Flannery O’Connor – “She would of been a good woman…”

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“She would of been a good woman,” said The Misfit, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
― Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find

“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.”
― Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Link to the PBS episode on Flannery O’Connor

Introducing “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor (with Sufjan Stevens)

 

good man

The purpose of this post is simply to provoke curiosity for Flannery O’Connor and her fictional work, as epitomized in her short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.”

The song by Sufjan Stevens is loosely based on the story and seems be a telling of the story through the character called “the misfit,” who is an escaped serial killer.

Ralph C. Wood says of O’Connor, “she observed that while lots of folks get killed in her work, nobody gets hurt.” (Flannery O’Connor and the Christ Haunted South, Ralph C. Wood; p. 39)

“It seems to me,” Flannery O’Connor declared, “that all good stories are about conversion, about a character’s changing.” Whether secular or religious in their origins and intentions, novels and stories having lasting merit always depict characters faced with moral challenges and spiritual quandaries that demand their transformation. Whether these tests are met for good or ill, the characters are changed: they are converted. The New Testament word for conversion – metanoia – literally means to alter one’s mind, to revolutionize the entire course of one’s life, to turn around, to travel in the opposite direction. In most of O’Connor’s stories the central character undergoes a painful confrontation with their own pride and presumption, behold themselves in the blinding light of divine grace and, if only at the last moment of their lives, come to radical conversion. Neither in her novels nor her stories does she take her protagonists beyond their sudden and drastic conversion; we are rarely shown the consequences of this total turnabout in their lives.”  (Wood; p. 217)

Once in the backyard
She was once like me
She was once like me
Twice when I killed them
They were once at peace
They were once like me

Hold to your gun, man
And put off all your beast
Put off all the beast
Paid a full of these, I wait for it
But someone’s once like me
She was once like me

I once was better
I put off all my grief
I put off all my grief
So I go to hell, I wait for it
But someone’s left me creased
Someone’s left me creased

Ralph C. Wood on reading Flannery O’Connor

Online version of “A Good Man is Hard To Find”

Wikipedia article (which contains a link for an audio reading of the story by Flannery O’Connor)

A live version of Sufjan and a big band doing “A Good Man…”  on Austin City Limits:

Comments are always welcome!

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013

The Firesign Theatre’s “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus” and the dignity of the human race

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I heard this theatric presentation on the radio once back in the day when they were “popular” and remember enjoying it, while certainly having no clue to what their aim was. My recent reading of something  written by Christian theologian Eugene Peterson about a bus trip, that will be the substance of this post, was what brought it to mind. Continue reading

“Hatred (A Duet)” by the Kinks: What is the ultimate kink? (With help from Frederick Buechner’s “On the Road With the Archangel”)

Archangel

Sometimes I am amazed when I repeatedly stumble upon similar profound thoughts in unexpected places. One recent example is my stumbling yesterday upon the song “Hatred (A Duet)” by the Kinks, and then today something that Frederick Buechner wrote in his novel “On the Road With the Archangel.” Continue reading

The Oscars and “Celluloid Heroes” – “God Save the Kinks!”

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I heard this old classic by the Kinks the other day, so when I saw the special segment on the Oscar’s last night that honored all the famous persons affiliated with Hollywood this song naturally popped into my mind. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest rock songs ever.

celluloid heroes

I believe that the song beautifully deconstructs the romanticist hopes our culture places in what Robert Bellah called “expressive individualism,” by revealing the avoided but painfully obvious reality that the “Celluloid Heroes” that “never really die” are not real persons. But our cultural narrative of expressive individualism is strong, making our nihilistic faith almost necessary. Thus we buy into the hope that we can transcend death through such achievements. Our cultural narrative is quite persuasive, supported by a propagandizing consumerism wherein “Image is everything” and  “Nike”  rule. This ensures that our religious allegiance is almost a foregone conclusion. Continue reading

The Kink’s “Money and Corruption” and “I’m Your Man” – Mr. Flash as Political Huckster

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“Oh God how I love this land” (Mr. Flash)

Why does that sentiment sound familiar?

“Money & Corruption” and “I’m Your Man” are another great highlight of the Kink’s rock opera “Preservation, Act 2″ wherein we see that the people were swindled by the political savvy of the deceitful and greedy Mr. Flash. Continue reading

The Kinks and the Confession of Mr. Flash

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I always loved The Kinks non-critically acclaimed “Preservation” albums, acts 1 and 2. The two songs “Flash’s Dream (The Final Elbow)” and “Flash’s Confession,” toward the end of “Act 2″ were thematically and musically a high point. Ray’s singing is amazing as usual, and I believe he is not given the credit of being one of the greatest rock singers of all time. Brother Dave’s guitar is also wonderfully prominent in the “Confession.”

The video posted below by Gerard van Calcar was well done with some appropriate images, and thankfully he combined both songs parts together. Continue reading