stack of bibles by Joe Bustillos

Video Mondays: The Love of Language and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Video Mondays: The Love of Language and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

I grew up with a pencil in my hand drawing whenever I got the chance. Siblings and cousins running about my aunt’s backyard trampling her flowers and plants in their wake, I was in the kitchen drawing robots and monsters using a green plastic template/ruler that my mom had given to me. Drawing, not reading and certainly not writing, was my first love. But then as a high school sophomore I became part of the 1970s Jesus Movement and it became very important to me that I read (and understand) my Bible and in the process I fell in love with words and language. It wasn’t an easy transition from images to words, but there was something about the turn of phrase used in the Bible, in the King James Version of the Bible, to be specific, that intrigued and challenged me. And in more than one way, this love of words and language changed my life.

More than religion, or science, or politics, I’ve come to believe that storytelling and language is more important and more powerful and that storytelling is the engine that enables religion and science and politics to exist. In the Beginning was the Story or the Narrative… Listening to the 19th Century Language used in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs reminded me of how powerful, carefully chosen words can be, even in the midst of brutal and bloody tales. It stands in obvious contrast to the stark, and often brief lives portrayed, this use of careful, poetic language. It almost makes me want to read The Canterbury Tales… almost.

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