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June 14, 2006

The Angel of Death

A blond woman in a white raincoat wanders through the Garrison Keillor/Robert Altman film "Prairie Home Companion" -- occasionally cozying up to someone...who subsequently expires. She contributes a few religious/philosophical platitudes as she makes her rounds.Angel_of_Death.jpg

The film -- which is warm and folksy but slight and a bit deficient in, of all things, irony -- contains, according to Catholic Online, some "mild irreligiosity." (The Church did not insist, however, that it be labeled "fiction.") Certainly, it does not seem another one of those There's-A-Meaning-Behind-It-All, which-if-we-weren't-so-cynical-we-could-see, films. Hence, the Angel of Death here is probably to be taken as a literary device, an allusion, a metaphor.

My question is whether religion-reduced-to-metaphor qualifies as belief's last gasp or as a harbinger of disbelief's triumph. Is it, in other (very different) words, the pathogen or the vaccine?

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at June 14, 2006 2:58 PM


Did you think it was odd that the Angel of Death would take a commission. That business of asking her to kill the Axeman seemed gratuitious, vindictive, and pointless since that didn't prevent his action from taking place. (What action, though?) The Angel of Death takes commissions?

Posted by: pablo at June 15, 2006 1:28 PM

good point. and characteristic of the uncharacteristic sloppiness of the Keillor script.

Posted by: mitch at June 15, 2006 3:07 PM

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