Playing For The B Team

Today I’m thankful for silly cinema.

I’m a fan of “B” movies.  I like goofy 1950s sci fi films, interminable 1980s schlock, and most things in between.  Robot Monster is one of my favorites – the “monster” is a man in a gorilla costume with a diving helmet.  I was only able to get through Manos: Hands Of Fate by watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) version.  I’ve seen a good number of them by watching the MST3K episode, and then seeking out the movie in its own right.

I do have favorites, but I most enjoy the unintentional silliness of the films, usually because the crew involved weren’t entirely sure how to make a movie.  Sometimes it seems they were so excited about being given a budget that they didn’t think anything else through.  I’ve got a good sense of the absurd.  Living in this crazy world makes me appreciate it more by the day.  Videos are property of the respective creators.

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A Stein Of Awesome

Today I’m thankful for Edith Stein.

I’ve mentioned that I’m not religious.  I am culturally Anglican (the musical church, bar none) but that’s really all.  Why then, did I choose a saint for this day?  I could make a long list of reasons but I’ll stick with the two that speak to me.  First, Edith Stein was a bad ass.  Second, her writings make me examine my own life and try to make it a better one.

The short version is that Edith was born into a Polish Jewish family.  She studied philosophy, became an atheist, converted to Roman Catholicism, was denied an academic job because of her Jewish heritage under Nazi laws, and finally became a cloistered Carmelite nun.  She and her sister died at Auschwitz in 1942.  She was only 50 when she was murdered but did more with her time than some people do with 80 years.  I’m aware that the conversion narrative can be problematic – I’m more interested in her as a person.  I am not making any religious statements.

She was a bad ass on a couple of levels.  She studied, and was successful in, philosophy at a time when women were still fighting simply to be admitted as full university students.  She specialized in phenomenology.  She butted heads with Martin Heidegger, who later joined the Nazi party.  She wasn’t a feminist, being more of a complementarian in the Catholic tradition, but she wrote extensively about the need of women for equality in education.

Her major works deal with human empathy.  I don’t think anyone can deny that we could all be more empathetic.  Her writing gives practical advice about being more patient and understanding in one’s own life.  I have a short temper on the best of days.  Remembering that everyone has a story, and trying to get outside of my head, help me rein it in.  I have Edith Stein to thank for that perspective.

Here’s another source with some more information.  I once got her confused with Gertrude Stein.  That hasn’t happened again.

saint_edith_stein

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Redeeming Her Miles Middle Ages Style

Today I’m thankful for the singular woman who was Margery Kempe.

Margery Kempe is known for producing the first autobiography in the English language.  She was also a fearless woman who birthed many kids, went on pilgrimages alone (in the 14th century no less), claimed to be a mystic AND was accused of heresy.  Accounts say she had the questionable gift of endless tears.  For someone who was basically a medieval housewife Meg got shit done.  I’m still trying to figure out my taxes.

Almighty Wikipedia is a good place to start.  I’m a fan of the summary by the ladies at Frock Flicks (all of their material is protected by copyright-I’m linking for informational purposes only).