Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Analysis: Shakespeare in Love

Pardon me if this seems overlong: this was written for my Literary Criticism class and the teacher wanted a 5-page report. It seemed a shame to just throw it away after submitting it, so here it is.

Speaking strictly from an average moviegoer's perspective, without any pretensions to critical analysis, "Shakespeare in Love" has all the hallmarks of a hit movie. It has everything going in its favor. First, there's the talented cast garnished with some well-known names (with Gwyneth Paltrow and Geoffrey Rush coming fresh from other acclaimed films, and of course, Ben Affleck, then at the height of his popularity). Then, there's the love story peppered with moments of comedy and drama; and light romantic comedy, more often than not, is the formula for a Hollywood hit. As the character of Henslowe insists: "It's a comedy they want."

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Headline Porn: Rufa Mae Quinto

I can't believe the Headline Porn Goddess missed this, so here it is.

Headline picture and title like that? 'Nuff said.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ryonosuke's "The Spider's Thread"

"The Spider's Thread" is a short fantasy tale that aims to impart a moral lesson on compassion and salvation. It is told within the framework of the Buddha in the garden of Paradise, but at the core of the story is a robber, Kandata. In the story, Kandata is suffering in Hell, but a small kindness he performed in life earns him a chance at redemption. The Buddha lowers a spider's thread into Hell and Kandata uses this to ascend. Miraculously, the thin thread supports not only Kandata but several other souls also attempting escape. In a fit of selfishness, Kandata scolds the souls behind him. At that moment, the thread breaks.

"Spider's Thread" is clearly meant to be just a story, not a canonical piece of religious text. Because of its theme and the elements that it uses, however, framing the text within a religious and philosophical structure would not be altogether inappropriate.

What does the story say? Kandata's chance at salvation comes because of the mercy that he showed a spider. He is ultimately damned because he refused to share that salvation with others. The central message of this story follows a variation of the Golden Rule: "It will be done unto you as you would do unto others." In the absence of a more concrete theology, the measure of morality all comes down to natural law.

This essay has been moved to