Money

Ebola, “Friends” and the Reasons We Give

Ebola, “Friends” and the Reasons We Give

Tim Keller has said that a Christian is someone who knows that they need to repent not only for the wrong things they do, but for the reasons they do the right things. That is to say, whatever we do, no matter how seemingly altruistic, almost always has some sort of selfish motivation mixed in – as Joey points out to Phoebe in “The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS” (or so my wife tells me). Who would’ve thought that Joey Tribbiani would subscribe to what Calvin (following Sts. Augustine and Paul) called “total depravity”?

Further illustrating this point was a recent…

Read More »

Mike Powell and Rap’s Bored Hedonism

Mike Powell and Rap’s Bored Hedonism

How do I love Mike Powell? Let me count the ways… He’s been churning out some of the most honest and thoughtful commentary on music that I’ve read in years, all with a refreshing candor and without a trace of heavy-handedness. I mentioned his work before in my Poptimism article, but his writing is very much worth seeking out at Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, or Spin for any fan of music or music writing. Not only is he a great music writer in the traditional sense, but Powell also exhibits a uniquely confessional and personal style of writing (especially in his…

Read More »

From The New Yorker

140106_cartoon_028_a17924_p465

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…

Read More »

First Issue of The Mockingbird Now Available!!

The first issue of The Mockingbird, our brand new quarterly magazine, is in the mail! If you signed up for our mailing list, you should have one coming to you, free of charge. If haven’t, sign up before March 1st and we’ll happily send you one. If you want to subscribe, look no further than magazine.mbird.com. (Remember, Mockingbird’s monthly donors receive a free subscription!)

In the meantime, here’s the line-up for our maiden voyage.

photo1Paging Doctor Presley: Thoughts on the Healing Hands of King Mockingbird by David Zahl

The Real Real Orange County: Looking Back on MTV’s Laguna Beach by Dan Varley

There Is Nothing the Matter with My Heart: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and My Myth of Me by Zach Williams

For the Record: Mockingbird’s Netflix Queue, Must-Hear TED Talks, A Kurosawa Primer, Top 5 Church Debates, and an Elvis Gospel Playlist

Transformational: The Hidden Spirituality of America’s Great Movement by Ethan Richardson

“Friends Don’t Get Serious”: John Cassavetes, James Baldwin and Tall Tales of Angry Men by Charlotte Hornsby

When a Measure Becomes a Target: Inside the Economics of Repentance by Will McDavid

A New Way to Tell It: An Interview with Francis Spufford (click here for a preview)

A Vision for the Storms by Blake Ian Collier

Coming to Terms with the American Hero Fix by Sarah Condon

Dying to Live: What Are the Side Effects of the Modern Hospital? by R-J Heijmen

Go to magazine.mbird.com to subscribe!

Another Week Ends: Wealth Addiction, Bieber/Britney Compassion, Friends Generation, True Detective, Grand Theft Auto, Better Praise and Conference Calls

Another Week Ends: Wealth Addiction, Bieber/Britney Compassion, Friends Generation, True Detective, Grand Theft Auto, Better Praise and Conference Calls

1. This one really deserves a post of its own. So much writing about Wall Street greed has the air of jealousy and pettiness around it. Nothing’s an easier target or more convenient prop for self-righteousness than a corporate cog (i.e. “I may not be swimming in it, but at least I believe in something–at least my work has meaning–unlike all those soulless automatons I knew in college who are chasing the almighty dollar. How do they live with themselves?!”). Which is part of what makes Sam Polk’s “For The Love of Money” column in The NY Times last week…

Read More »

New Research on Wealth Confirms What Jesus Said 2,000 Years Ago

New Research on Wealth Confirms What Jesus Said 2,000 Years Ago

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4

A recent story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” discusses the findings of Dacher Keltner, a researcher who studies social class and generosity. Keltner says that, “in just about every way you can study it, our lower-class individuals volunteer more, they give more of…

Read More »

Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

Jesus (and TAL): Give Cash to Poor People

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6.30).

Of all Jesus’ commandments which his followers expressly disobey (my personal fave being Matthew 6:1 where he instructs his audience “not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them”–ironically enough, the lectionary reading for Ash Wednesday(!)), his instruction that we should “give to all who ask” is, perhaps, the one against which we have built the strongest fortification. In fact, if one were to reconstruct Jesus’ teaching on generosity based on the actions and teachings…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: This American Life’s 500th, Dustin Hoffman’s Female Perspective, Midlife Crises, Man-Children, Spitzer, and Chickens

Another Week Ends: This American Life’s 500th, Dustin Hoffman’s Female Perspective, Midlife Crises, Man-Children, Spitzer, and Chickens

1) Heather Havrilesky, at it again, this time over at Aeon. Writing from the perspective of a “successful” middle-ager, she describes how nothing can really be enough nowadays. The avenues for comparison are as numerous as the avenues for self-expression. She has this to say about her own experiences:

This is the shape my mid-life crisis is taking: I’m worried about what I have time to accomplish before I get too old to do anything. I’m fixated on what my life should look like by now. I’m angry at myself, because I should look better, I should be in better shape,…

Read More »

Selling Out to Keep It Real: Indie Currency in the Decade(s) of Dysfunction

Selling Out to Keep It Real: Indie Currency in the Decade(s) of Dysfunction

n+1 has a new piece on the changing landscape of the “sellout,” and the assertions of authenticity that have been re-shaped in the relationship between art and commerce. Evan Kindley is writing a review on a few books in the topic, one of which is spotlighted, by Timothy Taylor, The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture. Going back to the origin of music being used for advertising ends, the book archives the radio-days of musicians crafting Lucky Strike jingles, all the way to the  visual age of musicians having their own songs (and personas) implanted into…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Abercrombie’s Hot People, The Neverending “Me Me Me” Era, George Jones’ “Choices,” Katharine Welby, New TV, and New Vampire Weekend

Another Week Ends: Abercrombie’s Hot People, The Neverending “Me Me Me” Era, George Jones’ “Choices,” Katharine Welby, New TV, and New Vampire Weekend

1) The Atlantic provided an insightful zinger to the finger-waggers of today’s adultescent. Looking at today’s young people, of whom I am one—blogging away, shoes off—the piece is a response to the recent cover article of Time magazine, “The Me Me Me Generation.” The Time piece is a backhanded spotlight on the millennials, a heat-ray at their unique and insipid self-absorption, their phones, their extended stays at home. Contrary to this, Elspeth Reeve writes that the Me, Me, Me Generation is every generation—that we’ve been locating (and writing about) the narcissism of youth since we’ve written. She then delineates a…

Read More »

Cigarettes, Cupcakes, Narcissicism, and Sympathy: Reflections on Judd Apatow

Cigarettes, Cupcakes, Narcissicism, and Sympathy: Reflections on Judd Apatow

Yes, the Oscars are just around the corner and yes, there are still a bunch of nominated films I haven’t seen either. Amour and Lincoln and Django are at the top of the list (at least I caught the hilarious and bloody “Djesus Uncrossed” this morning!), though I have no idea how they’d possibly surpass Silver Linings Playbook in terms of grace and intelligence and entertainment value. Suffice it to say, it was a good year for cinema. One film that’s stuck with me that hasn’t been mentioned with the rest of the pack is Judd Apatow’s This Is 40….

Read More »