There’s a great article by Rick Moody in the current Believer about The Danielson Famile, a band Ben is particularly fond of and who we’ve seen rock out live.
It would probably save everyone a bunch of time if I just wrote, "What Rick Moody said," but because it got me so worked up in the good kind of way I'll yak on anyway.
If it weren't for Ben, I might still be listening to Rick James and Shalimar. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Danielsons at first. They are very passionately Christian and they sing about it, although it’s not the first thing you notice. (And I’d be hard pressed to judge them on this front as I’m married to one – I don’t want to get into a discussion of politics here, but it’s my feeling that there’s a segment of Christians out there who give the impression that they alone define what Christianity is, and it is my opinion that if Ben is not that, and leans pointedly to the left, there are probably a couple others too.) Much like Moody, I could listen to just about anything lyrically if the music itself moves me, but in this case it took a few listenings for me to get down with both the music and the lyrics, and Moody's discussion of their appeal was precise and perfect. They really do put on an awesome show - I especially enjoyed the choreography, which for stretches was simply just the girls turning their heads from left to right over and over again.
What’s most interesting about the article is how he uses it to segue into discussing the issue of having a spiritual life and making real art at the same time. (The Danielsons are no Creed.) I give a lot of credit to Moody for discussing his faith publicly in this way. I would describe my own in a similarly across-the-board kind of way as Moody’s, and I too, have what I think is perhaps not doubt so much as uncertainty about the specifics, an uncertainty I have grown comfortable with as I've come to decide, for myself only, that I believe in something greater than myself and that my little mind might not figure out the exact details in this lifetime. Many of the characters in my fiction have some sort of spiritual life, whether they're struggling or they're certain, and it's been interesting to me that critics have occasionally praised me for my satire. It's not that I don't intend a certain amount of the humor on this front or any other, but no matter how many times I look up satire in the dictionary I still fail to see how it applies. It's as baffling to me as it must be to them to consider that a "literary" writer might actually be earnest about such a thing. So I hereby out myself. I believe. Whatever.
Rock on with your bad blessed self, R.M.