Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: March, 2010


Well, I’ve done it.

Do you remember what I posted on Friday?  Probably not.  Actually, definately not, because I didn’t post anything.

In my defense, this has been a wild week.

On Tuesday, Ruth’s plans for Pakistan were a mere two weeks away.  On Wednesday, they were suddenly two days away.  She’s there right now, with the kids.  For two months.  Ouch.

I don’t have much to say this lovely Monday.  Just pray for her.  She’s pushing really hard to get i117 off the ground and helping the widows.  Lots of prayer.  Lots of love.  Oh yeah.


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Quoting Star Wars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

After the opening lines, how far can you get? Can you quote, without looking, the scrolling text? Do you know the first spoken lines of the film? How far could you quote into A New Hope?

I bet I could do nearly the whole movie.

But I haven’t seen the film for half a year at least. And, really, I haven’t watched it an inordinate amount of times, really. So why can I quote it? And why can I not even think of the opening scene of The Phantom Menace?

Because The Phantom Menace is a movie. A New Hope, that’s a film, baby.  The Phantom Menace, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, is just a movie.  It’s what you see when there’s nothing else to do or when you want nothing more than a little entertainment.  You get pleasure while you watch it, but when it’s over you walk away unchanged by it.

A New Hope, along with the rest of the trilogy, is not like that.  There is depth in the story of Luke and the redemption of Anakin.  When you watch it, you don’t care about the early-80s graphics and funny clothes.  The story is alive and it imparts something to you.

C.S. Lewis once suggested that an artistic piece, in order to be legitimate, needed to either be for pure entertainment alone, or a guardian of true.  The Phantom Menace fills one of those conditions.  The original trilogy fills both.  Dan Brown fills one.  Stephen King often fills both.

I wonder how many movies made in the last ten years will be proved to be classics.  Can you think of any that will endure and spawn a generation that can quote them from beginning to end like Star Wars and Fiddler On The Roof have?

Funny, none are coming to mind, right now.

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Library vs. Google

Okay, so imagine you are a high-school student.  A big research project is coming up.  How are you going to get the five pounds of pure information you need to write this thing?


Same situtation, but fifteen years ago?


Let’s face it.  With Google you can get all your research done in an hour.  There’s no need to drive to a library, search endless shelves or even stand up.  So why, oh why, would you ever want to go to a library?  Is Google a better source for information?  Despite the nearly infinite resources and the radical ease, I honestly think that the library is a better place to get what you need.  Here’s why:

  • With Google, you require absolutely no work to get what you want.  This may sound like a good thing, but it isn’t.  Without the mental discipline you get from searching through books for what you need, you are not going to have the ability to properly examine and discern and sift through it.  You’ll end up copying and pasting.  You’ll get decent marks, but you won’t learn the stuff as well as you could have.
  • With Google, your natural tendencies toward inaction are encouraged.  We already live in a society of radical ease.  Google approves of that.
  • With Google, it is more difficult to sift between quality articles and hacks.  Any idiot can make a website.  Heck, even I have one.  And you don’t want to read anything I write on physics.
  • Google encourages isolation.  At the library you are forced to see people and become a part of the community.  And community, believe it or not, is a good thing.  If Google is your best friend, though, you need never leave the house.
  • The quality of Internet articles are generally much lower than published books.  Not always, of course.  But it’s harder to get in print than it is to get on the web.  Again, look at me.
  • Libraries will lend you real books for free.  Google lets you watch silly YouTube videos for free.  Which one do you think is better and (in the long run) more fun?

I love the library.  Toronto has about a billion wonderful branches.  I really hope they don’t go away any time soon.

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