New York Magazine ran a trend piece Wednesday about “normcore,” a supposedly anti-fashion fashion trend supposedly emerging among beautiful New York young people. The aesthetic can be summed up by Steve Jobs turtlenecks, garish-white Jerry Seinfeld sneakers, and your dad’s sky-blue weekend jeans.
Here’s writer Fiona Duncan’s explanation:
Jeremy Lewis, the founder/editor of […]
Pop music is a sure bet to keep my toddler son happy in the car, so we end up listening to a lot of Top 40 radio as we drive around town running errands. When I first heard Miley Cyrus’ latest single, “Wrecking Ball,” I couldn’t deny the emotional effect the song had on me (despite […]
First Things editor Joseph Bottum has an editorial in the new issue of the magazine that repeats the consensus of a lot of conservatives who can’t quite cave to the worst impulses of the right’s burgeoning anti-Muslim fervor, but also can’t pass up the chance to use the “Ground Zero mosque” as an opportunity to score against their ideological opponents. It’s too beautiful a chance to portray Obama as out of touch with the majority of Americans and, worse, on the side of Islam. Bottum calls the proposed construction of the Islamic community center “wildly offensive” but “wildly constitutional.” Later on, he throws in a couple of barbs about unborn babies and the Greek Orthodox church at Ground Zero that is mired in a bureaucratic struggle with the Port Authority—basically, irrelevant grievances presented as vague justifications conservative excess.
The only reason I mention this piece at all is because of how well it demonstrates the faux-reasonableness of the “constitutional but offensive” position, which is fully betrayed by the end of Bottum’s piece. It wants to be a middle-of-the-road compromise betwen elite multiculturalists and passionate Americans, an admittance of constitutional reality without the cultural snobbery of the Islamic center’s champions. But as Bottum complains about the way Obama and Bloomberg assume “there is nothing left to discuss,” his true feelings are clear: He is deeply suspicious of and hostile to Islam, and resents liberal American leaders for failing to empathize with the anti-Muslim sentiment sweeping the electorate and, apparently, his own person. So he takes comfort in the fact that the messy nature of democracy will probably halt construction of the Islamic center—a project “so offensive, so bizarre, and so deliberate that it should be stopped.”
Surely you’ve all heard by now that Sufjan Stevens has released a new EP online. This is exciting news for Sufjan fans everywhere, but I would urge you to think twice before paying the 5 dollars to download the music. It was not even 10 years ago when Islamic radical extremists destroyed the World Trade Center on September 11th, and already we’re going to support a man named “Sufjan” as if nothing happened on that tragic day?
It may sound like a good idea at first. Many believe that supporting this man’s music will help heal the wounds left by the terrorists, but come on people, we do not live in a vacuum. The fact of the matter is that this album should be released under another name, something with less Islamic connotation than “Sufjan.” Or, the album should be released in a different format. EP also brings to mind other Islamic names. Ep Shiraa. Ep Sadaar. It just hits a little too close to home.
Peggy Ornstein recently wrote an article for the New York Times entitled “I Tweet, Therefore I Am.” Check it out (it’s got a beautiful picture with it, too). In it, after recounting a story of tweeting about an intimate moment she was having with her daughter, she asks the question: “How much, I began to wonder, was I shaping my Twitter feed, and how much was Twitter shaping me?”
It’s a good question.
I think we are caught in a vicious cycle. Case and point: a new series over at “Patheos” on the future of Evangelicalism. This particular run of articles and opinions is a part of a larger look at the future of religion, and in the Christian camp they’ve already covered Catholicism and Mainline Protestantism.
The series began yesterday and a new set of essays will be released on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the next two weeks. Our old buddy Matt Anderson already weighed in on the question, as have other prominent evangelical writers and bloggers like Scot McKnight and our favorite antagonist, Joe Carter. Still to come is insight from Mark Noll, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren and Rob Moll…
File this one under ‘Mind-Blowing Stuff That Shows Up on my Facebook News Feed.’ Yesterday, a friend shared the following video, purportedly a worship song entitled “I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up.”
Of course the punchline is delivered as the verse ends with “…my hands to the Lord.” And just in case you were tempted to believe that the lyrics were an unfortunate oversight by a sincere lyricist, the second verse hammers home the premise by starting with “I think I’m gonna hurl.”
Writing a review is a very subtle art form. You never know how difficult it is until you try and write one. It is not simply a statement of this is what I think about this thing. There is a structure and a flow to it, a progression of thought and form that is difficult to do well (and indeed I know I’m still trying to figure it out). The typical movie review, as I’ve seemed to notice, follows the following pattern: the writer’s main thesis and overarching summary judgment on the film, a summary of the plot, what works in the film, what doesn’t, and finally whether or not to recommend the film to others. Why do I bring this up?
In the past week, I’ve seen Inception three times.
That much should imply my “summary judgment” on the matter (more on that later). I suppose now is the place for me to restate the plot. But I won’t. If you must know it before seeing the film, plenty of adequate summaries exist online for your consumption. I will tell you, though, that it’s one of the most complicated plots I’ve ever seen in a major motion picture, and to summarize it would be both unnecessary and potentially harmful to your enjoyment of the film. But don’t worry, as reviewer Kenneth Turan of NPR writes:
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