you all to fan back out to the various forms and get on with the actual purpose of the board!

I guess like everything else, we need balance: some time to vote up or down on various policies, fora, etc. AND a desire to now get on with it.

Yours on the tightrope,

Greg

P.S. So should I start a suggestion box thread?

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I'd vote for axing the Politics forum... more out of concern for Image than anything. Image is not about politics, and hosting a politics forum might not be in their best interest.

It is, yes, one of the most flammable branches of the site.

The Politics forum hasn't been flammable since Obama was elected -- not for lack of effort on my part! I'm willing to let it go, though, especially since the interest level in that area has plummeted since November.

Not that we're compiling votes here, but I rather like having the politics and religion forums around. Some people have trouble staying out of them despite themselves if they see conversations happening there, so I think it's appropriate that politics at least doesn't show up in the "View New Posts" list.

The whole nature of politics is borne out of debate, so those not comfortable with debate, even rigorous at times, simply never need click on the Forum. But I like it precisely because this *isn't* a forum dedicated to politics or religion, but a forum centered around the arts where I can find others who also come primarily for the arts, but enjoy side conversations now and again about things like religion and politics.

I like that I can find a community of people here who I can engage with in discussions ranging beyond simply the arts, but know that the primary ties that bind point back to the arts side of things. In short, I like to see hear what people who have an appreciation for the arts and culture think about things like politics and religion, more than I'd want to hear what people who care primarily about politics and religion care about politics and religion. I respect SDG's perspective on film in part because of what I've witnessed from him in the religion forum. Same for Christian and his interaction in the politics forum, and a number of others.

Generally speaking, I agree with Jeff that the non-arts fora are critical to the way that individual relationship build - the more I can engage people on life's broad array of topics, the more I feel I get to know a person behind a username. But for me, if politics and/or religion were cut out of that mix, I'd personally view it as a loss.

Isn't it simple enough for anyone who feels a particular forum does them more harm than good to just not take part?


"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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Wow... I hadn't dropped by in a week and it looks like something massive transpired. And although I'm distressed by the unknown, I am reassured by the fact Greg and Image is taking the helm and the discussion here will be preserved and go on. I've never been a prolific poster, and I've had little time to watch any films or listen to much music over the past 2 years, let alone discuss it. But I almost feel this place is a "second home" to me online. And although I interact with everyone here less than I wish, I consider many of you mentors and all of you friends.

Greg, Re: Suggestion Box - maybe a suggestion box email/PM (however it works) link so suggestion can be made without heated debates? Although for the moment it may be cathartic for everyone to get some suggestions off their chests in a public arena. Certainly, I feel better just writing this brief comment.


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Valuable lessons I've learned at A&F:

1. I don't have to win every debate.

2. Even if I lose a debate, that doesn't automatically mean I was wrong.

3. Losing a debate may temporarily harm my ego, but has seldom failed to help me think more deeply about the topic, whether I change my position or not.

4. Just because I take something personally doesn't mean it was intended that way.

Great advice Mando. Also... heated debate or hurt feelings do not necessarily mean that those i was debating were acting uncharitably.


"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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A thought suddenly occurs to me: Given how frequently we link to other pages on this board, what will happen to those links when this board and the Image board are "merged"?

I don't think we necessarily have to keep all the old links exactly as they were, but if the board does move to a new domain, it would be good if there were at least some way to forward those links to their new homes. (Which would probably entail keeping the ID numbers for the threads and posts the same, at least.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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P.S. So should I start a suggestion box thread?

Greg,

Its really your call--I guess what might help is if you could provide some thoughts on how you're wanting input from members of the board.

I'm involved in a couple of leadership teams off the interwebs, and I realize that while we value input, it can be daunting to have random suggestions thrown at us. Its hard sometimes to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to know what are the sacred cows. So at the end of the day, we try to give a proper notice on requests for input, to ask advice from folks we trust won't just give us the answers we want to hear, and then we make our decisions.

I assume your leadership experiences at Image and SPU have the same basic parallels. I guess I don't want a spaghetti like approach--all of us throwing stuff at the walls and just seeing what sticks.

What looks like success? What are the critical things that have made A&F such a unique place? What are some of the snags? How do you separate the opinion from the data? What's common sense? What's counter-intuitive?

I said in some earlier thread that I was going down with this ship. But as it turns out, we're not rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We're in a good spot to assess, strengthen, and flourish.

Ed

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P.S. So should I start a suggestion box thread?

I've found that suggestion boxes, in practice, are wonderful sentiments but don't actually get anything done unless you have something in place that can evaluate and implement suggestions quickly. I've seen this happen all too many times in the corporate world, where people want to get feedback and are subsequently ill-prepared to deal with the deluge of suggestions they receive. As a result, they don't implement anything and the next time they ask for suggestions, nobody suggests anything because they know nothing will happen.

I suppose I'm more a fan of the "getting things done" philosophy. Implement something, try it for awhile, gauge the reaction organically, keep it or do away with it, repeat.

Generally speaking, I agree with Jeff that the non-arts fora are critical to the way that individual relationship build - the more I can engage people on life's broad array of topics, the more I feel I get to know a person behind a username. But for me, if politics and/or religion were cut out of that mix, I'd personally view it as a loss.

Isn't it simple enough for anyone who feels a particular forum does them more harm than good to just not take part?

Well, you'd think so. But in the past, I've received requests to hide forums because people, for whatever reason, couldn't stay out of them. They wanted to, but for whatever reason, they kept getting pulled back in.

I do think that the forums could be pared down, either by deleting forums or consolidating them (and FWIW, I'd have no problem with the "Politics" forum going away). But I do like having some forums that aren't specifically related to discussing film, music, etc. As much as I love debating and discussing the merits of this film or that album, sometimes I just want to see pictures of everybody else's kids -- and post some of my own. I enjoy the "About You" and "Short Term Parking" forums, if only because they bring an additional humanity to the avatars that you see here, and personally, I've been incredibly blessed by the "Religion" forum.

I like posting personal items here, either for celebration or for prayer (posting news about my son's birth was one of my favorite posts ever, for obvious reasons). If we're to grow as a community, I think we do need to have something in place that lets us "hang out" and chat. If we lived in the same town, we'd have BBQs, trips to the pub, and a bowling league. But we don't, so I think we need something else.

Edited to add: And yes, I have very mixed emotions about Alan's departure and feel a little bit as if we're having a surprise party during a wake... I feel like someone just died. (Not meant sarcastically.)

Excellent way of putting it...

Edited by opus

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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So I think (opinion only, and I'm responsible for what I state as such) that some of you might be speaking in a slightly disingenuous fashion, especially in making the suggestion that people just ignore it all. If some of you want to flame each other, I can think of better places to do it than here.

Ellen, if you feel that I'm being disingenuous, or looking for a place to flame people, please feel free to PM me to discuss privately. Thank you.


"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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A thought suddenly occurs to me: Given how frequently we link to other pages on this board, what will happen to those links when this board and the Image board are "merged"?

I don't think we necessarily have to keep all the old links exactly as they were, but if the board does move to a new domain, it would be good if there were at least some way to forward those links to their new homes. (Which would probably entail keeping the ID numbers for the threads and posts the same, at least.)

I think we are going to attempt a global search and replace that will remove the artsandfaith.com part of the address and make all links merely internal to the site.

Not sure if I'm explaining that well enough or not, but I'm told this will work.

Greg

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Welcome, Greg!

My first reaction (to risk complete honesty) was somewhat muted. I love the freewheeling culture here at A&F, the way conversations swing from silliness to substance in an eye-blink. Whereas "silly" (or smart-ass, or downright dumb) aren't words I would associate with my beloved IMAGE Journal.

But all it took was reading this thread, seeing the spirited conversation unfold, all people's peculiarities (or should I say particularities?) emerge, to realize... This is only for the good.

Administrate with a light hand, let the conversation wheel where it wills, Mr Wolfe, and all will be well!

Welcome to the pub. What's your pleasure?


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I'd like a pint of bitter, if you please!

Thanks for the plea for liberty, Ron.

I'm all for it -- the last thing I want is for everyone to start thinking of Image as Big Brother!

On the other hand (my favorite phrase lately), there have been some questions about when liberty becomes license hereabouts.

Anarchy seems cool until someone steals your TV set....

If only there was perfect self-governance!

Yours with the lightest of touches,

Greg

Welcome, Greg!

My first reaction (to risk complete honesty) was somewhat muted. I love the freewheeling culture here at A&F, the way conversations swing from silliness to substance in an eye-blink. Whereas "silly" (or smart-ass, or downright dumb) aren't words I would associate with my beloved IMAGE Journal.

But all it took was reading this thread, seeing the spirited conversation unfold, all people's peculiarities (or should I say particularities?) emerge, to realize... This is only for the good.

Administrate with a light hand, let the conversation wheel where it wills, Mr Wolfe, and all will be well!

Welcome to the pub. What's your pleasure?

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FWIW, in previous versions of this conversation/board, many of these dialogues on politics and theology actually took place in the context of specific films. This was a far more effective way to handle these topics as at least these debates were given specific source texts to work with. The addition of all these different fora actually resulted in a film section that had less specific debates, many of which in ages past were quite constructive. I look forward to a time when our thoughts on film are more integrated with differing ideological convictions. Color me Gadamer, but it pans out well in a Christian context.

That was all well and good, but those in charge then didn't see their views as injecting politics into the discussion. Politics was accused of being injected into the discussion only when political periphery in one's argument were challenged. This was considered out of bounds. At least, I endured much hostility for doing so and considered leaving before the outlet was created. It was due to political sensitivities, political blindness, and the assumption that particular POV's were beyond the pale that brought about a sort of forum ghetto (at "take it outside attitude" if you will) that took on a life of its own. That certain political views (read: mine) were still tolerated after a while was a factor in a major cleavage about four years ago.

I suspect that there will have to be a choice between either a pure clampdown on political discussion, or an outlet for political discussion. Leave aside that some are fascinated by politics. There are some worldviews extant where politics is infused into every aspect of what said worldview proclaims despite protests to the contrary. Presenting and arguing anything from such a worldview will bring politics into the discussion. And in the worst way too because the one injecting politics into the discussion won't see it at all, or worse, will have an abject intolerance for political insights contrary to that worldview. Thus will begin sidetracking and hijacking of discussions into doctrinal boilerplate when everyone else will want to discuss the mise en scene of the particular film in question. And the injection of hostility and resentment of the existence of "them" in paradise, our own little paradise. There is no escaping politics, one way or the other. Including, heh, "the politics of exclusion". This latter will be inevitable if politics is to be avoided or rejected.

Finally, it is not true, over the full history of A&F that most of the flareups have been in politics. While a major contingent of the early "founders" of this community were still on board, flareups were constant and ongoing in the Film threads. The major issue on the surface of those constant flareups was whether A&F should tolerate discussion of mainstream films, as opposed to "higher" films. It. Was. Nasty. Nasty in a way that political discussions were not until the Iraq War!? The snobbier contingent routinely characterised discussion of mainstream film as analysis of box office figures and fanboy efluvia. This left those in the middle who saw value in both sides forced to choose sides. Me? I was an apostate because I thought that some of the directors and films in the snobbier pantheon to be worse than cheesey christian films on many levels. In such a heated atmosphere, how could one even advocate an "emperor has no clothes" POV? As it turns out, some of the cleavage that ultimately led to a breakup was also a personality conflict underneath it all. And yet, the oil and water nature of the particular lead personalities was sometimes hidden by nasty and childish aesthetic and political arguments, rants, and innuendo.

I have always thought that in addition to the truism that polite society should never discuss politics and religion, art and aesthetics should be added for precisely the same reason. Artistic taste is personal, emotional, and visceral. The notion that art must provoke, for example, is offensive. It suggests that if something doesn't offend or provoke, it ain't art. Conversely, all art has to do in some cases is provoke and offend. Those are simplistic examples, yes. In the same way that political and religious discussions that go a bit heated can be simplistic. Leave aside that for more than 100 years now, plausible aesthetic doctrine has argued that art IS the new substitute for religion.

There is no escaping the objectionable of politics, religion AND ART. No escaping the petty. No escaping the trite. No escaping the wounding for the sake of wounding in any of these three areas. No escaping. Unless the interlocuters determine to give each other some sort of respect, courtesy, and as Sun Tsu would say, a way out of the discussion in order to save face. Every single one of us has been guilty on more than one occasion of various intensities of what I've described. Every one of us. In discussions of art. Discussions of politics (unless, as in some cases, politics has scrupulously been avoided). In religion. Every one of us will be insulting, nasty, petty, and given to the cheap shot or rhetorical towelsnap of the buttocks as another leaves the discussion, in the future. Worse, every one of us will be offended and insulted by someone here in the future. I guarantee it . Every one of us will be offended by someone because we let ourselves be offended by someone who in the heat of the moment added one little phrase that would prick juuuust a little deeper. every one of us because every one of us will, at some point want to be the center of attention in a particular discussion, or expect to be indulged while we rant at someone else or some idea or poem or film or pop group that another either values or despises. And that other will want the same perogative to have that idea, poem, film, or pop group considered sacrosanct.

These are the times we live in. Politics, art, and religion are intertwined in such a way that the only way we can really have peace in any of these three is if we treat each other with dignity and respect. Sorry nardis, but claiming to be conversing as opposed to arguing isn't going to cut it either. Such an artificial distinction on a text based board can be used as cover to throw flammables on the fire because its just conversation and certainly not a rigorous discussion.

Dignity and respect means knowing who you are dealing with in a discussion and being aware of what will push buttons too. You take a run at someone you think is being out of bounds and any moderator who is fair will want to sanction you too if things get out of control. Instigating is a serious offense in Football, Basketball, and Hockey. It should be here too and I have always argued that way behind the scenes. We've been more civil here even at the worst of times than other places, but that excuses nothing.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Agree that there is room for many modes of discussion here. But again, people who prefer to discuss things a certain way will have to step up and discuss things in that way. That seems more constructive than fretting over the way other people discuss things.

I agree that the group can be intimidating. Heck, I'm scared to death of MLeary


Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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OK, this probably won't work, but I offer it FWIW: for several years (more years than I've been part of this board) I've been involved with a network of discussion groups which are mostly devoted to certain topics. It's a much more diverse group than this, and politics and religion as such are generally ruled "off-topic," though the on-topic discussions may and often do have polticial and religious aspects. If/when any discussion gets too heated or any off-topic discussion goes on too long, mods send it to the "Open Forum," where it is understood that there will be little or no moderation (except, perhaps, to weed out spammers and such) and anything goes--enter at your own risk.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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It also does seem to me that some of you have a good deal of training in actual debating techniques - if you don't, you've fooled me completely! It might be hard for some to get, but a lot of arts-loving folks just don't think - or talk - that way. (I've known a number of reviewers who restrict their discussion of the CDs they cover *to the reviews themselves.* They do enjoy talking about music, but *not* about the stuff they're covering, which is their way of dealing with the work vs. pleasure conundrum.)

Ehh, you don't need training when you collect baseball cards or comic books (I was allowed neither: bubblegum and something less than a book were not allowed :cry: ) or collect baseball stats as a kid. And I've not known music discussions to be all that peaceful as a rule without self censorship on the part of many. For example, there was something that always bothered me about a particular violinist who lives here. Now I love jazz violin, but I thought that overwhelmingly her playing had few double and triple stops, particularly in solos. I said so. Immediately, someone I respect who is a string player contradicted me based on a concert recently witnessed. Frankly, it could have gone adverserial and I could have cited many recordings. He might have come back with technical arguments that I would be out of my depth addressing. I backed off, being too lazy to amasse the recordings, few of which were in my collection at the time.

OTOH, I'm not a respector of Miles or U2 at all. I've said so and somehow withstood the torrent of attempted re-education on the subjects. It's easier to exempt myself from those discussions now, even though appreciation of both sometimes ellicits other than happy thoughts. These are two natural and organic types of discussions about music that occur all the time in the real world. What's wrong with them? What is wrong with saying to oneself, or "having to say to oneself", that no matter how passionate my views and how right are my views, it can be let go right now. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with jumping in on a passionately held POV either. Using one's own developed rhetotical skills. Come on. All of us have a history and use it in our communication techniques.

Essentially, what I'm trying to say is that there's a multiplicity of ways to converse. And practice, learning new skills in communication, etc. is all part of that.

Physician heal thyself. Not every topic and not every exchange can be or is designed to have Kum-Ba-Ya naturally flow from it, particularly when one casually and conversationally advocates that Truman should be tried for warcrimes or the unnamed folks reponsible for Dresden. That is not a conversation that will be peaceful. It is possible to have an orderly and reasoned conversation about it, but sometimes challenging to maintain. Nothing wrong with that. It will be impossible to advance the conversation without charges and counter-charges if there is any disagreement at all. If no disagreement, don't you agree that it will quickly become soft, boring, and then die? Other possible warcrimes will be brought in. Ballancing and comparison of the weight of deeds will commence.

Each will claim evil in the others' sacrosanct collection of heroic acts. It's the nature of such contentions and there is nothing wrong with that. I think. Further, is it worse than having a contentious argument and claiming, as has happened in the past, to avoid a contentious argument by walking away, but in the act of walking away, pour flammables on the discussion absenting oneself from. The rest of the interlocutors are left with the (sometimes) ashes that remain and sometimes rebuild a discussion. The conundrum happens when the one walking away in such a fashion comes back! And not penitentially!

And I'm also saying that I simply don't get the need that some of you have for discussions in which the arts, religion and politics are so very intertwined. (Though i do see what you're saying about those who don't even realize they're espousing a certain kind of approach/viewpoint.)

Yes, most of my experience here with that sort of thing was with some folks who wore Noam Chomsky on their sleeve. They are gone now. But Chomsky's devotees shouldn't be left as singled out. I'd say that devotees of Liberation Theology, Marxism-Leninism, Reconstruction, hard movement sorts from the old Rescue Movement, and some sort of amorphous and emergent anti-globalism are susceptible to this sort of explain-it-all-totaliterian doctrine.

It seems like this kind of discussion is a necessity for at least some of you. For a lot of other people in the world, it's really not that important, or else is something they would rather not get into, because people end up getting angry and unwilling to listen - and then they get hurt. Not everyone is as thick-skinned as some of you guys clearly are, and I don't think it's fair - or even right - for you to expect everyone else to be that way.

No one, I suppose, expects anyone to "be that way". Everyone is what s/he is. By now, we pretty much know how individuals respond to certain kinds of rhetorical tactics. Big boys and girls then should know how to chart the waters.

Edited to add one: The overall sense that I'm getting from many posts here is that most of don't really welcome a lot of change here. I *know* it can be difficult - even scary - to contemplate, but that doesn't alter the fact that it's going to happen. Hopefully, the change will allow for the retention of what's best about A&F, while - at the same time - creating new opportunities and directions for the merged Image/A&F forums. I see that as not only hopeful, but as a chance for creativity to flourish.

Define change. Personally, I don't like carrying more than $.67 in my pocket. But seriously, "most don't really welcome a lot of change around here" left dangling without defining what change is referred to, suggests something on the level of "I wish things were different." but more accusatory. Just sayin'.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I see that nardis is once again arguing at length that she doesn't like long arguments... speaking of things that don't change... (And that's all I have to say about that.)

Rich Kennedy wrote:

: I suspect that there will have to be a choice between either a pure clampdown on political discussion, or an outlet for political discussion.

A pure clampdown is impossible, especially when many of the films that get discussed here are all ABOUT the politics (e.g., Milk and Frost/Nixon, to cite two of last year's Best Picture nominees). And as someone recently said in this thread (my apologies to the person in question for forgetting who it was), politics is all ABOUT debate. So unless we want to rule certain films out of bounds (which, itself, would involve a certain amount of debate -- which films to include? which films to exclude?), we simply cannot avoid political discussion, indeed political debate, in this forum. Cannot.

So long as the debate is done with a fair bit of openness and civility, and a commitment to tackling arguments and not people, this should be manage-able. But, yeah, we still might need a politics-only forum to let off some steam that wouldn't be appropriate in the arts-discussion threads -- especially when the political discussion no longer refers back to the movie (or music, or whatever) in some way.

: Finally, it is not true, over the full history of A&F that most of the flareups have been in politics. While a major contingent of the early "founders" of this community were still on board, flareups were constant and ongoing in the Film threads.

Anyone remember the heated debate over Attack of the Clones? That thread got deleted seven years ago because things got so intense. If memory serves, friendships were on the line there. And I think that was before any of the specifically political flamewars flared up.

: Sorry nardis, but claiming to be conversing as opposed to arguing isn't going to cut it either. Such an artificial distinction on a text based board can be used as cover to throw flammables on the fire because its just conversation and certainly not a rigorous discussion.

Yes, exactly.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Or is this a "Toughen up and be a man?" thing?
Man-up? No, sister. Toughen up? Yes.


"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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Just caught up with this info. Very good. I look forward to the marriage!


Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

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What Beth said.

That does look interesting. So you agree with Peter and me that an outlet is necessary. I refer to her "Open Forum".

It should be noted that Politics got its start here precisely because of the political views of the founders, one in particular who had very aggressively eccentric views. I found out by experience that they were not open to question, though mine obviously were. Things evolved from there. Thank God we don't behave that way anymore. That was 2001. A long time. So, that's a lot of history for some of us. For others, not so long, but still quite a bit of time.

Let me say also that while my own political philosophy has not changed much, my approach to politics and political theory has. I am much more disinterested in political characters of all stripes and much more demanding of myself with respect to what I defend, how I defend, and whether or not any particular event is initself worldchanging. Engaging those who disagree with me here has done that. Done that in ways that no face to face discussions and arguments have in my lifetime. If you all were to know me in the real world, you would realize that I will discuss politics and religion with anyone, any time.

I've also come to the belief that anything can be said/presented in such a way as to not offend someone normally offended by what s/he disagrees with. Can be. Such craft, I have learned, takes time, work, thought on the very point of making something palateble, and concentration (something I have not always been known for), and commitment. Arts & Faith has changed me in these ways. I thank you all for this. I have grown because of you. I now that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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