I’ve long known why I like Will Ferrell movies — he always plays it straight. No matter what character he adopts, he rides it as far as it’ll take him, never feeling the need that he has to wink to the audience, to let us in on the secret that he really isn’t that way himself, that he’s just playing a character.
Steven Ramey was the 2012-13 President of the Southeast Region of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Here he gives the Presidential Plenary Address for its annual (held in South Carolina in March of 2013) entitled, “Accidental Favorites: The Implicit in the Study of Religions.” Although not referencing Culture on the Edge explicitly, the themes Ramey discusses are directly related to many of the group’s–as Jonathan Z. Smith named them in his own career–persistent preoccupations.
(Thanks to Andie Alexander, a graduate of the University of Alabama’s Department of Religious Studies, for filming Steven.)