The South African film Tsotsi, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, is based on a novel by the celebrated South African playwright Athol Fugard. He wrote the novel in the 1960s but put it aside for many years; it was finally published in 1980. The movie differs from the novel in important ways.
After her husband leaves her—apparently to run off with his secretary—Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen) is left with four daughters between the ages of 15 and 22. The Upside of Anger is about reconstituting one’s existence when mostly what you feel is fury and the desire to retreat. It’s also about the unanticipated directions life can take when it seems to have reached a dead end.
I never meant to burn any bridges,” Neil Young sings in “One of These Days” in Jonathan Demme’s movie Neil Young: Heart of Gold. “But I let some good things die.” Heart of Gold records Young’s two concerts at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium last year. The concerts marked the debut performance of songs featured on his Prairie Wind album.
Many fields, many treasures, many pearls (One chosen). Here, fish netted, many kinds, But singularity is not the point, The point is, good are kept, and bad destroyed. Are these the gentle Galilean’s words? If so, a strange form of gentility: The angels throw the evil in the fire, And there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. O, how we twist and turn and rationalize, Assured Matthew was victim of his time, And heaven’s kingdom never need be forced, And “way that leads to life” is easy, smooth. Shall we amend, then, the Apostles’ Creed: “To judge the quick and dead”? This we don’t need.
Here’s your Ash Wednesday story. A mother carries her tiny daughter With her as she gets ashed and the Girl, curious and wriggly, squirms Into the path of the priest’s thumb Just as the finger is about to arrive On the mother’s forehead, and the Ashes go right in the kid’s left eye. She starts to cry, and there’s a split Second as the priest and the mother Gawk, and then they both burst out Laughing. The kid is too little to be Offended, and the line moves along, But this stays with me; not the ashy Eye as much as the instant when all Could have been pain and awkward But instead it led to mutual giggling. We are born of dust and star-scatter And unto this we shall return, this is The Law, but meantime, by God, we Can laugh our asses off. What a gift, You know? Let us snicker while we Can, brothers and sisters. Let us use That which makes dark things quail.
Between 1990 and 2010, Iowa lost over 500 churches. The numbers reflect migration from rural to urban areas and the fewer number of people who identify with a faith community. The decline in churches is having a direct effect on the social fabric of the state. According to research at Iowa State University, nine out of ten rural people said they rely less on their neighbors than they once did. Surviving churches have gone back to older patterns to find leadership, engaging itinerant pastors or lay leaders. Some are surviving through cooperation with other denominations or with ethnic Christian groups (Pacific Standard, January 20).