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17 December 2018

Exorcisms Have Been Part Of Christianity For Centuries

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A painting showing Saint Francis Borgia, a 16th century saint, performing an exorcism.
A painting showing Saint Francis Borgia, a 16th century saint, performing an exorcism. (Francisco Goya)
The Exorcist,” a horror film released 45 years ago, is a terrifying depiction of supernatural evil. The film tells the story of a young American girl who is possessed by a demon and eventually exorcised by a Catholic priest.

Many viewers were drawn in by the film’s portrayal of exorcism in Christianity. As a scholar of Christian theology, my own research into the history of Christian exorcisms reveals how the notion of engaging in battle against demons has been an important way that Christians have understood their faith and the world.

Early and medieval Christianity

The Bible’s account of the life of Jesus features several exorcism stories. The Gospels, reflecting views common in Judaism in the first century A.D., portray demons as spirits opposed to God that haunt, possess or tempt people to evil.

Exorcism by St. Exupere, Bishop of Toulouse, France, at the beginning of fifth century.
Exorcism by St. Exupere, Bishop of Toulouse, France, at the beginning of fifth century. (Philippe Alès, CC BY-SA)
Possessed individuals are depicted as displaying bizarre and erratic behaviors. In the Gospel of Luke, for example, a boy is possessed by a demon that makes him foam at the mouth and experience violent spasms. Jesus is shown to have a unique power to cast out demons and promises that his followers can do the same.

In the centuries that followed, accounts of using Jesus’ name for casting out demons are common. Origen, an early Christian theologian, writing in the second century, explains how the name of Jesus is used by Christians to expel “evil spirits from … souls and bodies.”

Over the years exorcism came to be associated more widely with the Christian faith. Several Christian writers mention exorcisms taking place publicly as a way to convince people to become Christians. They argued that people should convert because the exorcisms Christians performed were more effective than those of “pagans.”

Early Christian texts mention various exorcism methods that Christians used, including making the sign of the cross over possessed persons or even breathing on them.

Minor exorcism

Beginning some time in the early Middle Ages, specific priests were uniquely trained and sanctioned for exorcism. This remains the case today in Roman Catholicism, while Eastern Orthodox traditions allow all priests to perform exorcisms.

Early Christians also practiced what is sometimes called a “minor exorcism.” This type of exorcism is not for those considered to be acutely possessed.

This took place before or during the ritual of baptism, a ceremony whereby someone officially joins the Church. The practice emerges from the assumption that all people are generally susceptible to evil spiritual forces. For this reason some sort of prayer or statement against the power of the devil would often be recited during catechesis, a period of preparation prior to baptism, baptism, or both.

Demons and Protestants

Between the 15th to 17th centuries, there was an increased concern about demons in Western Europe. Not only are there abundant accounts of priests exorcising individuals from this time period, but also of animals, inanimate objects and even land.

A woodcut from 1598 shows an exorcism performed on a woman by a priest and his assistant, with a demon emerging from her mouth.
A woodcut from 1598 shows an exorcism performed on a woman by a priest and his assistant, with a demon emerging from her mouth. (Pierre Boaistuau, et al., Histoires prodigieuses et memorables, extraictes de plusieurs fameux autheurs, Grecs, & Latins, sacrez & prophanes (Paris, 1598), vol. 1.)
The narratives are also much more detailed. When someone possessed by a demon was confronted by an exorcist priest, it was believed that the demon would be aggravated and cause the individual to engage in more intense and violent behavior. There are reports of physical altercations, floating around the room, and speaking or screaming loudly and angrily during the exorcism process.

Protestants, who were skeptical of many Catholic rituals, combated demonic possession with more informal practices such as impromptu prayer for the afflicted individual.

During the Enlightenment, between 17th to 19th centuries, Europeans began to cast doubt on so-called “superstitious” elements of religion. Many intellectuals and even church leaders argued that people’s experiences of demons could be explained away by psychology and other sciences. Exorcism began to be viewed by many as unnecessary or even dangerous.

Exorcism today

Many Christian denominations still practice some form of minor exorcism. Before people are baptized in the Episcopal Church, for example, they are asked: “Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?

Exorcism is practiced by Christians across the world
Exorcism is practiced by Christians across the world (Lutsenko_Oleksandr/Shutterstock.com)
The Catholic Church still has an active ministry devoted to performing exorcisms of possessed individuals. The current practice includes safeguards that require, among others, persons suspected of being possessed to undergo medical and psychiatric evaluation before an exorcism takes place.

Exorcism is particularly common in Pentecostalism, a form of Christianity that has grown rapidly in recent decades. This branch of Christianity emphasizes spiritual experience in everyday life. Pentecostals practice something akin to exorcism but which is typically called “deliverance.” Pentecostals maintain that possessed persons can be delivered through prayer by other Christians or recognized spiritual leader. Pentecostalism is an international Christian tradition and specific deliverance practices can vary widely around the world.

In the United States belief in demons remains high. Over half of all Americans believe that demons can possess individuals.

So, despite modern-day skepticism, exorcism remains a common practice of Christians around the world.The Conversation


About Today's Contributor:

S. Kyle Johnson, Doctoral Student in Systematic Theology, Boston College


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

16 December 2018

The Importance Of Thoughtful Resistance In The Age Of Trump

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U.S. President Donald Trump is seen here arguing with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office of the White House, who are off-camera
U.S. President Donald Trump is seen here arguing with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office of the White House, who are off-camera. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
As resistance to Donald Trump’s presidency continues to dominate American political life, it’s worth asking the question: what exactly is being resisted?
Answers can range from Trump’s reckless and erratic behaviour to his racist and xenophobic views and the outright corruption of his administration, to name just a few.
This means what people resist and also the way they resist can be varied, although outrage is often its dominant emotion.
Read more: Resistance is a long game
Despite the legitimate need for resistance, however, resisting Trump angrily feeds into his victim complex, strengthening his appeal to his base.

Given this reality, those resisting need to be aware of whether their acts of resistance offer real alternatives to Trumpism or rather play into the president’s hands by further amplifying anger and division.

To make resistance more effective, it is important to rediscover contemplative forms of activism. This type of activism has played a prominent role in the history of social change but has been less popular in the age of Trump.

Contemplative activism

What I mean here by “contemplative activism” are forms of social action that emphasize critical, first-person inquiry. In this way, our internal thoughts and emotions are linked to creating positive change in the outer world. Numerous examples exist in human history, such as Mohandas K. Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaign in the Indian independence struggle and Martin Luther King Jr.‘s pacifist approach to civil rights.

In the same vein as Gandhi and King, a lesser-known figure in American contemplative activism is Thomas Merton. Merton, a Trappist monk, prolific writer and social justice advocate, involved himself wholeheartedly in the pressing issues of his time, including civil rights, the Vietnam War and nuclear proliferation.

Thomas Merton, who died in 1968, was a social justice advocate.
Thomas Merton, who died in 1968, was a social justice advocate. (John Howard Griffin/Flickr, CC BY)
So significant was Merton’s impact that Pope Francis, during his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, mentioned Merton as a notable American and source of inspiration for many.

How might the work of Merton and other contemplative activists be relevant in the age of Trump? Specifically, Merton does not shy away from addressing our own individual complicity in the creation of the violence and despair around us.

Delving into the horrors of his own time in the essay Is the world a problem?, Merton writes:
The world is …a complex of responsibilities and options made out of the loves, the hates, the fears, the joys, the hopes, the greed, the cruelty, the kindness, the faith, the trust, the suspicion of all. In the last analysis, if there is a stupid war in Vietnam because nobody trusts anybody, this is in part because I myself am defensive, suspicious, untrusting…
In addition, the contemplative activism of Merton helps us more clearly see the underlying realities of complex social problems, such as the enduring persistence of fear and greed.

Trump is not an anomaly

This type of contemplative clarity can help us understand how Trump is not an anomaly in American history. While he may behave differently than many modern U.S. presidents, this difference is based more on style than substance.

For instance, Trump’s policies are largely within the Republican mainstream, and he represents some basic and ugly truths about American history (all which far predate him), whether it’s white rage and resentment, delusions about America’s greatness or the savage effects of inequality in a predatory capitalist system.

Trump speaks during a meeting with Democratic leaders in the Oval Office of the White House on Dec. 11, 2018.
Trump speaks during a meeting with Democratic leaders in the Oval Office of the White House on Dec. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In essence, Trump represents the stereotypical ugly American that many U.S. citizens have played a role in creating. Trump unmasks the ugliness of the United States and lays it bare for all to see.

With this realization, Americans must reflect on what resistance means when the “enemy” is its own history and its own collective ugliness. Instead of seeing this situation as debilitating, it can be seen as liberating, as it frees people to resist and create alternatives to Trump in a less reactive way.

So while many of Trump’s policies need to be challenged and resisted, Trump is more a symbol and symptom of a larger dysfunction, rather than its root cause.

We are the problem and the solution

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death. His call to fight injustice through a clear-eyed assessment of our collective social condition and critical self-examination is needed now more than ever.

It’s time to move beyond seeing Trump as the defining problem, by both contextualizing his place in the American social fabric and understanding how our actions can either alleviate or worsen toxic political climates in the United States and around the world.

Beyond resistance, it is more powerful to work for an inspiring vision of change. In the effort to defeat Trumpism and movements like it, we can be either part of the problem or the solution.The Conversation

About Today's Contributor:

Ajit Pyati, Associate Professor of Information and Media Studies, Western University


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

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14 December 2018

UK MPs Call for Ban on Human Consumption of Dog Meat Following USA Ban

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The drawing of WDA of Sully, the loyal service dog of former US President George HW Bush, to celebrate the passing of legal ban of dog meat consumption
The drawing of WDA of Sully, the loyal service dog of former US President George HW Bush, to celebrate the passing of legal ban of dog meat consumption
World Dog Alliance (WDA), which aims to push forward legislation in 100 countries consecutively, is happy to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives' vote through legislation in the Farm Bill, which outlaws the human consumption of dog and cat meat in America, has prompted cross-party support in the U.K. from Members of Parliament who also want to see the practice banned in the U.K. 
The U.K. government has stated previously that it would look closely at the decision taken in the U.S. Now that the U.S. legislation has passed, the World Dog Alliance is urging the government to make sure the U.K. remains a world leader in animal welfare by introducing a U.K. ban. 
The amendment to the U.S. Farm Bill states that: "No person may knowingly slaughter a dog or cat for human consumption."
⏩ Those who violate the law will be subject to a fine of up to $5,000
U.S. President Donald Trump will host the signing ceremony of the Farm Bill at the White House within 10 days following the passage of the bill. 
The passing of the U.S. Farm Bill highlights the country's commitment to outlawing the practice globally and cements the USA as a global champion of animal welfare.
"The mission of the World Dog Alliance has always been to not only legally ban the consumption of dog meat, but to also change attitudes and help save canine lives."- Genlin, the founder of World Dog Alliance
The legislation signifies success for international charity World Dog Alliance, which has been driving the campaign to outlaw the practice globally. 
There is no law against the consumption of dog meat in the U.K. While there have been no cases of dog meat consumption in the U.K., the WDA is calling for legislative change that will close the legal loophole and join the USA in outlawing the horrific practice. The WDA believes that outlawing the practice in the U.K. will help with their campaign to ban the practice in countries where it takes place. 
The legal ban of dog meat consumption enables the U.S. to acquire the leading position of the U.S. in fighting for animal welfare and defending morality. This sets the direction of human progress and lays one pivotal milestone of animal protection.
Dog meat ban: MPs call for UK to follow the US in outlawing the practice
Dog meat ban: MPs call for UK to follow the US in outlawing the practice (Via BBC)
Extract from The Bang of the Gavel:
US legislation of banning dog meat consumption will influence 100 countries

World Dog Alliance was established in 2014, aiming at bring legislation of banning dog meat consumption into reality, creating a trend of such ban in the globe and changing the destiny of 30 million dogs which are to consumed as food per year. After the passage of a legal ban on dog meat consumption, WDA will further its persuasion on the Committee on Foreign Affairs to echo with the bill of H. Res. 401 of ‘urging all nations to outlaw the dog and cat meat trade and to enforce existing laws against such trade’. In the meantime, WDA is initiating movements to ban dog meat consumption in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and China. 

The United Kingdom
In the UK, it is legal to consume dog meat if one kills that dog in a humane way. Such loophole in the UK, a country which is relatively advanced when it comes to the protection of animal welfare, is shocking and unbelievable. While watching closely over the progress of legislation in the US, WDA announced to the media in the United Kingdom that it would promote the legislation of banning dog meat consumption on 6th August, sparking coverage and heated discussion from different media like The Sun and Daily Mail. Such gesture inspired members of parliament to defend Britain’s leading status in animal protection and stimulated waves of opinions to legislate on this issue. Even the Prime Minister Theresa May herself also made a statement, indicating that the UK would soon begin the legislation process after the US in a bid to provide comprehensive protection to British people’s favorite companion. The movement in Britain aims at blocking legal loopholes. WDA hosted an event for parliament members with over 20 parliament members attending. It is expected an independent bill will be proposed in January, 2019.

France
There are also loopholes regarding consuming dog meat in France. France only limits illegal slaughtering so it is not illegal to eat dog in France. In 1870, there were shops selling specifically dog meat in France and there are also alleged cases of eating dog meat nowadays. The habit of consuming dog meat still exists in French Polynesia. Every year on the French National Day, people in Tahiti will kill and eat dogs for celebration. WDA will meet with the vice president of the Groupe d'études condition animale, Typhanie Degois, in January 2019 to promote the amendment of the legislation to add banning of dog meat consumption.

Japan
Little do people know that Japan is a country where it is legal to eat dog meat. There are more than 100 restaurants, supermarkets and frozen meat merchants selling dog meat in Japan. The official records of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have data on imported dog meat for the past 15 years. The World Dog Alliance first grasped the information on imported Japanese dog meat, and then went to Nishikawakuchi, Ikebukuro, Saitama, Japan to record the supply of dog meat in restaurants and stores, and sent it to Senator Oshima Kyushu as evidence for the debate in the parliament. It is expected that with the joint effort of parliament members and animal protection groups, the legislative process of banning dog meat consumption in Japan can be completed before 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Vietnam
90% of Vietnamese love to eat dog meat, and even think that it is necessary to abuse the dog to death to make the meat tastier. The prevalent views asking for a legal ban in the US and UK, as well as their criticism against such poor behaviour, led to a potential proposal of banning the consumption of dog meat in Hanoi by the municipal government. The World Dog Alliance will meet with the Director of the Hanoi Municipal Government and Veterinary Bureau in March 2019, hoping to implement law on full ban of dog meat consumption in Hanoi in 2021.

South Korea
60% of South Koreans consume dog meat, and there are more than 2,000 dog farms in the country, slaughtering 5 million dogs a year. Although young people in South Korea loathe eating dog meat, there is still no legal ban on treating dogs as food. Fortunately, under the unremitting efforts of the World Dog Alliance and the local animal protection group CARE, South Korea’s first in ever case of a dog farm farmer was sentenced for killing a dog. The Bucheon City Court ruled that "meat consumption is not a legitimate reason to kill a dog", indicating that dogs are no longer considered as economic animals for slaughtering. The Watchdog Plan which WDA and CARE carry out together continues to rectify illegal farm in different cities. WDA also proactively work with the Korean Cangyuan to promote amending regulations to prevent eating dog in law.

China
There is only 20% of the Chinese population which treats dogs as food and they mostly live in second- and third-tier cities. There are no shops selling dog meat in civilized cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. Therefore, the World Dog Alliance recommends to push forward legislation against eating dog meat in Shanghai in 2019 as an example to the entire country. At the same time, WDA also publishes a white paper on increasing the punishment of stealing dogs in a hope to put an end to the black industry chain of dog meat.

Along with the success of legislation in the US, the World Dog Alliance has now planned a development blue print covering 100 countries including the UK, France, Commonwealth of Nations, the European Union, the Scandinavia, and the French overseas provinces. The founder of WDA, Genlin, states that: “the mission of World Dog Alliance has proceeded to the second stage from simply banning dog meat consumption legally to changing human society and saving canine lives. If the humankind wants to create an ecological world in which we can peacefully live all animals, we have to start with respecting the right of living of o companion animal and escalating such respect to a common norm. There should be no exception!
For the Yulin dog meat festival, some dogs are stolen from their owners and beaten or bled to death. Then they’re hung upside down from hooks, a slit cut from their anus and skin ripped off their bodies, and sold to be eaten
For the Yulin dog meat festival, some dogs are stolen from their owners and beaten or bled to death. Then they’re hung upside down from hooks, a slit cut from their anus and skin ripped off their bodies, and sold to be eaten (Via LoupDargent.info)

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Scholastic Acquires Alyssa Milano's Activism-Themed Children's Book Series

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Scholastic willl publish actor and activist Alyssa Milano's debut children's book series "HOPE"
Scholastic willl publish actor and activist Alyssa Milano's debut children's book series "HOPE" (Photo Credit: Dirk Franke)
Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education, and media company, has acquired actor and activist Alyssa Milano's debut children's book series. 

Hope, to be illustrated by Eric S. Keyes and published on October 1, 2019, is an empowering fiction series centered on a spunky eleven-year-old girl named Hope who seeks to create social change in her community. 
Scholastic Audio will release the audiobook narrated by Alyssa Milano simultaneously with the hardcover edition.
"As a mother, I can't think of a more important time to let kids know that their voice matters. I'm so excited about my new character, Hope Roberts. She believes in dreaming big. She's brave and strong and confident in her abilities—but she's also a girl just trying to survive middle school. I'm thrilled to be working with Scholastic on this empowering book series and can't wait for everyone to meet Hope," said Alyssa Milano.
"I've been a huge fan of Alyssa Milano's for years and I was so excited from the very moment she shared her idea and vision for HOPE—a series centered around a smart and passionate character who is ready to conquer the world," said Debra Dorfman, Vice President and Publisher, Global Licensing, Brands and Media, Scholastic. "Alyssa is such positive role model and I admire how she uses her voice and her platform to help those in need around the world, especially children. We at Scholastic are thrilled to share her inspiring and hopeful message to kids everywhere."
Scholastic has acquired actor and activist Alyssa Milano's debut children's book series. "HOPE," an empowering fiction series centered on a spunky eleven-year-old girl named Hope who seeks to create social change in her community.
Scholastic has acquired actor and activist Alyssa Milano's debut children's book series. "HOPE," an empowering fiction series centered on a spunky eleven-year-old girl named Hope who seeks to create social change in her community.
About Hope: 
Meet Hope Roberts. She's eleven years old, and she wants to be an astrophysicist. She loves swimming, Galaxy Girl comic books, and her two rescue dogs. 

Hope believes it's always a good day to champion a cause, defend an underdog, and save the future. And most of all, she believes in dreaming big. 

She's smart, fearless, and confident in her abilities. But though Hope seems super strong on the outside, there's another side of her, too. She's just a regular girl trying to survive middle school. 

Relatable and wholly inspirational as well as aspirational, Hope's can-do attitude will inspire a generation of do-gooders.

About Alyssa Milano: 
Actress and activist Alyssa Milano has spent almost her entire life in the public eye. A famous child actor, she has continued to work throughout her adulthood in both television and film, most notably starring in the wildly popular television series "Who's the Boss" and "Charmed." 

Alyssa is also a lifelong activist and is passionate about fighting for human rights around the world. In 2003, UNICEF invited Alyssa to become a National Ambassador in recognition of her charitable work on behalf of children. Ever since then, Alyssa has been a champion of children's rights, working closely with UNICEF to raise money and awareness and provide aid to the children who need it most all over the world. 

Alyssa also speaks to kids in schools around the country about the importance of voting and teaches them how to fill out a ballot because she believes it's never too early to be civic-minded. 

Most recently, Alyssa is known for popularizing the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter, sparking the massive viral movement. 

She was named one of the 2017 Persons of the Year in Time magazine alongside other prestigious activists. 

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids.

Illustrator Bio:
Eric S. Keyes is currently an animator and character designer on The Simpsons, joining the show in its first season. He has worked on many other shows throughout the years, including King of the Hill, The Critic, and Futurama

He was also a designer and art director on Disney's Recess. This is his first time illustrating a children's book. 

Eric lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
SOURCE: Scholastic


13 December 2018

Why Every Writer Is The Tardis (And Every Reader Is A Companion)

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The Tardis
The Tardis (Image via LoupDargent.info)
I am a writer. By the title of this article, you might immediately assume two other things about me:
  • I am a fan of Doctor Who
  • I am a blue police box
One of your assumptions would be accurate. When I suggest that every writer is the Tardis, I do not imply that they are blue, that they are hollow or that they pretend to serve law enforcement.

But in most respects, writers are Tardises.

Bigger on the inside

The first thing one notices when stepping into the Tardis is...come on, say it all together with me...it's bigger on the inside.

The first thing one notices when conversing with a writer is that he is bigger on the inside.

A writer accumulates a vast array of knowledge with every writing project. In fact, research is half the writing process. For instance:
  • When I wrote my own book on happiness, I read several dozen academic journal articles and at least a dozen other self-help books.
  • When I ghostwrote a true story of corporate espionage for a client, I learned a lot about HVAC, trades regulations, subcontracting and how an airport is built (among other things).
  • When I ghostwrote the hidden story behind the Underground Railroad and a forgotten town on the US-Canada border, this Canadian learned a lot more about American history than most Americans know.
I've written about mortgages and credit scores, about fertility and learning disabilities, about PTSD and medical procurement. I've written about the steel industry, ball bearings, the legal profession, various Christian themes, anger management, virtual reality, home renovations and LEED certification. The entire list would take up a few pages, but you get the idea.

I've forgotten much more than I remember, but I remember more than most non-writers are exposed to.

"The first thing one notices when conversing with a writer is that he is bigger on the inside."
"The first thing one notices when conversing with a writer is that he is bigger on the inside."

Finicky

Ever meet a Tardis that wasn't finicky? It will take you where it wants to take you, rarely where you want to go. As long as you are happy being lead around, you'll get along just fine.

Ever meet a writer that wasn't finicky? Oh, yeah. We dwell on each word, determined to get it just right. We have our own ideas of how a story should go. Yes, editors are our friends...but we curse them for every comma they change.

When it comes time to write a screenplay from a novel, sparks fly (which is occasionally another ... um ... endearing feature of the Tardis).

Travels in time

In case it's lost on anyone that the Tardis is a time machine, it is. That's the whole point. It travels in space and time, taking its usually willing occupants with it to the near and distant past, and to the near and distant future.

It's taken the Doctor and his companions more than once to New New York, and several times to Victorian England. It took us to the Jagoreth space ship's explosion that created life on Earth, and it's taken us to the end of the Earth.

Like the Tardis, writers travel in time. We write about things that have already happened. As we write, we are transported.

We write about worlds that are yet to be created. As we write, we are transported.

How is this possible? What alien technology, known only to writers, allows us to travel in time?

Well, it's not technology. It's actually a not-so-secret time-travel manual I published on my own blog. But, sorry, you have to be a writer to make use of it. The good news is that you can become a writer if you are sufficiently motivated.

"Like the Tardis, writers travel in time. We write about things that have already happened. As we write, we are transported."
"Like the Tardis, writers travel in time. We write about things that have already happened. As we write, we are transported."

Travels in space

Of course, the Tardis travels not just in time, but in space. For instance, New New York is not even on Planet Earth.

The finicky Tardis will take its occupants whenever and wherever it feels like. By the way, that's what we writers do. You never know what spine-thrilling adventure the next chapter holds.

Reinvents itself

As we saw when the Tardis finally made its appearance in season 11, it looked totally new, both on the inside and on the outside.

"Oh, you've redecorated!"

And that's not the first Tardis redecoration. Every so often, the Tardis reinvents itself.

Writers do that, too. Consider Anne Rice, famous for her vampire novels. She also wrote Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Spoiler alert: there are no vampires.

She has also branched into erotica, and I'll go out on a limb to suggest the vampires are rare in those works.

As you can tell by my own list of a few of the topics I've written on, a ghostwriter reinvents himself for each new project.

Every reader is a companion

If every writer is the Tardis, every reader is a companion. The writer takes the reader on a trip. She takes them where and when she feels like it. The reader has three choices:
  • Follow along, as most companions do for as long as possible.
  • Do what Barbara and Ian did, what Martha and several other companions did – decide to stop travelling.
  • Follow Rosita's lead, and stay off from the start, in which case they aren't companions.
On the wings of the Tardis (Yes, I know that's not anatomically correct) companions get to travel in time and in space.

On the wings of the writer (also not anatomically correct, most of the time) readers get to travel in time and in space. Until they get off. Or they might choose not to open the book...in which case they aren't readers.

Like the Doctor's companions, readers are observers to events. They don't change things. They don't interfere. They don't alter the course of history. They merely watch and listen.

Unlike the Doctor's companions, readers actually follow those rules of non-interference. In fact, readers are like companions who actually behave.

The same cannot be said of us rule-breaking writers, who have been known to be liberal with our interpretations of history (but somehow seem to avoid the paradox that our interference doesn't actually change history). Someday, I must ask Katherine Neville how she does that.

I feel I should apologize for not being a blue police box. If I was, I would actually be a Tardis. But, I'm not, so I'll have to settle for being a metaphor when I say that every writer is the Tardis. If you are a writer, add that to your CV: Tardis.

About Today's Contributor:

David Leonhardt - "Bigger on the inside"
David Leonhardt - "Bigger on the inside"
David Leonhardt is a ghostwriter and editor, who also runs THGM Writing Services. In that role, he coordinates a team of Tardises, serving individuals and small business clients. And that's something even the Doctor hasn't done. Yet.

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11 December 2018

Hollywood Icon Val Kilmer Joins BigSpeak's A-List Speakers

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Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer (Image via BigSpeak)
He dazzled you as Iceman, he blew you away as Jim Morrison, and saved the world as Batman, and now Val Kilmer is taking on a new role as an exclusive keynote speaker with BigSpeak Speakers Bureau.
Last year, Kilmer hosted screenings of his one-man-show turned film, Citizen Twain. He will now be taking this performance on tour for the public through BigSpeak. See him in Citizen Twain or learn about his life as a Hollywood insider and his battle with cancer.
Kilmer became an international film star in the 1980s with Top Secret! and Real Genius. He's best known for his blockbuster films Top GunWillow, and The Saint

He was accepted into Juilliard's drama department at 17, making him the youngest acceptance to date. He appeared on Broadway in "The Slab Boys" with Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn. Subsequently, he joined The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, starring in Hamlet in 1988.

Kilmer's film credits include: 

  • Doc Holliday in Tombstone 
  • Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's biopic The Doors  
  • the starring role in The Saint 
  • Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever
  • starring opposite Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in Heat 
  • co-starring with Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau 
  • starring in the thriller The Ghost and the Darkness 
⏩ He also lent his voice to the first Dreamworks animated film The Prince of Egypt.

Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995)
Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995) (Image via IMDB)
Kilmer is currently working on Top Gun's long-awaited sequel, Top Gun: Maverick. The film is in production and set to be released in 2020. 

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