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….
Another Week Ends: Secret Auden, Eagleton Deicide, Remembering Wes, Method Acting, True Detective, and Russian Tourist Tips
If you haven’t yet found it, I highly recommend the new UK site The Philosopher’s Mail. It’s a news site, much like the tabloid-heave Daily Mail, but it’s written entirely by philosophers. Think celebrity gossip and pop culture news with a reflective and entertaining twist, with stories like: “Love shortage drives Shia LaBeouf nuts” or “Larry Page, Google CEO, tortures us with his jeans“. Brilliant, but funny stuff right?
Today’s article, “200mph Ferrari California launched. Buyers not greedy show offs, just vulnerable fragile big infants in need of affection” struck me as particularly Mockingbird worthy.
We know, because we hear it so…
This morning’s sports column comes from our new sports writer Howie Espenshied.
I have the dubious privilege of being a high school basketball official. We’re the ones in stripes out there, only noticed when a mistake is made. Coming up through the ranks, some of the most pronounced heckling I have experienced have come from the parents during 12-year-old rec games. I have waved off my share of baskets because a sixth grader took several steps on his way to the hoop, but man, does that call ever incur the wrath of mom and dad. I don’t mind having my ancestry…
Another Week Ends: Self-Making Atheists, Structural Dating, Indiscriminate Addiction, Christian Metal, Guilty Pleasures, and Failed Figure Skaters
1. In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik took the release of two new books about the history of atheism to issue one of his periodic ‘state of modern belief” pieces. Most of the word count is devoted to the question of when the burden of proof definitively shifted from atheists to believers (The Onion weighs in here), and while there are certainly some interesting tidbits, one can’t help but be distracted by: first, wasn’t the exact opposite thing was being said five years ago?, and second, the dichotomy he embraces from one of the books is downright weird, at least…
Another Week Ends: Hoffman and Addiction, Parenting Confessionals, Harris v Haidt, Trite Apologies, Super Bowl Commercials and Transform(ers)ational Ministry
1. Philip Seymour Hoffman, of Magnolia and, more recently, The Master fame, passed away this week in what the press generally called a “heroin overdose”. On the subject of addiction, it was painful and touching recalling his role in Owning Mahowny, and a moving reflection on Hoffman’s death comes from fellow Hollywood icon and recovering addict Aaron Sorkin at Time, ht BJ:
I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: “If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.” He meant…
Amazing. Just amazing:
WASHINGTON—While experts agree you’ve been remarkably successful so far at keeping up the ruse that you’re a capable, worthwhile individual, a new report out this week indicates that today is the day they finally figure out you’re a complete and utter fraud.
The report, compiled by the Pew Research Center, states that sometime within the next 24 hours, people will find out that you have no idea what you’re doing, that you’ve been faking it for years, and that, through continuous lying and shameless posturing, you’ve actually managed to dupe virtually everyone around you into thinking you’re something other…
Sunday was Groundhog Day. As is my tradition (and should be yours if it isn’t already), I watched Groundhog Day the film, again (BING!). I also watched the DVD extras, which include some fascinating commentary from director Harold Ramis, also of Stripes, Caddyshack, and (Egon in) Ghostbusters fame. Unfortunately, the DVD special features I want to share with you are not available online, but I found a very similar and short interview with Ramis below. In these interviews he explains why the film continues to be a timeless existential classic applicable to anyone’s life situation, or religion, capable of saying new things to them each time they watch it. By the way, if you haven’t seen Groundhog Day yet, it’s about time—don’t wait till next February. Buy it so you can watch the special features.
IRVINE, CA—Saying he doesn’t even feel like trying anymore, 8-year-old Max Bledsoe expressed his strong disappointment Monday after learning that his parents’ love is unconditional. “I always thought they loved me because I’d actually earned it, but unfortunately it turns out that their affection is apparently limitless,” said a frustrated Bledsoe, wondering aloud the point of doing well in school, learning how to play the piano, and always going to bed before 9 p.m. if his parents were just going to keep on loving him no matter what. “Look at me: I just wasted the last three years of my life trying to win their approval by being a good kid. And for what? To get the love that was coming to me anyway?” Bledsoe added that he envied his adopted younger brother, who really has to work for his parents’ love.
I was recently thinking how ABC’s Modern Family just isn’t as good as it used to be (for me) and that I kind of watch it out of duty nowadays. And then, BAM! They produce probably one of their better/best episodes ever. It revolves around high school anxieties, SATs, and college admissions: “Under Pressure.” The theme is certainly timely since this is the time of year many high schoolers start hearing back from college and university admissions offices. The unquestionable hero of this episode? Claire Dunphy. You have to watch the entire clip below to find out why:
A hilarious and seriously relevant bit from comedian Mike Birbiglia about the fragility of what it means to be (or think of yourself) as a “decent person” and the often comic discrepancy between motivation and action. Taken from the recent goldmine of an episode of This American Life about “Good Guys”, ht CW: