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The Great American Search for Happiness

The Great American Search for Happiness

A little collaboration with DZ: The Opinionator‘s Anxiety series continues to impress! Its most recent installment, “America the Anxious” by Ruth Whippman, is a Brit’s perspective on the American fixation on happiness, or at least, happiness-language. As a jumping off point, Whippman talks about the palpable differences between the Facebook feeds of her friends on either side of the Atlantic. While her British friends…

The Great American Search for Happiness

The Great American Search for Happiness

With the Land of the Free in mind — and the inevitable FOMO that comes with the summer holidays — we’ve pulled this one from our archives. A collaboration of Ethan Richardson and David Zahl: In her article “America the Anxious” Ruth Whippman provides a Brit’s perspective on happiness, or at least, the American fixation on it. As a jumping off point, she talks about the palpable differences between the…

Another Week Ends: Happy Misconceptions, Pietist Flavors, MLK's Debts, WeWork Cults, Pixel Artists, Misery Filters and Dylan's Gospel Years

Another Week Ends: Happy Misconceptions, Pietist Flavors, MLK’s Debts, WeWork Cults, Pixel Artists, Misery Filters and Dylan’s Gospel Years

Before I dive in, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the DC event last weekend such a smash, especially the wonderful people at All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase and the super talented Meaghan Ritchey. It was everything we could have hoped for! The audio files should be up in the next few days. They’ll drop first on the Mockingcast feed, so be sure you’re subscribed (speaking of which, the program…

The Overachiever's Ultimate Trophy

The Overachiever’s Ultimate Trophy

It may not come as a surprise to learn that Lesson 39 in Randy Paterson’s wonderful How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use is “Pursue Happiness Relentlessly”. According to Paterson, there’s no more reliable way to ensure your future discontent than by enshrining happiness as the purpose of life. Actually, there’s one more reliable way to do so, and that’s to make happiness not simply a goal but…

Another Week Ends: Mr Dan, Dr Heidegger, Fr Nouwen, Rev Rutledge, Prof Haidt & Ms. Smith

Another Week Ends: Mr Dan, Dr Heidegger, Fr Nouwen, Rev Rutledge, Prof Haidt & Ms. Smith

A bit light on the commentary today since the Year in Television ate up most of the daylight–though Lord knows we had plenty to say on an extended episode of The Mockingcast (I forget who we interviewed this time…). 1. First up, a super sweet story of grace that we missed back in October, about a 4-year old and her new best friend, ht JZ. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d2vZV87YJM 2. A terrific little essay from Charles Leadbetter…

Mothers, Daughters, and The Flexibility of the Guilt Muscle

Mothers, Daughters, and The Flexibility of the Guilt Muscle

Wow. Ruth Whippman sure served up a wonderful addition to The NY Times’ Anxiety series with this past weekend’s “Guilt Trip.” It’s good enough to make one feel guilty for not having written it oneself… Har har har. But she expresses the daily reality of guilt and (little ‘l’) law in such undeniable and funny terms that if you can’t relate, we probably lost you a long time ago. Whippman

Another Week Ends: Dylan, Cash and O'Connor, Gospel Guitar, Cathartic Indignation, Black Mirrors, and Impossible Fun Runs

Another Week Ends: Dylan, Cash and O’Connor, Gospel Guitar, Cathartic Indignation, Black Mirrors, and Impossible Fun Runs

1. Awesome, awesome story about a funky gospel music guitarist in the Atlanta area named Don Schanche, who also happens to be white. The Bitter Southerner published Don’s story, which gives a beautiful picture of racial reconciliation happening not on some abstract or systemic level, but interpersonally, on-the-ground, as a fruit of the gospel. The message which reconciled Don to his own faith is the same message of welcome and acceptance that…

Reflections on America's Happiest City

Reflections on America’s Happiest City

A few months ago, Charlottesville, VA was named the happiest city in America. As the happiest blogger in the happiest city, I feel like I should do some commenting. In the original paper for the happiness study, the researchers are careful to note that they’re measuring only “self-reported” happiness, a qualifier lost in some of the news outlets which reported it. To oversimplify things, we could view one’s self-reported…

Another Week Ends: Silent Scorsese, Chinese Credit, Stigma Supremacy, Moralized Rationality, Merciful Madness, and Anderson Xmas

Another Week Ends: Silent Scorsese, Chinese Credit, Stigma Supremacy, Moralized Rationality, Merciful Madness, and Anderson Xmas

1. If there’s a must-read article this week, it’s the profile of director Martin Scorsese that Paul Elie produced for The NY Times Magazine. Elie is always a joy to read and “The Passion of Martin Scorsese” is no exception. Most of it centers around Scorsese’s adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s Silence, a ridiculously Christocentric project that he’s been working on for 27 years. The article is not short, but…

Consuming 2016: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, Books

Consuming 2016: Favorite Music, Media, Humor, Books

Okey doke, time for our annual round up of favorites from throughout the year. These are predominantly personal picks, albeit ones with an eye toward Mocking-resonance. TV went live last week. (Click here to check out last year’s list). Music Favorite Discoveries David Bowie 1991-1997. When he died, I first spent some time with his mid-to-late 70s work. And I love that stuff. Who doesn’t? Then I went back to his final few records…