Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Exorcism of James Baldwin | Moving Pictures |

by Noah Berlatsky


It’s fairly common knowledge that The Exorcist (1973) was a huge, head-spinning cultural phenomenon, which vomited forth not just profits and media frenzy, but a whole demonic host of sequels and imitators. What’s less well known is that it also spawned perhaps the greatest piece of film criticism ever written: James Baldwin’s 1976 book length essay, The Devil Finds Work.
The Devil Find Work is a memoir of Baldwin’s experiences with film as well as an examination of race in American cinema. Baldwin discusses several obvious targets, such as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night. At first, The Exorcist seems to fit the theme less well; there are no African-Americans in the movie, and no discussion of race. But for Baldwin, this is in fact the point. As he says:

The mindless and hysterical banality of the evil presented in The Exorcist is the most terrifying thing about the film. The Americans should certainly know more about evil than that; if they pretend otherwise, they are lying, and any black man […] can call them on this lie.
Full article:
The Exorcism of James Baldwin | Moving Pictures |

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Edutainment: Witches of Cornwall


Over the centuries, many in the British Isles have appealed to witches in times of need--to cure a toothache, concoct a love potion, or curse a neighbor. Witchcraft, the rituals of a number of pagan belief systems, was thought to offer control of the world through rites and incantations. 
Common as it has been over the past several centuries, the practice is secretive and there are few written records. It tends to be passed down through families and never revealed to outsiders. But archaeologist Jacqui Wood has unearthed evidence of more than 40 witchy rituals beneath her own front yard, bringing to light an unknown branch of witchcraft possibly still practiced today.
Wood's home is in the hamlet of Saveock Water in Cornwall, a county tucked in the far southwest corner of the country. For thousands of years people have raised crops and livestock in its fertile valleys, and its coastline of dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and pounding surf was once a haunt for smugglers. Cornwall is a place time forgot; steeped in folklore, myth, and legend; and purported to be inhabited by pixies, fairies, and elves.   So it should come as no surprise that it has also been home to the dark arts....

Full article, by Auron
Edutainment: Witches of Cornwall

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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