1. Nothing says Halloween like an H.P. Lovecraft-inspired Cthulhu ski mask (h/t Jeremy “release the” Kareken).
2. But this beaver is instead dressed as a bee (h/t Rebecka Heise). I guess you could say he’s a bee-ver.
3. Yesterday was the seventy-fifth anniversary of Orson Welles’ infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, and as hoaxing/trolling/punking/pranking (for good or ill) becomes an ever larger part of media culture, he deserves new respect as a forebear.
4. This year’s also the seventy-fifth anniversary of Superman, who inspired an online debate among friends of mine about whether he’s more Christian or Nietzschean in tone. For today, let us just agree he’s not Satanic.
5. Superman might yet save us from the scary NSA -- or at least from the DC Comics version of the NSA (or at least of S.H.I.E.L.D.), the group A.R.G.U.S., implicitly criticized in this scene along with Obama (the very first time I have ever seen Obama criticized instead of lionized in a comic book).
I believe Captain America will face similar doubts about S.H.I.E.L.D. in April’s Captain America sequel movie (it will also depict French villain Batroc the Leaper doing parkour, which sounds logical to me -- I just hope he won’t be wearing those annoying toe shoes you see lately). I’ll have far more to say about liberty themes in comics in a few weeks, by the way (stay tuned).
6. The scariest superhero news this week is that DC Comics is moving from New York City to Burbank, likely taking a few of my acquaintances including Scott Nybakken westward in the process.
If they go, here’s hoping they all end up with the same “rich and famous” contract that Kermit signed with Orson Welles upon arrival in Hollywood in the great original Muppet Movie.
7. As I noted on the Facebook recently, I saw a headline announcing “Website Tells You If Anyone Has Died in Your House,” and I’m so materialist/science-oriented, I thought it just sounded like a needlessly convoluted medical-alert system. Then I remembered some people actually care whether their home might have ghosts in it. (It doesn’t.)
8. St. Francis, Aquinas, and of course Jesus himself would all have disagreed with my certainty on that point, as would Dawn Eden, who was nice enough to send me a volume collecting G.K. Chesterton’s book-length musings on each of those men.
One of Chesterton’s (always-amusing, warmhearted) complaints this time around is that (even 100 years ago) moderns admire St. Francis but would like to reduce his love of all creation (and its implied Creator) to a mere fondness for animals or the poor, when in fact there’s more going on there.
(Dawn also sent a link to these parodies of bad atheist arguments, though I must say they sound more like bad arguments Aquinas would make than like atheist arguments I routinely encounter. Aquinas’s “proofs” of God are so weak that even 800 years later, there remains disagreement among both his critics and his supporters about whether Aquinas was himself joking in the proofs, whether he was parodying bad theological arguments, parodying bad rationalist arguments, or perhaps just going through the motions of confirming God’s existence to reassure religious folk his philosophizing needn’t lead to blasphemy.)
9. The Francis section of that Chesterton anthology has an intro by Manhattan’s own Father Rutler, who as many here know is an amusing character fond of pushing free-associative, ironic observations about historical coincidences almost to the point of engaging in conspiracy theory -- or the somewhat heretical view that God’s plan is such a comedic one that He had some reason for having Al Gore born on the same day as the Roswell UFO crash (which I also don’t believe in -- though I’m keen to see the documentary Mirage Men alleging that the government likes to leave the public wondering about UFOs, to distract us from thinking about stealth aircraft and drones).
10. I take it Pope Francis has been retracing the footsteps of his namesake this month, and he remains an interesting character.
11. Much as I might wish I could completely ignore religion,