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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: Rude Saviors, Happy Students, Married Valentines, Fifty Shades, Christo-Singularity and Crashing

Another Week Ends: Rude Saviors, Happy Students, Married Valentines, Fifty Shades, Christo-Singularity and Crashing

1. Writing in The NY Times Magazine this past weekend, Rachel Cusk pondered “The Age of Rudeness.” Her jumping off point likely goes without saying, and yet, I was refreshed by how much fresh ground the essay tilled. Namely, we laud honesty and authenticity but demonize rudeness, when the line between them is often a very thin and fluctuating one. What is the moral status of rudeness? Cusk asks–why might it have possibly cost Hillary the election (“basket of deplorables”) and won it for Trump? When does decorum cease to facilitate discourse (a vehicle of communication/connection) and begin to stifle…

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Another Week Ends: Immortality, Elixirs of Life, False Prophets, Fear of Death, Sensitive Readers and Humble Corporations, and Stranger Things

Another Week Ends: Immortality, Elixirs of Life, False Prophets, Fear of Death, Sensitive Readers and Humble Corporations, and Stranger Things

1. Lots of people talking about immortality this week! Wonder why that’s happening! First off, in a pretty blatant promotion of our Food & Drink Issue, The Atlantic published a lengthy piece on the denial of death in the world of nutrition and diet. I mean, the article gets pretty close to a lot of what we’re saying throughout the issue—that food is not only a culturally and morally stratifying part of our everyday lives, it is a way for human beings to fend themselves (read: justify themselves) against the inevitable d-word. The article references the philosophy of Ernest Becker (writer…

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Another Week Ends: Food, Drink, Sermons, Apologies, Snackadiums, Haters, Finders and Keepers

Another Week Ends: Food, Drink, Sermons, Apologies, Snackadiums, Haters, Finders and Keepers

Here in the office we’re drowning in Food & Drink! The issue, that is, which arrived today and is already out the door to subscribers. To quote Seinfeld’s Poppy, it turned out “more succulent than even we hadda hoped”! Click here to check out the Table of Contents and whatnot. #humbled

Why not kick things off then with a couple of food-related items from the world of social science? First, The Telegraph reported on a new study out of UPenn on the effects of fat shaming. Surprise surprise, it tends to have the opposite effect than what’s intended:

Professor Rebecca Pearl, of…

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Another Week Ends: Robotic Employees, Free Speech Zones, Travel by Bubble, Carnival Culture, More Love, Less Self-Help, and Mary Tyler Moore

Another Week Ends: Robotic Employees, Free Speech Zones, Travel by Bubble, Carnival Culture, More Love, Less Self-Help, and Mary Tyler Moore

1. Ever feel like a robot at work? Well, the good news is, it’s the weekend so maybe you can hit your off-switch.

The bad news comes from an article John Harris wrote in The Guardian, “Digital giants are turning workers into robots.” It’s about increasingly invasive programs which monitor work ethic. Eugh.

The US retail chain Target announced in 2015 that Fitbit trackers were to be offered to its 335,000 workers, as part of its embrace of what the business vernacular calls “corporate wellness programmes”. As things stand, workers who opt to have their metabolisms monitored are organised into teams who compete to raise money for charity. Just…

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Another Week Ends: More Hypocrites, More Stories We Tell, More Silence, Less American Dream, And Way Less Millennial Sleeptime (Plus ASK!)

Another Week Ends: More Hypocrites, More Stories We Tell, More Silence, Less American Dream, And Way Less Millennial Sleeptime (Plus ASK!)

Whether you’re wringing your hands about the next four years or pumping your fist, we all need some news that isn’t necessarily inauguration-related. You’ve come to right place!

1. The New York Times ran an op-ed this past Sunday about the real reason we dislike hypocrisy. As a part of their Gray Matter column, the article contends that the real issue we have with hypocrites is not their inability to “practice what they preach,” but instead their belief in their own virtue. As they say it, “We contend that the reason people dislike hypocrites is that their outspoken moralizing falsely signals…

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Another Week Ends: Andrew Garfield Falls in Love with Jesus, Internet Trolls Enter the Confessional, Ninety-Percent Forgiveness, Bootstraps Parenting, Kirk Franklin Loses His Religion, and Labour-In-Vain Road

Another Week Ends: Andrew Garfield Falls in Love with Jesus, Internet Trolls Enter the Confessional, Ninety-Percent Forgiveness, Bootstraps Parenting, Kirk Franklin Loses His Religion, and Labour-In-Vain Road

1. Happy Friday, everyone! First up, America Magazine’s interview with Andrew Garfield, who plays Rodrigues in Scorsese’s adaption of Silence, which is wide-releasing today. Apparently Garfield prepared extensively for his role as a Jesuit priest, practicing Ignation Exercises for several months before shooting. To get the scoop, Jesuit Brendan Busse went on a “religious blind date” with Garfield. It started off pretty awkward…the actor was tired, the Jesuit was excited [about Ignatius Loyola]. And then Garfield explained his weariness: “…the grief of living in a time and a place where a life of joy and love is f–ing impossible.”

He goes on to identify the law: that, even…

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Another Week Ends: Amputee Palliatives, Burnouts, Good Riddance Day, Pig Ethics, Silence and the Penitent Magdalene

Another Week Ends: Amputee Palliatives, Burnouts, Good Riddance Day, Pig Ethics, Silence and the Penitent Magdalene

1. This first one is an absolute treasure, well deserving of a post of its own. I’m referring to “One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die” by Jon Mooallem in The NY Times Magazine. Mooallem profiles doctor and triple amputee B.J. Miller, who has become well-known for the unconventional and rather Buddhistic approach to palliative care he’s pioneered at a hospice in San Francisco. To these ears, however, Miller’s story and vocation brim with what can only be called grace in practice. Meaning, his is a case in which the experience of grace–of being loved at your darkest/ugliest/most…

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Another Advent Ends: Pint-Sized Edition

Another Advent Ends: Pint-Sized Edition

No weekender today, or next Friday, but we did record a fresh episode of The Mockingcast last night. The articles we discussed are:

1. “How Busyness Became a Bona Fide Status Symbol” by Jena McGregor in The Washington Post. We also reference this post.

2. “More People Die of Heart Disease Around Christmas” by Alice Park in Time. Really cheery, I know.

3. The standout was probably “How’s the Economy? Just Look at How Much Celebrating ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ Will Cost“, compiled by Elizabeth Olson for The NY Times.

4. We closed with Cornelius Plantinga’s review of Cicero’s How to Grow Old…

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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.

2. A terrific little essay from Charles Leadbetter in Aeon entitled “Nobody Is Home” on a subject that far too few people are talking about. Longing for “home”, which is often code for childhood, or love, or heaven, or God, is an…

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Another Week Ends: Security Blankets, Shoulder Angels, Irresistible Cookies, Human Machines, Pharisaic Elves, Mismanaged Empathy, and the World’s Largest Rube Goldberg Machine

Another Week Ends: Security Blankets, Shoulder Angels, Irresistible Cookies, Human Machines, Pharisaic Elves, Mismanaged Empathy, and the World’s Largest Rube Goldberg Machine

1. Let’s start off with some seasonal cheer from A Charlie Brown Christmas. This week, the internet reminded us to take a closer look at Linus, who, during a Christmas pageant recital of Luke 2:8-14, does something incredible. I’ll let writer/discoverer Jason Soroski take it from here:

Linus is most associated with his ever-present security blanket. Throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and others all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket. And even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the otherwise mature and thoughtful Linus, he simply refuses to give it up.

Until this…

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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 you’ll kick yourself if you skim over the anecdotes Martin relays from childhood. Basically, he had the polar opposite experience of the Roman Catholic Church than you normally hear about in…

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Another Week Ends: Upended Progress, Attachment Theory, Lulu Listening, Moral Superiority, Post-Truth, and Bingeing More Than Turkey

Another Week Ends: Upended Progress, Attachment Theory, Lulu Listening, Moral Superiority, Post-Truth, and Bingeing More Than Turkey

1) “Maybe it’s time we tell you,” the Atlantic seems to be saying, just more than a week after the world seemed to turn upside-down, “that we humans haven’t always believed in progress. To the contrary, it’s a rather new idea.” In Joel Mokyr’s essay from yesterday, “Progress Isn’t Natural,” our optimism towards human endeavors and scientific discoveries is at odds with what before could be described as “ancestor worship,” a feeling of due respect for tradition and classical texts prior to the Enlightenment:

After 1600, Europeans developed scientific instruments that allowed them to see things the ancient writers could never…

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