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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

A Goddess Good Enough to Eat? Or… Not?

posted by donna freitas

I often write about chocolate in relation to, well, anything spiritual, religious, or divine–anything that I can find to justify my oh-so-out-of-control addiction to this confectionary delight. In my most recent book, “Becoming a Goddess of Inner Poise: Spirituality for the Bridget Jones in All of Us,” I not only paid homage to the milk and dark varieties, but followed up these sugar-induced reflections by interviewing Katrina Markoff in an article called “The Sweet Spirit” for Beliefnet. Katrina is executive chef of Vosges Haut-Chocolat and runs a Yoga and Chocolate Retreat in Mexico each year, as well as a series of Yoga and Chocolate Worskshops. I discovered via my “research” for the Goddess book (as chocolate research is v. v. important); she has quite a develeped sensibility about the relationship between chocolate and the spiritual life. What more could a girl ask for?

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Sigh.

Well, as a result of my more public prose about chocolate and all its derivations, sometimes people decide to send me things. You know, in the form of chocolate. Which, I must admit, I do not protest in the least bit.

Most recently, I received a delightful present from a company called “Chocolate Deities” in the form of Sheela Na Gig, portrayed on the face of a large, solid chocolate disk. Sheela Na Gig is a Goddess who apparently “appeared on Irish churches before the 16th century, reminding those with the ability to see that entering a sacred space is to enter the Womb of the Goddess.” The little booklet accompanying my edible divinity proclaims wonderment about her: “Goddess, Grotesque, or Otherworldly Power? A Protectress, a Hussy, a carefully concealed Saint? She is brassy…she is gatekeeper…she is a spirit that commands our attention…”–and she’s yours to eat too!

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Well, command my attention she did–immediately. Eagerly opening the box that contained Sheela Na Gig in edible form, I was stunned by the way she, well, is quite brassy and commanding of the attention, and how, quite literally and visibly in chocolate form, she shows how to enter that “sacred space” that is also the “Womb of the Goddess” if you know what I mean. Just go check out the picture and see for your self; it’s not quite appropriate to print on a family website such as ours.

So, um, well, as I sit here glancing now and again at my chocolate Sheela Na Gig divinity, and then averting my eyes–in what I can only describe as… modesty?–I ponder whether or not I will ever be able to actually enjoy what I can only imagine is the fabulous chocolate that forms her current state of being in my apartment.

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Regardless of the edibility factor, a chocolate deity makes quite the interesting gift for the spiritually reflective girl with the unquenchable chocolate thirst, even if she doesn’t actually ever eat the divine offering. She will perhaps just have to adorn my kitchen counter (albeit enclosed in the box) rather than my stomach.

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Will and Dis-Grace-ful?

posted by

On an upcoming episode of “Will and Grace,” Jack’s “OutTV” network is bought by a Christian TV network… great idea. Casting Britney Spears as a conservative Christian who hosts a cooking segment on the new network… another great idea. Calling said cooking show “Cruci-fixin’s” and airing the episode on April 13th, the day before Good Friday–the day Christians believe that Jesus was crucified–not such a great idea. Perhaps the network, which just abandoned “The Book of Daniel,” an ill-fated attempt to attract people of faith, should have checked its calendar before scheduling this one.

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Hollywood & the Church: Don’t Blame Everything on Oscar!

posted by kris rasmussen

I certainly agree with my fellow Idol Chatterer Paul’s observation that we haven’t exactly seen a post-“Passion” wave of successful, thought-provoking, overtly religious films coming out of Hollywood, much less being nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. But before those in the religious community pass judgment too quickly, there is one important point to consider. In the dialogue about spirituality, movies, and little gold statues, the issue of apathy and neglect is a two-way street.

While spiritually thought-provoking movies such as Junebug and inspirational movies such as “Mad Hot Ballroom” were, to my disappointment, more or less snubbed by Oscar, they were also snubbed, or just plain ignored, by a large segment of the church-going community–a community that claims to be clamoring for more religious-themed entertainment. Yes, Oscar was apathetic about that lion who roared his way into becoming a blockbuster hit, but how many in the church community overlooked the opportunity to watch and discuss one of the most provocative and important films of the year, “Crash,” a movie that reflects the spiritual hunger and poverty of our culture?

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There’s also something else that those of you patiently waiting for a movie worthy of winning a “Mel”–as Paul dubbed the fictional awards for movies with strong and explicit appeal to conservative Christians–must keep in mind: It takes at least two to three years for a movie to be produced in Hollywood. So all of those post-“Passion” movies that are spiritually significant and religious relevant may still be making their way to a theater near you. Or maybe they were already there, and you just didn’t go to see them. Either way, we can’t blame everything on good ol’ Oscar.

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What “Passion” Effect?

posted by burb

Remember how “The Passion of the Christ” was supposed to be a wet smack in the face for those jaded sybarites of Hollywood/Babylon? How church basements, not focus groups, would be the new proving ground for America’s blockbusters? After the success of Mel Gibson’s thanato-pic, the theory went, the suits on Melrose would finally get it, and they’d greenlight a host of imitators, full of spiritual intensity and religious relevance.

If today’s Oscar nominations are any measure, it’s clear that Hollywood still doesn’t get it. If Mel were handing out the awards instead of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences–call them the “Mels” instead of the Oscars–which of the current crop of nominees would win big? “Brokeback Mountain,” in which two cowboys get it on in the heart of Red America? “Capote,” in which an effete New York writer seduces a murderer to tell him his tale in ghastly detail, and then roots for the dead man walking to hang for the sake of book sales? Spielberg’s ambivalent take on the events of Munich in 1972?

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The Oscar nominations, of course, may not be an adequate measure. “The Passion,” after all, didn’t get a nomination either. But if Gibson’s film has a legacy at all, we’re still waiting for it to show up somewhere in Hollywood. Even the one spiritual film of the year, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” neither sought nor got prior approval from the evangelical Christian community that Gibson rallied before going wide with “TPOTC.”

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