Frederica Mathewes-Green Quotations

Frederica Mathewes-Green

A hundred years ago, most of the news you encountered was directly relevant to your life, and it was something you could act on. Now the great majority of our news is wholly exterior to our personal concerns, and while we can feel distressed by it, we can't do anything about it. We have a sense of futility. Life is a parade of random pictures, some terrible and some funny, and you can't do anything about them. All you can do is watch.

At the end of the [The Matrix, Neo] dies and then comes to life again at a kiss from Trinity. Some think this makes him like Jesus, but I think it makes him like Snow White.

Every culture has its favorite stories, and here's one of ours: a good guy rises up against the sour, fun-hating oppressors, and teaches them a thing or two. Maybe he's the stranger who comes to a stuffy town and teaches it to dance; maybe he's the student who comes to a stuffy school and teaches it to party. (Teaching a virginal teen to get over her prudish hang-ups is popular storyline, too.) In any case, the story always concerns a Messiah of Fun who rescues others from their horrid straight-laciness.

I recently mis-read a reference to this as "Jesse Jackson's wardrobe malfunction." So you see, things could be worse.

[T]here's a reason satisfying stories show characters that grow, a plot that enables them to, and a conclusion that draws it all together. We don't need to watch aimless, confused people dither their lives away. People know how to do that already. What storytelling has done, from time immemorial, is to show characters who either find a way to make their lives make sense, or fail movingly.

Tolstoy famously wrote that "happy families are all alike," and maybe they're alike chiefly in not expecting to be happy all the time.