A recent post by Ann Friedman at The Atlantic argues that there is a dearth of social connections and supports available to men:
Anecdotally, this rings true. The women I know maintain much closer friendships with each other (more regular contact, more likely to share intimate details and ask for each other’s help, more physical […]
Months ago, I wrote about Jack Cashill, a man whose conservative ideals go beyond mere political opinion into blind paranoia. He is an American historian whose favorite topic of writing, it seems, is finding new angles to historical events and creating new and cohesive narratives in which to fit these “fresh” perspectives. (Another name […]
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.
Look at that picture above. Click on it to make it bigger. That’s my iTunes. As you can see, I listen to a LOT of podcasts. And no, this isn’t just a narcissistic moment to seem smart. You see all those blue numbers above each podcast? Well, those are just the episodes I haven’t listened to. Also notice the 320 iTunesU lectures that have also been neglected.
I’m starting to wonder if we have become more able to learn through audio and visuals, rather than writing. I think I have. Admittedly (and I hate admitting this), I have become so ADD when reading books. I become impatient, just wanting to absorb what I need to absorb and move right along to the next thing. I have become, (I fear) a mere consumer of non-stop information overload. In fact, I wonder if we all have…
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:
Believe me, I’ve jumped on the “we hate corporations” bandwagon just as much as anyone else. They drove our economy into the ground, they’re fighting our wars for us, and now they are determining our elections. But really, I’d like to throw my hat in on the Nathan Martin side of this little Patrol Magazine debate (even contra some of my most respected friends’ rebuttals). I’m tiring of the daily “how else can we make BP pay for this? How much farther can we shove the rod up their you-know-whats?” comments. I really do feel like we are unleashing our pent-up collective anger on this one corporation. This isn’t about BP. It’s not about the environment. It’s about the empowerment of the common man. We want to feel like our frustrations can give rise to action at the highest levels of power. And we’ve chosen BP as our catharsis, it seems.
Honestly (I know I’m going to get so much crap for this), since day one, I’ve actually been shocked at the honesty, responsibility, and yes, even humility that BP and its executives have displayed. Granted, this is humility relative to the brazenness of other corporate executives we’ve watched as of late: the Wall Street executives with their flagrant displays of arrogance and disdain for the customers who made them as wealthy as they are.
First, let’s talk post-spill…
I’m currently reviewing the book Popes and Bankers for Thomas Nelson publishers. It’s a history of credit and debt from the Ancient Greeks to the Modern present. Admittedly, I’m only up to the Reformation, but so far it’s a pretty enjoyable read. It combines a laid-back, easy-to-understand style with constant literary allusions and academic snark and sarcasm that paradoxically mocks the “Institution” while obviously speaking from within its intellectual ranks.
But as I said, this book has been published by Thomas Nelson publishers — the house that brings us Max Lucado (read my recent review), John Eldridge, and books such as Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage. In short, this is the publishing house for many of the books that send postmodern Christian twentysomethings into cringing spasms. At times, these criticisms are a bit unwarranted (as in the case of Lucado), but Thomas Nelson unquestionably specializes in light Christian fiction and fare, mainly focusing on devotionals and “Christian” self-help.
It seems that Patrol has had a week full of articles on TV shows. This is appropriate, of course, not just because it is finale time, but because a few of the most iconic and groundbreaking items on TV are coming to an end. For good. Of course I’m talking about both Lost and Simon Cowell, but I’m also talking about perhaps my favorite television series of the past decade: 24.
A couple of weeks ago I laid out my case for why Jack Bauer, the show’s main character, needed to die for this season to make any moral sense at all. Well, the series finale came and went, and Jack’s still alive. In fact, they repeated an ending from one of their earlier seasons (I can’t remember which one) where Jack is told by the President to run away as a fugitive. Jack, in both seasons, had done very bad things that deserved his being hunted down by American forces, but the President in a moment of gratitude and/or guilt gives him a few extra moments to escape before law enforcement arrives.
Strangely, the ending worked. In fact it was probably a bit more emotionally satisfying than the Lost finale (which I still loved), but the satisfaction this finale brought was of a much cheaper, less profound, kind. It was like sugar, or desert. At this point, I suppose the upcoming 24 movie will pick up with Jack living life peacefully in some European country, where he then gets wrapped up in some terrorist plot against one of our allies. Or something like that.
Except for Lost, 24 is the only show that I have consistently and faithfully watched from season one until its end, and with this show, I’ve been at it for eight seasons as opposed to six. I love it. With this season, though, 24 comes to an end. And for once in my life, I’m satisfied with one of my favorite shows ending. They’ve been able to maintain such quality story-telling for this long, and ending it just feels right. But as I watched this past Monday’s episode, I came to a conclusion that was both unsettling and awe-inspiring:
Jack Bauer must die.
The show’s moral ambiguities have been a constant theme. The main character, Jack Bauer, has had to constantly go against orders, kill people he shouldn’t, break laws, hide crimes, and (most famously) torture people from time to time. In one conversation from last year’s finale, Jack says that though “these laws were made by men better than me”, whenever he sees people in trouble he can’t not do “whatever it takes” to save them. He goes on to sum up his unique place in the morality drama that is 24: the law should consider what he does as wrong, but he is willing to be the one that breaks these laws to help us (sort of a modern-day Ubermensch argument, if you ask me).
Or so says this guy.
For those that don’t know, Professor Bruce Waltke, a lion of conservative evangelical scholarship, recently gave some comments for a brief video for the BioLogos Forum. BioLogos is the brain child of Francis Collins, the geneticist, current head of the National Institute of Health, and committed Christian. The Forum is a collective of like-minded scientists and Christians who believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God and God created the world by the process of evolution. (For more on this view, see Brad Kramer’s Patrol essay on the subject.) For those that struggle with this topic, BioLogos’ “The Questions” section offers very helpful articles on most every possible question you can think of concerning this discussion and gives thoughtful perspectives on it all.
Long story short (the best summary of all this can be found here), Waltke made some comments in line with this idea and the Christian blogosphere erupted with the ignorant, the passionate, and (only rarely) the thoughtful responders to this. Within a three week span, Waltke had made these comments, they were posted online, they were taken off-line, they were clarified by Waltke, he resigned his position at Reformed Theological Seminary, and was hired at Know Theological Seminary. In short, this man’s life, career, reputation, and family were completely exposed, turned upside down, and severely damaged because he said he didn’t think Adam had to be a historical figure for the Bible to still be true and authoritative.
And Rick Phillips, of Reformation21, appears to love this.
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