I want to draw your attention to a currently free but presumably soon (as in 2011) to be not free section at NYTimes.com, “Opinionator.” For every writing class I teach I always choose an interesting article, usually an op-ed piece, magazine essay or blog post as a means of getting the students minds engaged and ready to tackle the other tasks of the day. This is particularly important this semester as my classes are either at nine in the morning, or seven at night. When I don’t already have a piece in mind for discussion, I almost always turn to “Opinionator.” There, several Times writers get to sound-off in an online-only column about, it seems, whatever they want.
In the last few days, two entries in particular have caught my attention and, I’m sure, will be any of interest to any readers for whom the intersection between faith and culture/public life is a concern. That is, presumably, all of you.
An amazing press release from Christian Eminem imitator rapper KJ-52, which needs no comment:
KJ-52 has an uncanny ability to reach the youth of today in a clever and hip manner. It may be through the subject matter of his music, his tech savviness that connects hims to his fans on a continual basis (twitter, blogs, etc.), or his ultimate mission to point others to God through his work. With the release of his new project “Five Two Television,” his weekly video devotions, and currently touring on the “Modern Day Heroes” tour with Group 1 Crew, KJ-52 is continually staying busy reaching out to his fans. We are excited to announce KJ-52′s follow up single to his hit “End Of My Rope” titled “Calling You” (Featuring J.R.). “Calling You” will be hitting the rock airwaves 2/26!
KJ-52 describes “Calling You” as a single, “filled with text message speak (LOL, TTYL, etc.) and is an analogy of God’s text message (His word) and how God seeks to have us in a relationship and just like others try to get ahold of us with a text. God does the same thing with his text (The Bible).”
Don’t miss out on this catchy and relevant single “Calling You”! Seeking add commitments for 2/26 at Rock radio!
The CCM Patrol has gotten so few tips lately that we were starting to doubt that shit like this was still being made. Alas. And yay.
Certainly by now you’ve heard the Buzz. Or, heard of Buzz. Ummh. Heard the buzz about Buzz?
Whatever, Google has a new social network-y thing out which they’ve been kind enough to drop into your Gmail inbox. If you don’t see it yet, you can probably go here to activate it. Once you get Buzz you will see a new option appear right below your inbox with a cute little graphic that looks a lot like the Google Talk graphic but with a few primary colors inside it.
And before your very eyes your Gmail inbox has been transformed into a social networking hub. You already had the “conversation” style email interface, then Google went and tossed in a IM client in the form of Talk, or Gchat, as it has come to be called, and now you have Buzz. Not only does Google know everything about you (as evidenced, also, by their confidence in getting your Buzz started by suggesting a few friends), but now you never need to go to another website ever.
You don’t have to be a Saints fan to enjoy the French Quarter getting a reason to celebrate. From Mississippi, I was torn between my love for the Mannings and the fact that everyone cheers for the Saints in my neck of the woods. I was pulling for Peyton to get a second ring, but when the gold and black pulled it out at the end, I had a grin on my face.
Peek inside the celebration, and just remember, no one knows how to party like the Big Easy.
A few things I’ll be thinking about this week:
Jane Mayer’s New Yorker story on Eric Holder and the KSM trial. The phony controversy over the trial still gets my blood boiling, and I hope for a good look at what went on behind the scenes.
This Sullivan post on what’s really behind the Tea Party movement: Christianism. Of course. If you need proof, look no further than this jaw-droppingly insane speech by Joseph Farah at their convention.
Today’s New York Times editorial on the deficit.
Melinda Henneberger’s beautiful obituary for a beloved writing professor.
Today in Slate, Jacob Weisberg writes on the topic that has energized and infuriated me for a number of months: the seeming incoherence of the American public about what they want from government. Like I’ve done on this blog, he compares the interaction between the electorate and the federal government to California, where the people demand services and refuse to pay for them. It’s feeling one can’t help but come away with after watching Obama’s first year and reading the James Fallows story I praised a few weeks ago.
I’m a little wary of the “ungovernnable America” narrative advanced in Weisberg’s piece, simply because it feels like a slow-motion shot of liberal consensus congealing. It’s an absurdly easy argument to make if you’re a progressive who more or less supports Obama’s domestic agenda: Americans voted him in to fix these things, and now that they aren’t sure about how things are going, they’re just childish idiots who can’t make up their minds. But while I think there’s more to the current political crisis than just American ignorance and double-mindedness, I’m afraid Weisberg is right: people have so little understanding of political reality that they frequently support incompatible ideas, and opportunistic politicians are only too willing to indulge them.
While the Democrats have their own little lies about the costs and effectiveness of government programs, it’s the right that is currently preying on the ill-informed electorate. The naked pandering of the Republican mainstream is already well established, so I won’t dwell on that. (They simultaneously champion tax cuts and increased Medicare spending, bitch about the deficit and refuse to touch out-of-control military spending.) But even more principled conservatives, who really would make hard economic choices in support of their goal of limited government, have incompatible positions. Health care reform is a fantastic example: they oppose the current reform bill partly because of its impact on the deficit, all while the status quo they idolize has an even more devastating effect on federal spending. Other times, they’re just poliically unserious in assuming we can just let major problems go until the free market decides to do something about them.
In today’s USA Today, Palin defends her upcoming appearance at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, which has come under fire for its overpriced tickets and other evidences of profiteering. Representatives Michele Bachman and Marsha Blackburn have canceled their appearances because of the event’s sketchiness, and some tea party groups have announced that they will not be participating.
Palin’s column presumably answers the question of why, when everyone else is backing out, she has chosen to remain on board. But instead of dispelling worry among tea partiers that the convention is a plot by a slick operator from Tennessee to get into their pockets, she launches into a blathering paean to the movement, defending its grassroots cred and gushing about its patriotism.
Which is entirely beside the point. The question I and savvy tea partiers have is not about whether or not the Tea Party movement is a real grassroots phenomenon. We want to know if this particular event being touted as an “official” tea party convention is on the level, since we know hardly anything about the people organizing it or where all the money from those exorbitant ticket prices will be going. Palin dismisses those questions like she dismisses all reasonable questions: by questioning the motives of the interlocutor or by just changing the subject.
A good thing started last night, even if you missed it.
Long Beach, CA. exports its best musical product to the East Coast for the next week as folk-rockers Delta Spirit try out tracks from their second LP, “History from Below” in a sequence of dates in the teeny of tiny clubs.
Matthew Paul Turner is a writer, blogger, and speaker in Nashville. He is the author of Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost and Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess.
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