10.25.2021

Is Social Media Bad for Us? Maybe It Depends on Why We Use It

using Twitter on a cell phone

With Facebook seeming to be in the news every few days for demonstrating what I can only characterize as utter contempt for those who continue to use its service, it comes as no surprise that many people are beginning to question their use of Facebook and even social media more broadly. Could it be that our use of social media is actually harming us? For some of us, I think it is clear that it is; for others, this is much less clear. I have heard some people starting to ask why those of us who use any social media platforms do so. While I deleted my Facebook account in January of 2021 and have not missed it one bit, but I do continue to use Twitter on a regular basis. Why? I can think of three reasons. There may be others, but these are the ones that immediately spring to mind when I consider the question:

  1. Information
  2. Connection
  3. Amplification

10.24.2021

A Brief Review of The House of the Devil (2009)

The House of the Devil

The House of the Devil (2009) received rave reviews (for a horror film) from critics when it was released, but reactions from horror audiences have been mixed as the years have passed. Some absolutely love it; others claim it is one of the worst films they've seen. There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground. I saw the film several years ago, didn't think much of it, but decided to give it another look.

The first thing to understand about The House of the Devil is that it was carefully designed to be a throwback horror flick that would have been right at home in the early 1980s. In that regard, it is wildly successful. They did such a good job with set pieces, hair styles, clothing, music, and everything else that it really does feel like one is watching a movie from the early 80s. For those of us who were fans of horror films in the early 80s, the nostalgia is one reason to see it. It was apparent that the director was a fan of these films and was subtly but effectively paying tribute to them here. This was easily the best thing about the film.

10.20.2021

Do We Choose to Believe in Gods Like We Choose Which Movies We Like?

movie ticket

A new movie is coming out, and you are excited to see it. You've been anticipating it for some time, and you are sure you are going to love it. Even if you might be a bit nervous that it might not be as good as you are hoping, you go into it genuinely wanting it to be great. Unfortunately, it is far from great, and you come away feeling disappointed. You did not like the film. I suspect we've all been there. Some of us may have had this experience recently (e.g., Halloween Kills). My question is a simple one: when you end up not liking a film in a situation like this, does that mean you are choosing not to like it? I don't think so. After all, you went into it with positive expectations. You hoped you'd like it; you wanted to like it. It seems nonsensical to claim that you chose not to like it.

Is this much different from how atheists experience religious belief? I wanted to stick with the religious beliefs into which I had been indoctrinated. I wanted them to be true, to provide comfort and all the other benefits they are supposed to provide. But I realized they were not true and found little comfort in false beliefs. Worse still, I begin to notice that they often seemed to cause harm. I did everything I could think of (and my fellow believers advised me of) to find ways I could maintain my god-belief, but none of them worked. I did not choose to stop believing in gods any more than I might choose not to like a movie I really wanted to like.

10.17.2021

A Brief Review of Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween Kills

Before watching Halloween Kills (2021), I wanted to make sure I gave it a fair chance. This led me to revisit Halloween (2018) the night before seeing the new one. I am glad I did so for two reasons. First, my impressions of Halloween on the second viewing were somewhat more positive than the first time I saw it. While I still don't think this reboot adds much of value when the 1978 original was nearly perfect, I did appreciate Jamie Lee Curtis more this time around. She really carried the film, and I think it would have been awful without her. The second reason it was helpful to watch the first film again was that Halloween Kills began by picking up where the first one ended, not unlike what Halloween II (1981) did.