Friday, April 21, 2006

Thesis Reading Today!

Jared Mason and I will be having our thesis reading TODAY at 4 pm in the Wiecking Center Auditorium at MSU Mankato. The theses are screenplays and the reading will feature a voice cast of students and faculty of MSU English department reading the parts.

Jared's screenplay is titled In Runes and is a story about music, hockey, brotherhood, and a divine messenger squirrel. My screenplay is titled The Prince and is a biopic of Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler. A question and answer session follows the reading. All are welcome to attend.

Download a pdf version of the thesis poster here.

For a full list of MFA thesis readings at MSU Mankato, click here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Easter is, among other things, the anniversary of Vlad III Dracula's revenge on the Wallachian boyars (the land owning noble class) for their murder of his father, Vlad II Dracul, who was beheded, and Mircea, his brother, who was blinded and buried alive.


From Tabula Rasa:
At the Easter celebration in 1456, the year Vlad first achieved the throne of Wallachia, he invited the [boyars] to dine with him at the palace in Tîrgoviste. These were the long-established noble families of his country, and after serving them a sumptuous meal his guards swarmed into the courtyard[. The] old and infirm were impaled beyond the city walls for all to see and the remainder were made to march, still in their Easter finery. The journey was some fifty miles in length, up the Arges valley to the village of Arefu, and at the end of it they found pre-prepared brick ovens, lime kilns and building materials. The [boyars] and their families were put to work rebuilding an extensively damaged fortress some 1200 feet above the village, creating the Castle Dracula (where, indeed, Dracula's wife would one day throw herself from the battlements in response to a Turkish invasion). At the end of the arduous task those that were still alive were impaled in front of their creation.

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Cruci-fiction Day

Today is Good Friday, the day that believers recognize the death of Jesus in all of its bloody glory by eating candy eggs and bowing before a pagan fertility symbol.

Here is a synthesis:


So, with that in mind, here is dressupjesus.com to help you all celebrate!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Free Press Article: Tech Talk

The Mankato Free Press ran an article in today's paper about last night's Speak Out, a seasonal community discussion sponsored by Speakeasy Magazine and Static. The topic was technology and how it effects interpersonal communication and relations.

I was quoted in the article:
“People feel more isolated than ever, and people feel more lonely than ever,” said Nathan Wardinski. “(I may have) an online community, but I don’t know my neighbors’ first names.”

The point, as facilitator Joe Tougas so eloquently put it, was to talk about stuff. Or, in other words, he said, to get the Mankato community thinking about technology’s impact on society, our sense of community and ourselves.

Nicole Helget and Nick Healy, winners of the Speakeasy Prize for Prose, Rick Robbins, director of the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State University, and Tougas, editor of Static magazine, led the discussion, each offering anecdotes and essays about their views to get people talking.

Click on the link above to read the full article.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bring on the Lions

This article from the Washington Post covers a two-day conference in Washington titled "The War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006." The conference consisted largely of evangelicals venting about supposed acts of persecution and discrimination, like not being able to hang Christian symbols on public grounds. Among the speakers were former House majority leader Tom DeLay and conservative leader Alan Keyes.

If this sounds strange to you, it should. From the article:
"This is a skirmish over religious pluralism, and the inclination to see it as a war against Christianity strikes me as a spoiled-brat response by Christians who have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position," said the Rev. Robert M. Franklin, a minister in the Church of God in Christ and professor of social ethics at Emory University.

And this:
White evangelicals make up about one-quarter of the U.S. population, and 85 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. But three-quarters of evangelicals believe they are a minority under siege and nearly half believe they are looked down upon by most of their fellow citizens, according to a 2004 poll.

It is amusing to me that the people who make up one of the largest religious denominations in the nation, who have tremendous pull in the government, particularly in the White House, who have altered American culture by demanding that the FCC monitor our broadcasts for content that they find personally offensive while making room for content that they find appealing, who live in a country in which laws are created and upheld that are clearly based on principles of their religion, whose national legislature takes two weeks off to recognize Easter, can consider themselves a persecuted minority.

But it makes sense. It is essential to the Christian worldview, especially the evangelical view, that they be in the minority position. The role of the martyr, personified by the image of Christ on the Cross, is fundamental to the self image of the Christian and is the pinnacle of piety and holiness. The catch-22 is that, as evangelical Christians, they are called to spread the gospel and make the world around them conform to Christian principles. So, the more that they succeed, the less resistance they meet, and the harder it is to fulfill the status of a martyr. In order for these Christians to create a self image of martyrdom, they must delude themselves into illusions of persecution, twisting separation of church and state into an act of religious discrimination.

If these Christians want to experience real persecution, they ought to visit Afghanistan.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thesis Readings

Jared Mason and I will be having our thesis reading on Friday, April 21st at 4 pm in the Wiecking Center Auditorium at MSU Mankato. Both theses are screenplays and we will have a voice cast reading the parts. Jared's screenplay is titled In Runes and is a story about music, hockey, brotherhood, and a divine messenger squirrel. My screenplay is titled The Prince and is a biopic of Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler. A question and answer session follows the reading. All are welcome to attend.

Download a pdf version of the thesis poster here.

For a full list of MFA thesis readings at MSU Mankato, click here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

KMSU Pledge Drive

89.7 KMSU FM is currently having their spring pledge drive. This is absolutely necessary to keeping the station running, especially now that the transmitter on the tower is failing. This is a $50,000 piece of a equipment that will have to be replaced in the very near future. The pledge drive is also important for the standing of the station, as it demonstrates that the community has a vested interest in keeping it active and that KMSU is an important part of the southern Minnesota landscape.

Go to the station's homepage to donate.