David Zahl is the director of Mockingbird Ministries and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. He and his wife Cate currently reside in Charlottesville, VA, with their two sons, Charlie and Cabell, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church.
- California Women – Hoyt Axton
- Guide for the Married Man – The Turtles
- Rest in Peace – Curt Boettcher
- Tulsa Turnaround – Three Dog Night
- Pay Day Give Away – Bill Wilson
- Hello LA Bye Bye Birmignham – John Randolph Marr
- No Man’s Woman – Sinead O’Connor
- Panopticon – Smashing Pumpkins
- Sweet Caress – Izzy Stradlin
- Burning – The War on Drugs
- Breathin Easy – The Reivers
- The Land of Make Believe – Buck Fizz
- In The Bad Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me) – The Foundations
- Naked As We Came – Iron and Wine
- Look Into the Night – Mark Olson
- Bottomless Cup – The Jayhawks
- Failed Christian – Nick Lowe
- You Gotta Sin to Get Saved – Maria McKee
One final post before we give the depression talk a rest, and only because the source material is so remarkable. I’m referring to Andrew Solomon’s reflection on you know who for The New Yorker, which appeared late last week. With trademark compassion, he put his finger on a big part of what makes Robin Williams’ death so shocking:
When the mass media report suicide stories, they almost always provide a “reason,” which seems to bring logic to the illogic of self-termination. Such rationalization is particularly common when it comes to the suicides of celebrities, because the idea that someone could be…
A few thoughts on one parent’s devastating (and hilarious) attack on “America’s Kid-Competition Complex”. Turns out no one ever thought of a good idea in the middle of cramming for the SAT…
The official video for Sinead’s awesome new anthem dropped over the weekend and needless to say there’s a lot going on in it. Almost feels like a tailor-made response to The Huffington Post piece mentioned below:
Watch out, this one’s a little deeper than they normally go, ht CS.
MINNEAPOLIS—Fully aware of his numerous flaws and unappealing personal characteristics, local 33-year-old Phillip Morgan confided to reporters Wednesday that he found it a bit unsettling to imagine that the perfect woman for him is out there somewhere.
Morgan, a sales manager with little upward mobility in his job who has lived in the same sparsely furnished apartment for six years, said it troubled him to contemplate the theoretical existence of a woman so well-suited to him she would actually appreciate him the way he is, and ultimately want to…
Fair warning, The Mockingbird office has been swallowed up in a (mesquite flavored) cloud of country-funk as of late:
Another Week Ends: Electroshock Silence, MMO Addiction, Little Miss Perfect, Novel Tweets, Dawkins Hubris, Weird Dylan and Mad Max
1. Buried in a weekender earlier this month, you may have seen the, er, shocking report of a study conducted at UVA (of all places!) that found that “People Prefer Electric Shocks to Being Alone With Their Thoughts.” If you dismissed it as classic social science clickbait, Lord knows you’d have our sympathy. But it would appear the findings were for real. In an article for The NY Times this week, Kate Murphy expanded on them substantially, folding in a number of our hobby horses along the way (compulsive busyness, over-distraction, Romans 7, even male underachievement), while curiously missing a golden opportunity…
We’re told that learning how to handle failure is an important part of growing up. Yet we do everything we can to make sure our kids never experience it. What did Samuel Beckett actually mean when he told us to “fail better”? And what does it have to do–if anything–with the theology of the cross? All this and (not) much more!
We are about six weeks away from the publication of Christian Wiman’s new collection of poetry, Once in the West, and what better way to prepare than with quick quote from that gift that keeps on giving, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer:
If God is a salve applied to unbearable psychic wounds, or a dream figure conjured out of memory and mortal terror, or an escape from a life that has become either too appalling or too banal to bear, then I have to admit: it is not working for me. Just when I think I’ve finally found some balance between active devotion and honest modern consciousness, all my old anxieties come pressuring up through the seams of me, and I am as volatile and paralyzed as ever…
Be careful. Be certain that your expressions of regret about your inability to rest in God do not have a tinge of self-satisfaction, even self-exaltation to them, that your complaints about your anxieties are not merely a manifestation of your dependence on them. There is nothing more difficult to outgrow than anxieties that have become useful to us, whether as explanations for a life that never quite finds its true force or direction, or as fuel for ambition, or as a kind of reflexive secular religion that, paradoxically, unites us with others in a shared sense of complete isolation: you feel at home in the world only by never feeling at home in the world. (pg 9-10)
America’s Finest News Source reports:
PHOENIX—Unwilling to cede decades of hard-won advances, local man Roger Cannon’s persistent anxiety vowed Monday that it would not let clinical depression muscle in on any of its turf. “Look, I’ve had a vise-grip on this guy for 30 years, so I’m not about to roll over now and let some despondent feelings and an overriding aversion to activity waltz in and take over his emotional state,” said the mental disorder… “Roger’s mental condition is my domain. And if all-encompassing thoughts of hopelessness and inadequacy think they can parade around like they own the place, trust me, they’ve got another thing coming.” The neurosis then promised that it wouldn’t make the same mistake it did in 2011, when it briefly let its guard down and disastrously allowed happiness to take hold.
I believe it was Austin Powers’ father Nigel who once remarked, “There are only two things I can’t stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures… and the Dutch.”
That movie came out while I was in college, and the joke struck a chord. Having been educated in proudly ‘progressive’ institutions, I grew up hearing a lot about tolerance. My secondary school, for example, hosted a semi-annual ‘Diversity Day’, where the student body took part in workshops designed to expose us to different cultures and points of view. Of course, there’s nothing more cynical than a bunch…
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of our all time favorite show’s premiere, we offer up a re-run of “a breakout session about nothing”:
Rochelle Rochelle. Yo Yo Ma. Vandelay Industries. Marble Rye. Del Boca Vista. Get Out! The sea was angry that day. I’m a Da-ay Person. These. Pretzels. Are. Making. Me. Thirsty.
You got that right, mojambo–our 2012 NYC Conference included an hour long session on about the greatest sitcom of all time, Seinfeld.
W.H. Auden once wrote that “Christian comedy is based upon the belief that all men are sinners; no one, therefore, whatever his rank or talents, can claim…
Another Week Ends (Quickly): Buzzfeed Ambivalence, Forgiving Bieber, The Jayhawks, Swedish Conversions, Ayn Rand Goes to Hogwarts, and Habsburg Sinners
A digest version this week as we head out of town for the holiday weekend. May the Fourth be with you:
1. The NY Times Magazine brought us Heather Havrilesky’s brilliant “794 Ways in Which BuzzFeed Reminds Us of Impending Death”. It may not inspire immediate feelings of patriotism, but what do you expect:
American pop culture leaves little room for mixed feelings, thereby inciting mixed feelings every step of the way. No wonder filmmakers and TV producers like Steven Spielberg and Matthew Weiner have inserted the ambient glee of Saturday-morning cartoons and radio D.J.s gasping over sunny weather in order to…