Here’s a little of what’s been going on in my world.
Sidenote: Ladd’s mother was an alcoholic who, when he was in his early 20s, touched him for money one day. He assumed she needed it for booze but instead she bought a bottle of ant poison, drank it in the back seat of his car, and died in agony. He suffered low self-esteem all his life because he wasn’t tall like many other leading men. (Never mind that he was devastatingly handsome, easy to work with, and professional to the core).
It’s almost as if Ladd (who died at 50 more or less of an overdose) brings that inwardness and sorrow to his role as Shane. Many people besides me have seen him as a kind of sumarai, or medieval knight, or Christ figure.
Here’s a YouTube, for example (with spoilers) that has a little gratuitous vulgarity, but the guy makes some good points.
The movie raises all kinds of questions: Is a gun really just a tool? When, if ever, is violence and even killing permissible for the follower of Christ? Did Shane die at the end? (“Never’s a long time, Marian”…).
The director, George Stevens, was sickened by the brutalities he’d seen as head of the Signal Corps Special Motion Picture Unit in Europe during WWII and was in no way trying to glorify violence. And as the film points out, to perpetrate violence and especially to kill a man no matter which way you cut it leaves an ineradicable mark on the soul.
Anyway, I can’t remember when a movie touched me so deeply–and it’s a Western, no less!
Another exciting cultural tidbit:
I generally can’t abide podcasts as they’re too slow; I’ve never listened to audiobooks for the same reason. Also I’d way rather read the book than listen to it. However, I recently came across David Attenborough rendition of The Peregrine, J.A. Baker’s 1967 masterpiece of “nature writing” though it’s infinitely more and other and higher than mere nature writing.
I’ve never read the book, a fact that would ordinarily make me feel that listening to it first, or instead, was “cheating.”
But I am experiencing a newfound freedom! Plus I discovered that you can listen to Attenborough reading The Peregrine for free if you have Spotify Premium.
Check it out, as well as a bit of Baker’s backstory. Genuinely thrilling, all the way around.