Postmodern Conservative


Orlando, James Bowman, and Eli Paperboy Reed

Do any of you have useful thoughts on the Pulse nightclub massacre?  I have nothing to say that hasn’t been already.  I hope that maybe, just maybe, after this atrocity, American liberals will come to admit that the primary danger here isn’t religious fundamentalism in general, but Islamism. I will again refer readers to the Islam the Religion of Peace website, which keeps meticulous track of the number of deadly Islamist attacks since 9/11. That number, as of today, is 28,591.  I have nothing to say about so many of my fellow citizens’ state of denial about that—by this point it has become so shamefully absurd that it seems a tawdry thing—like the tired baiting of a long-insane family-member–to call major critical attention to it yet again. Besides, nothing serious is going to be done about the Islamist terrorist threat with our current president.

A commenter on my Love & Friendship post below reminded me of one of the better sites on film:  James Bowman’s.  Here’s his review of that film, but do take a peek into his entire site.  Tons of reviews, most from the 1990-2007 window, but including a number of classics, particularly ones that touch upon the subject of honor that Bowman’s scholarly work has explored. 

With Love & Friendship Bowman is a bit too critical of Stillman’s softening of Susan, and in disliking the comedic-fantasy element Stillman adds to the Sir James Martin character he can’t appreciate the most delightful thing in the whole film, but, his is still a useful review.  He is probably right to refrain from giving it his “must-see” two-star rating, which he awards rarely.  But as there’s not much else out in the theaters, the one star becomes a kind of what-else-are-you-gonna-see must-see.  You can go on over to Titus’s site to see why The Nice Guys might be worth a trip to the Cineplex maybe, but otherwise (anyone seen Popstar?), the film industry’s long, long season of patent weakness continues. 

Thanks to the great Salt Lake City radio station KRCL, yesterday I discovered Eli “Paperboy” Reed.  Absurd name, granted.  He’s among a number of classic soul/funk revivalists, along the lines of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Nick Waterhouse, and Osaka Monaurail, and probably a dozen others I don’t know about.  Not a scene I’ve kept up with, as indicated by the fact I had never heard of him despite a decade-long career. 

Anyhow, his latest album is some kind of return to a more revivalist sound after a couple releases with more typical production, and what is most striking to me, it is also an outright embrace, and not just sonically, of soul’s gospel roots.  I.e., it’s really a straight-up Christian revivalist record!  And it seems matter-of-factly sincere about the need to repent and get right with God.  Bold, that.  You try fronting a bad-ass dance-band that at times simply preaches the gospel in its songs, and in 2016!  Well, despite the archaic production techniques that certain hipsters like yours sincerely think are superior but which tend to repel more typical listeners, with songs like “My Way Home” the man’s going to make a mark regardless of the odds.  Most of all upon our very souls.

UPDATE:  Here’s a NYT piece on Reed’s work with Harlem youth on gospel quartet singing.  There’s an interesting Manhattan Institute connection, and more solid info on where Reed stands with respect to religion.  

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