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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: John Henryism, Fargo, ISIS, The Modern Mind, and Halo Losers

Another Week Ends: John Henryism, Fargo, ISIS, The Modern Mind, and Halo Losers

1) A trio of articles surfaced recently about the psychological relationships between work ethic and mental health. It appears that anxiety is on the rise, especially for achievers. The first one of note, from The Atlantic, introduces the phenomenon of “John Henryism,” claiming that there is a paradoxical health risk to those who happen to work really hard to find success. A study was done with a group of underprivileged kids from low-income neighborhoods, who exhibited strong academic performance and self-control. While this self-control and determination led them to more opportunities beyond their circumstances, their health suffered because of it.

They…

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Another Week Ends: Soren Love, Bad Sleep, Mindful Corporations, Pocket Knives, Captive Mothers and Mountain Goats

Another Week Ends: Soren Love, Bad Sleep, Mindful Corporations, Pocket Knives, Captive Mothers and Mountain Goats

1. In a sea of inter-religious conflict and division, how beautiful it is to catch a glimpse of the opposite. Apparently a group of Muslims has raised close to $100K to help rebuild the black churches that were burned in the recent rash of arson. Amen to that, ht BB.

2. “I Still Love Kierkegaard” is the title of a wonderful article by Julian Baggini that appeared on Aeon. Favorite sections are the ones dealing with Soren’s Christianity:

What Kierkegaard showed was that the only serious alternative to atheism or agnosticism was not what generally passes for religion but a much deeper…

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Another Week Ends: FitBit Ennui, Screen Addictions, Zeitgeiste und Glueckschmertzen, Little Prince and Black Jesus

Another Week Ends: FitBit Ennui, Screen Addictions, Zeitgeiste und Glueckschmertzen, Little Prince and Black Jesus

Alrighty, another truncated weekender as we head into the dog days. More of a list of links really:

1. This is exciting (fingers crossed): The Wall Street Journal has made the first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman available on their website!

2. As attention begins to turn toward the upcoming Technology Issue of our magazine, a few tech-related items have caught the eye, such as The Atlantic’s amusing, mid-year rejoinder to New Years resolutions, “The Ennui of the FitBit”:

One research firm, Endeavour Partners, estimates that roughly a third of trackers get abandoned after six months. A recent editorial in…

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Another Week Ends: Conditional Epidemics, Lasting Love Songs, Contextless Forgiveness, Enforced Happiness, Atheist Architecture and John Adams’ Lament

Another Week Ends: Conditional Epidemics, Lasting Love Songs, Contextless Forgiveness, Enforced Happiness, Atheist Architecture and John Adams’ Lament

1. Reporting from the Aspen Festival of Ideas, Connor Friedersdorf briefs us on “How Parents Make High-Achieving Kids Miserable” via a discussion that took place earlier this week between William Deresiewicz and David Brooks on the state/purpose of higher education. The first twelve minutes find Deresiewicz recounting the background of his new book, but once Brooks hits the stage (13 minute mark or so), it really heats up. For instance:

“I see my students burdened by this epidemic of conditional love, where their parents have honed them, and if they decide not to take the job they want, or the major…

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Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

1. As a follow-up to the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan points out the extraordinary character of the community’s response:

[In the courtroom, victims’ family members] spoke of mercy. They offered forgiveness. They invited the suspect, who was linked in by video from jail, to please look for God.

There was no rage, no accusation—just broken hearts undefended and presented for the world to see. They sobbed as they spoke.

“I just wanted everybody to know, to you, I forgive you,” said the daughter of Ethel Lance, killed in the shooting. “You took something very precious…

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Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

A mercifully truncated weekend column today, as we finish prepping for our week at Kanuga. (Probably goes without saying but next week will be light on content). Happy Father’s Day!

1. First off, an incredibly moving picture of collective grief in Charleston, via John Zahl, who was present at a citywide prayer service at Morris Brown AME Church. Our hope is truly built on nothing less:

2. The new issue of The Mockingbird is here! And copies shipped to subscribers yesterday afternoon. Order your copy, or subscription, here. By way of reminder, anyone who signs up for monthly support of Mbird not…

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Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

1. A fierce editorial by George Monbiot appeared in The Guardian this past week about the fallout of Aspirational Parenting in the UK, “aspirational” being a loose euphemism for what we call “performancism”. The tagline makes no bones: “Surrender your freedom, avoid daylight, live to work, and you too could join a toxic, paranoid elite”. The statistics about mental health he cites are as alarming as they’re intended to be, though I dare say that most could be transposed to a yank context. (I’m familiar with “nursery consultants”, but this is the first I’m hearing of $450/hr playdate coaches). Monbiot’s…

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Another Week Ends: Victim Purity, Atheologies, CCM, HuffPost, Clutter Craze, and Brad Bird

Another Week Ends: Victim Purity, Atheologies, CCM, HuffPost, Clutter Craze, and Brad Bird

1) One of the books on the Mockingbird bookshelf right now is Violence Unveiled, by Gil Bailie, which looks into the philosophy of René Girard. A prime focus of the book stems from Girard’s “Violence and the Sacred,” where Girard looks at the cross of Christ as the origin of human concern for ‘the victim.’ This cruciform concern, since then, has headlined much of history. Bailie writes:

“However savagely we behave, and however wickedly and selectively we wield this moral gavel, protecting or rescuing innocent victims has become the cultural imperative everywhere the biblical influence has been felt. Both our Mother…

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Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

1. After Dave’s post on male problems this week, The Economist published a long-form essay about the plight of blue-collar men in the West. The pay for men with only a high-school diploma fell by 21% (real terms) between 1979 and 2013, as one of the clear male advantages is brawn, which is less relevant than ever when it comes to earnings. Moreover, these men may not have studied feminism in college, but they’ve found themselves in a world increasingly affected by it:

Their ideas of the world and their place in it are shaped by old assumptions about the special role and status due…

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Another Week Ends: New Notes from Luther, Coach Chandler, Mr. Wind, and Dad Bod.

Another Week Ends: New Notes from Luther, Coach Chandler, Mr. Wind, and Dad Bod.

1. Stop the presses! Sit down if you’re standing! Pull over if you’re driving!  The BBC is reporting that a first edition of Martin Luther’s seminal essay On the Freedom of a Christian has been discovered in a library in France, with margin notes from the author himself on changes he intended to make for the second edition. Wild! What I wouldn’t give for access to that manuscript (and the requisite knowledge of late-medieval German)! Not only is this new potential insight into Martin Luther’s early Reformation mind, but the essay in question is one of Luther’s classics that drew many of…

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Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

“Pot-bellied pigs have been wildly unfashionable since 2005. Owning a pot-bellied pig is frowned upon almost as much as being a Christian.”

1. These are the words of Erlich Bachman in the most recent episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, perhaps the funniest show on television at the moment (Veep being its main competition). They come after Erlich has heard a pitch from a tech start-up that he’s considering investing in, a Christian dog-sharing company(!). Before launching into the pot-bellied pigs riff, he tells the two would-be entrepreneurs, “Besides, I’m sure you know that Christianity is borderline illegal in Northern California”. It’s…

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Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay

Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay

1. First off, The Onion has been doing marvelous things lately. Their insight into the human condition is always surprising, especially their sense for all the pressures of social life, how ridiculous they are, and how strange is our reliance on them for identity. Cue Mothershould, their new web series on how to be a better Mom. Our frequent use of scorekeeping as a description of our obsession with metrics and comparison has found its best video example since King of Kong, below:

http://v.theonion.com/onionstudios/video/2782/640.mp4

2. In the dystopian scare department this week, Vicky Price of The Independent reviews a new book by William Davies called The Happiness Industry. Our unprecedented ability to…

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