Monthly archive February, 2014

Another Week Ends: Secret Auden, Eagleton Deicide, Remembering Wes, Method Acting, True Detective, and Russian Tourist Tips

Another Week Ends: Secret Auden, Eagleton Deicide, Remembering Wes, Method Acting, True Detective, and Russian Tourist Tips

1. Holy smokes! Have you read Edward Mendelson’s “The Secret Auden” in the NY Review of Books?! If not, run don’t walk. It’s a jaw-dropping, incredibly inspiring catalog of the clandestine episodes of grace initiated by our all-time favorite Wystan–about as honest a Matthew 6:5 vibe as I’ve come across in ages. Lest these remarkable stories be dismissed as mere hagiography, Mendelson (author of the indispensable Later Auden) doesn’t lionize the great poet, instead tracing the ‘good works’ back to their root–which is not a sense of earning or credit (clearly) but of genuine humility brought on by piercing self-knowledge….

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A Quick Krazy Kat (1936)

ht AOC:

CrazyKat

Of Cold War Hate and Miracles on Ice

Of Cold War Hate and Miracles on Ice

Here’s another (timely) sports piece from Howie Espenshied.

Any time the US faces Russia in Olympic men’s ice hockey, as they did on February 15th, the “Miracle on Ice” game in Lake Placid, NY in 1980 is brought to mind. This one ended much the way that one did, with the US securing a dramatic 1 goal victory. However, noticeably absent was the Cold War setting that helped the ending of that legendary game become arguably the greatest sports moment of all-time.

Much has changed in the last 34 years. In 1980, the US only sent amateur athletes to the Olympics, while Russia…

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NYC Preview: The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity

NYC Preview: The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity

Mockingbird has been around since 2008, and the earliest post we have on the subject of Social Media is 2009, in which we studied the phenomenon of getting busted on Facebook for real-life lies.  In the five years since that post, we certainly haven’t lost our fascination with the subject- it’s been one of our favorite hobbies to put the world’s social life under the microscope and view our favorite themes in action. Facebook users (for 10 years now!) are cultivating identities to be liked instead of being honest. Selfies are the new living room portraits, carefully framed to show the…

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Baby Names and Family Secrets

Baby Names and Family Secrets

Perhaps it’s just because I’m 30 weeks pregnant, but there seem to be articles about choosing the right baby name everywhere. Wait But Why’s exhaustive “How to Name a Baby” made the rounds recently, for example, inspiring anxiety in people who named their daughter Sophia and/or hitting all the wrong buttons for those whose parents had made the unknown mistep of naming them Jennifer in the 1970s. And then there was this gem, which, as the title suggests, is a personal account of “How Not to Name Your Baby.” The author, Tania Lombrozo, offers her story of using crowd-sourcing (no,…

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Does Raising Awareness Work?

Does Raising Awareness Work?

Sometimes, but maybe not as well as we’d like to think. I work in a downtown pedestrian area, and on any given walk to a coffeeshop or lunch spot, if the weather’s nice there will be environmentalists, Global Medical Brigades reps, pro-Tibetans, and other generally worthy and important causes. ‘Did you know…”. I can say, personally, that I do know, most of the time, what’s going on – I just tend not to act on it. I know the environment’s deteriorating but am often too lazy to recycle, etc. The assumption behind raising awareness is that if more people know…

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On TV: Andi Deconstructs The Bachelor on The Bachelor

On TV: Andi Deconstructs The Bachelor on The Bachelor

Man, was I wrong about Juan Pablo. And even wronger about Andi.

At the beginning of this season, I had illusions about the concepts of masculinity that Juan Pablo had been complicating in this season. I talked about the man of listening over the man of talking, the rave-wave hair do over Marlboro machismo, the spontaneity over the rigid focus. And I think it was because that was what we saw in first few episodes–we found JP sidling the stall of the helpless, drunk girl; we found him championing honesty; we watched him placate the worries of his niñas. Ay, mis niñas.

But…

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What Would Jesus Tweet? The Gospel in the 21st Century (Conference Recordings!)

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An enormous thank you to all the fantastic people at St Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY, who made the What Would Jesus Tweet mini-conference possible earlier this month! What a privilege it was to meet so many new friends; the warmth and graciousness of the welcome we received was nothing short of overwhelming. To read a (very generous!) re-cap of the event, go here. The recordings are now available, both on our Resources page and here, in the order in which they were given. Click on the talk titles to download, or on the players below to listen:

Talk 1: What Would Jesus Tweet? – David Zahl


Talk 2: Everybody’s Anxious, Nobody’s Bored – David Zahl


Everything New Is Moralism Again – The Rev. Jacob Smith


The Psychology of SalvationDr. Eric Johnson


Talk 3: What We Talk About When We Talk About Freedom and Closing Q&A – David Zahl and Jacob Smith


Hitting the Bottle (of Purell): Control Issues in the Hygiene Hypothesis

Hitting the Bottle (of Purell): Control Issues in the Hygiene Hypothesis

This comes from biology nerd Lex Booth.

Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.’ — Genesis 11:4

Life in college during the cold & flu season is like navigating a Petri dish.  A roommate’s sneeze is enough to fill a house with the dread of an impending epidemic.  When a classmate coughs nearby, there is no sympathy, just offense by such blatant irresponsibility: ‘How dare you?  Don’t you know I have an interview next week?’  Parents of small children are equally familiar…

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Pseudoscience Shrines and Organic Bread Slicers

Pseudoscience Shrines and Organic Bread Slicers

It doesn’t get any, er, tastier than this. I’m referring to the amazing little piece (of m-bait) that appeared on The Daily Beast this past weekend, “Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience” by Michael Schulson. We’ve been down this road a number of times before, but Schulson outdoes himself here, highlighting the undeniable religiosity that lies at the heart of so much of our culinary and health culture these days. That is, food is much more than food–and always has been, though perhaps not to the current extent. Purity, Status, Mortality, Justification, even Atonement–these are the subjects we find ‘messaged’…

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NYC Preview: I’m New Here. I Don’t Know Anyone. And What the &%*! Is Going On?

NYC Preview: I’m New Here. I Don’t Know Anyone. And What the &%*! Is Going On?

Recently, one of my current coworkers, whom we shall call Will, made a confession to me about his first Mockingbird Conference. A friend of mine, with whom Will worked at the time, had convinced him to come along, and so, after flying into LaGuardia, Will found himself in the backseat of my car on our way into Manhattan. Listening in on the front seat conversation between my friend and I (both Episcopal priests), which was undoubtedly, shall we say, “salty,” the following thoughts ran through Will’s head: “Who are these guys? What are they talking about? Are they even Christians?!…

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Excursions & Arrivals, by Brett Foster

SEMITRUCKS1

Excursions & Arrivals

The sign at the corner of the property
at the foot of the driveway—”No
eighteen wheelers allowed in the church
parking lot”—may be exactly the confirmation
I needed that I am currently passing
by a Baptist church a little to the south
of Chattanooga. Was it a recurring problem
that led to its posting? Did the congregation
rebel or reach the proverbial tipping point?
Even so, I’d like to think they would make
an exception, that every once in a great
while they might wave the driver toward them
with his truckload of passengers battered
bruiseful by all of the loveless difficulties
that make up so very much of this life,
not pallets of freight they’d come to expect
but many blemished ones hungry to the point
of being famished, urgent for the Son
rising with his big paper-carrier’s bag
of good news and promises or even simple
reassurances like, You are not going
to perish now, or You are mightily
welcomed here, even though you’re fully
known here
, and so on. Against hope, I hope
sometimes that those Baptists are smiling
as they direct the eighteen-wheeler’s driver
forward, forward with the bird’s-wing flutters
of their sweet, inviting hands, as if saying
Pull yourself on in here now, buddy.
You take up as many spaces as you need
,
while already his long trailer is being
unlatched and its metal door rolled up
so as to let that Tennessee light pour in,
clarifying its darkened conveyances,
especially brightened on Sunday morning
as I imagine it now, while driving slowly
on Spring Creek Road south of Chattanooga.

The above appears in the Mar/Apr issue of Books and Culture (and online here). For more from B&C, see here.