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March 2, 2005

Generation Gap

I've just learned about what sounds like a fascinating new documentary. Tara Wray's Manhattan, Kansas is a first-person documentary focusing on the director's one-month reunion with her estranged mother in rural Kansas. I haven't seen the film yet, but it sounds like an interesting project and I'm pretty much a sucker for any new documentary that crosses my radar screen.

Update: I just did some more digging and learned that Tara Wray has been a guest blogger on Maud Newton's blog, which you should be reading if you're not already. It turns out that Wray has spent some time here in the ATL before migrating north to New York City. Wray is also the associate editor at Land Grant College Review and has published fiction widely (just go to Maud Newton's entry for the links).

I've noticed that Wray also recommends Craig Thompson's amazing graphic novel, Blankets, which reminded me a lot of my own memories of being a teenage fundamentalist. I'd planned to write a review of Blankets when I was reading it last year, but because it tapped into some fairly specific memories from my teenage years, I never did. Long story short: I'll go ahead and recommend Blankets again while I'm endorsing things.

Posted by chuck at March 2, 2005 3:19 PM

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What is it about fundamentalist teenagers becoming humanities scholars??? I've always postulated that ol' timne religion taught me close reading through bible study, and it was close reading through bible study that led me to English, which led me to critically read the bible (and sermons, more often), and down the path to Hell.

I think we should form a support group, is what I think.

I'll be chacking out Blankets forspring break reading, to sure . . .

Posted by: Ryan [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 2, 2005 7:29 PM

Yes, I've been fascinated by some time by the number of ex-fundies I've encountered among humanities scholars. I think you're right that it has a lot to do with the tradition of close reading.

Michael Warner's argument (and I realize I'm reducing it a bit here) that both fundamentalism (or at least certain strands of it) and ideology theory implicitly involve a negation of the status quo also makes sense to me.

Blankets is a great read. It was recommended by a friend with a background very similar to mine.

Posted by: Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 2, 2005 7:41 PM

Add me to your list of fundies-turned-heathens. And yours is now the third recommendation for Blankets that I've encountered in the last month. A strange bit of synchronicity.

Posted by: Darren at March 3, 2005 9:36 AM

After I posted my (poorly proofread) comment, I went searching through your blog to see what you might've said about Saved!, which was at once fluffy and strangely uncomfortable for me to watch. I was surprised not to find anything. Any thoughts?

(And apologies for taking this thread off the unbeaten path to Manhattan, Kansas)

Posted by: Ryan [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 3, 2005 2:08 PM

Ryan, I skipped reviewing Saved! for similar reasons. I didn't quite know how to approach the film. I also found it uncomfortable to watch in places, in part because of my experience at a college much like the high school portrayed in the film. I think the discomfort came from the degree to which it seemed to simplify the dynamic in those schools, especially the extreme insensitivity of/towards the Mandy Moore character (why make a teenage girl the film's villain?).

Posted by: Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 3, 2005 2:50 PM

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