Are lions red or blue?

A postcard arrived in the mail today — an advertising image from the new Narnia movie on one side, at the top a question: “What if there were no Christmas?” On the back, an invitation to “worship and a Narnia adventure” at a local Grosse Pointe church.

And so it begins.

I’d been reading about this. The Disney Co., hoping to shake that Passion-of-the-Christ money tree a little, is pushing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” via the churchy crowd. As one who liked the book, I hope we can get through the movie’s run without it becoming another bloody culture-war flag, because I am really, really not interested in that. Absolutely, positively…not interested.

Of course I recognize the Christian symbolism in the book. Kate, at 7, didn’t, but as she’s being raised in a non-religious home, I didn’t expect her to. I pointed it out to her; she did the 7-year-old version of, “huh,” and that was that. And that’s pretty much the way I’d like to leave it — fine story on one level, allegory on another. I fear, though, that someone’s going to screw it up:

In addition to the usual TV and newspaper ads and theatrical trailers, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is being promoted by the Barna Group, a marketing firm that specializes in generating buzz on the Christian scene, by making advanced screenings, study guides and block ticket sales available to churches. Right-wing groups like Focus on the Family have endorsed the film.

Oh, joy. I can’t wait to hear what gasbaggery issues from the hole beneath Michael Medved’s stupid porn-star mustache. And to think James Dobson may join in, in two-part harmony! It’s enough to send me to “Brokeback Mountain,” which I’d rather see first, but you know — 9-year-olds in the house, etc. Actually, I hope to see, and expect to like, both.

Big anniversary today, of which I was reminded by none other than the GPNews. The writer recalled just where she was when she heard the terrible news about John Lennon (in bed). She went to the big service in Central Park. She writes:

“I passed rocker Edgar Winter, arm-in-arm with four beautiful women, proving that rock stars don’t have to be good-looking to get babes.”

As if, until that moment, there may have been some doubt on that point.

Anyway, I remember something else about Lennon’s death — where my friend Mark West first heard about it. He was in California, on some whack new computer thing called Compuserve, swapping command-line interface chat with some guy who could see the front door of the Dakota in New York City. The guy said something seemed to be going on over there, huh, wonder what it is.

Mr. Watson, come here, I need you. What a difference 25 years makes.

I said, “Let it snow,” and behold, we’re in the process of getting a buttload. I heard the forecast and took inventory. Had: A case of beer, plenty of milk and kidfood, the makings for split-pea soup and biscuits, and what have we here? Sweet potatoes. So I made soup, and biscuits, and a pie. (Sweet-potato pie has lots of antioxidants. It’s, like, health food.) Nothing like watching the snow fly when you have plenty of beer in the house.

Finally, the bloggage: I can’t believe I used to work for this company:

The Akron Beacon Journal, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning paper now operating as a ‘zine for the geriatric set, is getting squeezed to comedic proportions by San Jose’s Knight Ridder, its parent company.

Executives recently asked employees to share pens and notepads with other departments, since no more office supplies will be purchased this year. The problem is that some departments have already run dry, including the photo department, which ran out of batteries and paper. “They did make an exception and ordered the photographers new batteries,” says reporter Paula Schleis.

Guess what KR’s overall profit margin was in 2004? Give up? OK: 19.3 percent, and you can look it up. Ask your local grocer if he could afford office supplies on that kind of margin.

Posted at 10:36 pm in Uncategorized |

14 responses to “Are lions red or blue?”

  1. brian stouder said on December 8, 2005 at 11:26 pm

    “Executives recently asked emplyees to share pens and notepads with other departments, since no more office supplies will be purchased this year”

    The other day I bought a few things at the local evil ‘hell mouth’ WalMart – and when I didn’t have a pen to sign the debit with, the cashier handed me a HUGE pen. No kidding, it was as big around as the cardboard tube within a roll of paper towels, and half again longer.

    I was game, so I attempted to use it – it was actually difficult to write with it! – and I chuckled and commented that I bet no one would accidently keep THAT pen….whereupon the cashier told me that WalMart simply will not supply their cashiers with pens (or at least, that one won’t) – and she was tired of buying them. I expressed disbelief, and shook my head, and then I accidently-on-purpose put the thing into my jacket’s inside pocket (it extended out and beyond my chin!)

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  2. maryo said on December 9, 2005 at 8:19 am

    Re: John Lennon. I had a middle-age moment yesterday when, in recounting “where we were” when we heard about his death, I was talking with two reporters, and saying that I was in college and on a date (I think it was a Monday or Tuesday night and the date was a dud) when we heard on the news on the car radio. The other two said they were in first grade, and on the bus on his way to third grade, when they heard about it. Now I know how all those older reporters 25 years ago felt when recounting what they were doing when John Kennedy was shot, turned to me and I said I was 2 at the time and had no idea.

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  3. Michael G said on December 9, 2005 at 9:10 am

    Wow! I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when Kennedy was shot. I was in college and by the way, that anniversary was just a couple of weeks ago. I can’t for the life of me remember what I was doing when John Lennon was shot.

    Cheapening out on office supplies is one of the most aggravating things management can do. It’ll just drive you nuts.

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  4. Dorothy said on December 9, 2005 at 9:13 am

    I can identify, Mary. I was in first grade (Sister Mary Gabriel’s room) when Kennedy was killed and it was one of my strongest early memories. When I got out of high school and was working at an office, sometimes the subject would come up (where were you when…) and I remember all the other people in the office being irritated when I’d say where I was. I was the baby then – but I’m nearly the Old Lady now.

    Other stand out time markers: I was married less than a week when the hostages were taken in Iran. And when Challenger blew up, I was giving my kids lunch (one eye on the television), feeding Josh in a high chair. He’s in his third year of college now. Princess Diana died on my 40th birthday.

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  5. Danny said on December 9, 2005 at 12:32 pm

    The actress playing the white witch in Narnia , Tilda Swinton, is stunning. Hard to believe someone cast her as a *male* (albeit, an archangel) in Constantine. No one could mistake her for anything but feminine.

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  6. Nance said on December 9, 2005 at 1:38 pm

    Nah, not so hard to figure. She has a certain androgyny that I think would work in the right part.

    It’s her face. She’s beautiful, but in a really interesting, semi-flawed sort of way. Her coloring is so pale and her upper lip so long; she’s a canvas to paint on.

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  7. harry near indy said on December 9, 2005 at 4:29 pm

    nancy, i read a story in the new yorker by adam gopnik (iirc the spelling of his last name).

    it was not too complimentary about c.s. lewis or the chronicles of narnia cycle.

    gopnik questions using a lion as a symbol for the messiah. for him, it seems too much “the church, militant and triumphant” or “jesus is coming and boy is he pissed” mentality.

    so it will play into the poor, poor persecuted christians.

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  8. Nance said on December 9, 2005 at 4:54 pm

    The movie’s getting half-hearted pans from most of the bigs today — NYT, WSJ, etc. They say it’s no LotR, but wants to be.

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  9. Jim from Florida said on December 9, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    John Lennon was shot on a Monday night. Howard Cosell made the announcement on Monday Night Football. I remember Cosell breaking in with the news that John Lennon was shot and died on the way to the hospital. I can’t remember who won or lost the game, but I can still remember Cosell’s preface to the announcement, in his distinctive, nasal voice…”Remember, this is only a football game, no matter who wins or loses.”

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  10. Danny said on December 9, 2005 at 6:07 pm

    Lewis and Tolkien were very good friends. From what I’ve read, Tolkien was influencial in Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. JRR was the better writer of fiction. Clive’s biggest contribution was in the realm of Christian apologetics. Pretty deep stuff if one were of a mind to check it out.

    Harry, the Christ-Lion typology almost certianly comes from explicit biblical references to Messiah as the “lion of the tribe of Judah.” The author of the New Yorker piece may not have been aware of that. I always find it striking that many modern critics (literary/film/culture) have little or no acquaintance with the classical, referential literary foundations of Western Culture.

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  11. Danny said on December 9, 2005 at 6:21 pm

    Jim, very interesting rememberance of Howie. What an odd thing for him to say.

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  12. Casey said on December 9, 2005 at 7:42 pm

    Been lurking for a while ever since Felix Grabowski at DetNews politics weblog told me about your blog page. Speaking of DetNews, I miss you there. We need humor, level headedness and articulate writers – aka Nance! Who is “we”? The more liberal bloggers on the page, those who aren’t nasty and mean – which sadly is a disappearing category. But I hang on. Who am I? My nickname below is from my initials – K.C. and I occassionally blog at DetNews. Anyway, you are missed by more than me – Kevin (former blogger) posted a comment today/yesterday wondering where you were.

    Now my real confession and rthe reason I started this post: Mine is the church that sent out the postcards. I happened to see them being readied the other day and I winced. Not my style. Although in defense of those who decided to send them out – I think it’s a case of best intentions gone awry.

    I never saw that Passion movie, and I am divided now about seeing Narnia. The not so hidden marketing is partially to blame – I’m not of the conservative Christian rubric and I almost want to boycott because they seem to be trying to exploit the film.

    Mostly though, I have such a strong mental picture of the Narnia stories, I don’t want to spoil them. But we’ll probably go – my daughter (9 years old) loves the Narnia stories. Which I’ve been telling and reading to her for years.

    Blog on, maybe I’l comment more and lurk less.

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  13. Dave said on December 10, 2005 at 9:12 pm

    Still old, I was in eighth grade study hall when I learned of John Kennedy. Married and living in Lima, Ohio, (Lost In Middle America) when I learned of John Lennon on the radio on Tuesday afternoon, hadn’t seen a paper, hadn’t had the TV on, had just left a doctor for a employment-related physical and was driving into the Lima Mall.

    As for the Challenger, we had small kids, had taken a January vacation in Florida, had left my mother-in-law’s house that morning, was driving across to the east coast of Florida. We stopped in a roadside rest to watch the Challenger take off. All we could say was, “Where’d it go, does it disappear into the atmosphere THAT fast?” Then, we started listening to the radio.

    Would you believe, and I didn’t until I saw it, that you can see a spaceship take off at the Cape from the west coast of Florida on a clear day.

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  14. basset said on December 11, 2005 at 2:11 pm

    Kennedy: in the third grade, University School, Bloomington, Indiana. the whole class was sitting on the floor, I remember this mass gasp when the wall speaker went off and the principal or someone made the announcement.

    Lennon: in the newsroom at channel 38, Terre Haute, Indiana.

    Challenger: in the newsroom at channel 5, Nashville, Tennessee. saw the vapor trail fork apart and thought “that doesn’t look right…”

    9/11: got in my pickup in Nashville and turned the radio on just in time to hear the second strike.

    Doonesbury today (Sunday), by the way, is brilliant.

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