Saturday, February 16, 2008

do no harm/movies

So we just got around to watching The Last King of Scotland. It is a morality tale about colonialism, good intentions gone awry, the human capacity for self-deception and indeed how we can do harm under the guise of doing good. Forest Whitaker, who received the Academy Award for best actor, is superb in his portrayal of Idi Amin, the late dictator of Uganda, and the Nicholas Garrigan character is also well done. Interestingly, I did not realize that Sculley (from the X-Files) plays the wife of the other rural physician until after I had thought about it for awhile. The last lecture given by the brutal and horrific Amin to Gallagher, prior to the torture scene, is memorable: "We (the Africans) are not a game. This is real". I did reflect on that scene in light of the cross-cultural mission I have experienced. This is not a game. This is real life for them. At a minimum, we are called to "do no harm".

Speaking of which, I did read Reuben Job's Three Simple Rules, purchased a few copies for some of our staff, and then led a Wednesday evening reflection for about thirty people on the brief book--the first simple rule, which guided the early Methodists, was to "do no harm".

I have thought about this simple maxim as I have watched the unfolding presidential electoral process. Is it a given that the end justifies the means---that it is appropriate to say anything about the other candidate (or have your spouse say anything about the other candidate) to win? And if so, is irreparable harm done to the body politic, and the nation in the process? My appreciation for Obama's idealism is in part a hope that one can indeed succeed without doing harm to the other person, or other people along the way.

***

I love going to movies with my wife---it is fun to escape, nice to be in the dark, nice to relax and sit still for a couple of hours, but....attending movies is getting to be a bit much, for the following reasons:

1. In Charlotte, movies at 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. are not reduced to matinee prices.
2. Snacks are ridiculously expensive.
3. Perhaps I am becoming less tolerant, but talking by moviegoers is getting worse. I suppose baby boomers are losing their hearing, and have to speak out loud to each other.
4. Not to mention cell phones...
5. And the commercials prior to the movies are reaching marathon proportions.

I like to have seen the films nominated for Academy Awards, and this year I will have seen the best picture nominees, with the exception of There Will Be Blood. Maybe I will catch it when it comes to my local grocery store, and I can rent it for $1, watching it in the quiet and privacy of our own home.

My choice for best picture at next Sunday evening's Academy Awards: No Country For Old Men.






1 Comments:

Blogger Eric said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the post. I am new to the blogging world, and did not know you were involved. I was one of your student interns at Mount Tabor. I am now serving as an associate at Grace UMC in the Greater NJ conference. I look forward to reading more.

1:50 PM  

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