Fashion
Another Week Ends: Nick Cave, Cuddle Parties, Prognostalgia, Wine Snobbery, The Vicar of Baghdad, and the Post-Christian Politics of Jesus

Another Week Ends: Nick Cave, Cuddle Parties, Prognostalgia, Wine Snobbery, The Vicar of Baghdad, and the Post-Christian Politics of Jesus

1) “The Vicar of Baghdad” is a three-part series over at Vice, and it’s difficult to put into words the (foolish? amazing?) courage of Vicar Andrew White, an English-born Anglican priest who walks with a cane, and who has now served in Baghdad’s central districts for fourteen years, running St. George’s Episcopal Anglican Church, as well as running a clinic for locals and, most interestingly, working as a intermediary between Sunni and Shia leaders for peace and dialogue. It’s a real-life parable (ht JZ).

2) There were several au contraires to the presumption that we “live by looks” this week. Or,…

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The Selfie on the Mount

The Selfie on the Mount

Instagram enhances Facebook’s most essential quality.

Facebook allows you to keep in touch with old “friends,” but keeping in touch means subjecting yourself to climate-change rants from that girl who failed biology in high school, college football highlight videos from that guy who never went to college, and (if you’re friends with me) shameless plugging of Mockingbird blog posts. But we subject ourselves to this cacophony for one reason and one reason only: So we can see their pictures.

Their pictures allow us to establish our place in the hierarchy. Her kids are cuter than mine, but mine are way cuter than his….

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All The Things David Foster Wallace’s Parents Said to Him

All The Things David Foster Wallace’s Parents Said to Him

I’ve been making my way through Conversations with David Foster Wallace, and as expected, it’s chock-full of interesting exchanges. You also get to witness a certain evolution in his thought. Anyway, three favorite quotes thus far would be the following. The first comes from an interview with Salon in 1996, post-Infinite Jest:

“It seems to me that the intellectualization and aestheticizing of principles and values in this country is one of the things that’s gutted our generation. All the things that my parents said to me, like ‘It’s really important not to lie.’ OK, check, got it. I nod at that…

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Another Week Ends: Cultural Literati Pretenders, Fake Empathy, The Search for Cool (Moms), Kurt Vonnegut, Calvary, and the Gospel Dustups

Another Week Ends: Cultural Literati Pretenders, Fake Empathy, The Search for Cool (Moms), Kurt Vonnegut, Calvary, and the Gospel Dustups

1) The Atlantic attempted a definition of “cool” this week, and it runs in tow with Shane Snow’s definition of humor in the New Yorker. Whereas humor can be defined as “benign violation,” cool is defined by Derek Thompson as “a measured violation of malign expectations.” Sounds good to me! Within this definition, cool is bound on both ends by law: cool is a response to some form of constraint or expectation, but it also must operate within an expected set of parameters in order for it to be seen as cool. If it operates beyond the parameters of its…

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Another Week Ends: Normcore, Eterni.me, Colbert’s Late Show Prospects, Post-Grad Advice, and “I Love You, Buts”

Another Week Ends: Normcore, Eterni.me, Colbert’s Late Show Prospects, Post-Grad Advice, and “I Love You, Buts”

Real quick before we get going: Conference recordings should be up early next week! Videos will roll out gradually after that. Also, we’ve pulled Eden and Afterward to make some final changes. Look for a release announcement in the next ten days.

1) Even getting out of the game is part of the game, now. In fact, it is the game de rigueur. If you thought you weren’t in a fashion trend, if you didn’t know a group existed for people who were actually dressed just like most people, now there is, and you are, and it is the innest…

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The Tim Gunn Save

The Tim Gunn Save

OK, I admit it. I watch Lifetime’s Project Runway. I would have been embarrassed to confess this guilty pleasure previously, but during the current season something altogether too noteworthy from a theological point of view has occurred. Early in the season a contestant was saved from elimination by one of the producers, and the ongoing results of this rescue bear witness to the fruits of salvation.

If you don’t know Project Runway, it is a reality television competition between aspiring fashion designers hosted by super model Heidi Klum. Each week the group of contestants is given a new challenge to…

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Sports and Fashion: NBA’s Preppy-Hipsters and Vain Baller Selfies

Sports and Fashion: NBA’s Preppy-Hipsters and Vain Baller Selfies

Fashion has always carried a lot of weight in the NBA. Think of “Pistol” Pete Maravich and Walt Frazier’s three-piece bell-bottomed suits in the ’70′s, Larry Bird’s impeccable mullet in the 80′s, Michael Jordan’s and his killer Armani’s, and Allen Iverson’s cornrows, chains and tattoos. That’s off the court, though. On the court, style is equally important. Always has been. Dr. J’s Converse kicks and tube socks, Jordan’s longer shorts, signature shoes and fist pumps after game winning jump shots. In short, aesthetics and basketball go hand in hand. Headbands, wrist bands, high socks, low socks, tattoos, shooting sleeves, knee…

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The Unforgiving Law of Prep (Part One of Two)

The Unforgiving Law of Prep (Part One of Two)

I cannot be preppy.

I was not born in Philadelphia.

I did not attend boarding school.

I went to a public university. In the Southeast.

I did not grow up in Made in America, LL Bean hand-me-downs.

I occasionally shop at J. Crew (which is not preppy).

I wear slim-fit chinos and shirts, which are also not preppy.

I don’t remember a time when Brooks Brothers was American-owned and I can’t tell you about how great Orvis used to be or why the Norwegian sweaters were better when they were 20% rayon or how the only good camp moccasins are made in Maine and how outsourcing has…

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From The New Yorker

clothing

Intellectual Honesty, A Theology of the Cross, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Intellectual Honesty, A Theology of the Cross, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

My four-year-old daughter Hazel is a Sports Illustrated subscriber. It’s a complicated issue of expiring airline miles; don’t ask. This week, the annual swimsuit edition was delivered. I remember, as a younger man, subscribing to SPORT Magazine (it was a cheaper monthly option than the weekly Sports Illustrated) and eagerly awaiting the swimsuit issue. SPORT, it should be noted, performed a service to its libido-crazed readership: it actually produced a normal sports-themed magazine to put around the models in bikinis.  In other words, when your mom looked askance at the cover, you could always complain that “it just took pages…

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From The New Yorker

Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager’s Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ’s Bad

Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager’s Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ’s Bad

1. We’ve given him a rest for a few months, but the break is over! David Brooks wrote an another incisive column for The NY Times this week, “The Moral Diet,” reflecting on Dan Ariely’s new book on dishonesty. Brooks isn’t afraid to cast the research in historical-religious terms; indeed, the shift in Western self-perception, from fundamentally bad to fundamentally good, is one of his favorite subjects. But in this column he also touches on our proclivity for self-justification, questioning the unquestioned assumption that a good life is simply one where the good outweighs the bad, i.e. where the moral/political/achievement…

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Prostitot, The New Accessory by Marc Jacobs

Prostitot, The New Accessory by Marc Jacobs

And he said, “Let the little children come to me.” A New York Times article that gives us an amazing portrayal of the lengths to which we go to accessorize and craft an identity that will justify us. Interestingly, Jesus tells us, like Charles James, that we must become little children: “Most American fashion is based on older women trying to look like babies.” Ironically, this trend towards the accessorization of children, and the fashion industry’s relevance-seeking chops, has inverted the biblical paradigm–and children are becoming adults, way too soon.

In the last year or two, Lanvin, Gucci, Stella McCartney and…

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PZ’s Podcast, 84-89: Yvette Vickers, Protestant Episcopal SuperMarionation I&II, Bette Davis Eyes, Tana and Tahrir, and Pacific Overtures

PZ’s Podcast, 84-89: Yvette Vickers, Protestant Episcopal SuperMarionation I&II, Bette Davis Eyes, Tana and Tahrir, and Pacific Overtures

Thanks again for your patience with us this past week. As you’ll see, while the site slept, some of us were busy!

Episode 84: Yvette Vickers (f. 4.27.11)

Newspapers and blogs seem to settle for the categorical in reporting such events as the discovery, on April 27, 2011, of the body of Yvette Vickers in her house in Benedict Canyon.

Yvette Vickers’s death becomes a “bizarre” event, and gets linked to the Gothic, even, as it applies to the kinds of movies in which she appeared. (She gave knockout performances, by the way, in her two “legacy” films: Attack of the 50…

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More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

More 2011 Favorites: Books, Documentaries, Musical Discoveries and Web

Books and Film

Favorite Piece of Fiction (Read During 2011): Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. Not just a favorite of the year, but a favorite, period. It’s a rare work of art indeed that can shed light on both The Royal Tenenbaums and the Jesus Prayer. Unbelievably wise, delightfully funny and deeply religious (in the best possible sense), I’m not sure Christ had a better spokesman in the 20th century than Zooey Glass. And has Salinger’s dialogue ever been bettered? I’m only embarrassed it took me this long to discover it. Favorite novel released in 2011 would have to be…

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