Archive for November, 2008

Grad school developments

Things have been dizzying lately – and I didn’t pick that term up from an interior monologue on Gilmore Girls, I promise; it’s pretty darn accurate. I’m in the middle of trying to finish up my last semester, and trying to figure out what the next step looks like. And I’m finding out that I should have been trying to figure that out about a year ago instead of now. What it’s been looking like for the past few months is applying to MA programs in philosophy all over the country and going wherever accepts me, is cheapest, and best (probably in that order). I’ve been looking especially for phil programs that would let me also do work with a religious studies program, because I really want to integrate my faith with my philosophy. They’re not totally distinct. And I’ve found a few programs that would let me do just that. Recently though – like three days ago – I began seriously considering a slightly different route: seminary.
I don’t have much interest in preaching or working mainly in a church; I really want an academic career I think. So a Masters of Divinity is out (that’s the preacher degree). Some seminaries though have a degree called a Masters of Theological Studies, and some of the really good MTS programs allow you to choose a specialty of concentration, and I could choose philosophy at some. Without belaboring mundane details, the payoff would be that I would be able to go on from there to do a Phd in philosophy, and it would make me a more marketable candidate in the end to have both a formal religious education and a formal philosophical education. So, I’ll probably be splitting my applications (the stack of which is steadily growing) between philosophy departments and divinity schools.
The problems are typical though. How do I pay for it? Will I get in? Is one route better than the other? If so, which one? How do I know? Does God have a preference? If so, how do I figure that out?
I’m putting lots of time, energy, thought, and prayer (in that order, sadly) into this, and it feels like things are just spinning around me, outside of my control. So, if you are a person of the Christian faith, I’d like to ask you to ask our God to give me wisdom and his blessing as I’m applying to departments, taking the GRE, filling out applications, and searching for a way to fund this. This education is for me (I hope) part of my attempt to grow Jesus’ kingship on earth, so if that is a worthy cause in your eyes, please beg for his blessings in that attempt.

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Sad state of the arts

In my search for anyone, anywhere who has anything worth hearing, I came across this site, a sneak-peek advertisement for an upcoming art exhibition in New York. It will be an exhibition of a single artists collection of work on the theme of conservative animosity toward our President-elect. Take a look at the site and scroll through the photos using the ‘next’ button at the top right corner of the page, and then read on. There aren’t a lot of pictures, so it shouldn’t take long.

……glad you’re back. Hope you enjoyed it.

Now, all political leanings aside, what did you think? Did you gather, from anything you saw, that the artist’s point is that the popular conservative attitude toward Obama, and criticisms made of him are an attempt to “assassinate [his] reputation,” or were an example of “the extreme effects of a society intent on castrating anyone in power”?

Yeah. Me neither. But I did catch the gigantic black penis wrapping its way around the wall of one of the rooms. Penis detached from a body? Castration? I think I’m getting you… Oh, and who could miss the (nauseatingly un)clever insinuation that Obama might be assassinated, when the artist paints Obama and J.F.K. next to each other? He was assassinated too, you know. Oooh….

But I’m being antagonistic. There’s a reason though; this exhibit is, from what it shows on the site, an absolutely glowing example of the state of high-brow (“sophisticated”) art: It’s art made to be consumed by shallow, uncultured yuppies who abandoned their parents’ nominal, judeo-christian morals, and think that that, plus their MBA and their money, makes them sophisticated. The people who gladly consume this sort of art (and that’s all you can really do with it) are what you would have if you instantly injected three years of a liberal-arts education into the head of a fourteen year old male whose favorite movie is Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Somehow they haven’t matured to the point where we all acknowledge that penises exist, and are normal things that are best kept veiled except for certain occasions. So they get shocked (and tickled) rather than roll their eyes. But they’ve developed an adult vocabulary, and probably have heard of Freud, so they know penises can symbolize power, but they haven’t developed the depth of their souls to realize how trite, contrived, and juvenile the metaphor really is. So they probably chat with feigned enthusiasm about how avant garde (they heard that term somewhere – they think it might be French) the artist is while sucking down some hors d’ouevres they can’t pronounce and don’t really like.

And my tangent is over. But these people’s shallow character to which much modern art panders is a big deal because these people have the money, and so they get what they want. And that means art that they can understand, and tickles them. So now the line between the upper echelon of modern art and the stuff that makes its way into the two-for-ten dvd bin at Wal-Mart isn’t all that definite, because the lines of people leading to both are essentially populated with the same people.

But you can help turn the tide in a small way toward the deepening of society by forcing yourself (yep, you’ll have to) to only open your mind and soul to art that will form it into something worth being, rather than something worth rolling your eyes at (like these people).

Recommendations?

Check out the movies The Fall, The Village, Session 9 and The Fountain, visual art by Andy Moses, Damien Hirst and Michael Parkes, cd’s by Over the Rine, Porcupine Tree, Tool, Sigur Ros, James Newton Howard, and The Decemberists. May we keep our eyes wide wide wide open.

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