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Posts tagged "Andrew Sullivan"

The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils

The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils

They say you can trace the exact moment the Great British Public fell out of love with Morrissey to the release of his 1996 album, Southpaw Grammar. It sounds like just the sort of brazen pronouncement rock critics love to make, more of a conversation-starter than a statement of fact. And yet, you can’t really argue that opening a ‘pop’ record with a 12-minute glam-rock dirge heavily sampling Shostakovich was the safest strategy for holding onto the affections of a wide audience. Which is precisely what Morrissey did with his “The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils”, an epic that…

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Another Week Ends: Leo's Apartment, The Boss's Dad Issues, Jung's Advice, the None's Affiliation, and the FitBit's Failure

Another Week Ends: Leo’s Apartment, The Boss’s Dad Issues, Jung’s Advice, the None’s Affiliation, and the FitBit’s Failure

1. I think we have to lead off with this one: Leo DiCaprio’s Malibu beach property is on the market (for a measly $11M), and the folks from LAist decided to have some fun with the realtors over at Redfin, in a nihilistic sort of way. With some help from their friends—Jean-Paul Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche—the journalists ponder whether or not this future home could ever bring meaning to an otherwise meaningless and, well, imponderable existence.

LAist: Hi! Love the house!! Just a few questions. Albert Camus once said “At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman.” This house is obviously…

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Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second...)

Lay Down Your Smartphone and Follow Me? (Just a Second…)

I owe you an apology. Or at least a confession. Nine months after switching to a flip phone, and about six months after making a big stink about it, I went back to a smart one. I’m not proud.

What got me in the end wasn’t Internet itself. I stand by what I wrote about the cost, both personal and communal, of non-stop web access. I probably undersold it. What made me, er, flip back was two things: music and texts. They were the rationalization, in any case.

I realized about a month into the experiment that I wasn’t willing to live…

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Impossible Takes a Weak

Impossible Takes a Weak

“Difficult takes a day; impossible takes a week.” -Jay Z

“My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.” This clichéd job-interview response speaks to a wide variety of human frailties: our inability to recognize our own weakness; our inability to admit weakness to ourselves, even if we recognize it; our fear of others judging us for our weakness.

Well, I can admit it: I’m not a perfectionist. I never have been, and, frankly, I’ve never really tried. My biggest weakness is that I’m a dilettante. I’m great at getting things 80% done. I can write a first draft in minutes; I can…

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Don't Gimme Shelter

Don’t Gimme Shelter

If I burden myself with a little help-mate during my adventures, it is not out of sentiment or caprice – it is that he has many fine qualities of his own that he has overlooked in his obsession with me. Indeed, any reputation I have for mental acuity and sharpness comes, in truth, from the extraordinary contrast John so selflessly provides.

–Sherlock, Sherlock, Season 3, Episode 2

Two items appeared on Andrew Sullivan’s blog Sunday morning that seemed, in proximity, to sharpen each other. The first item repeats a suggestion by Tom Ehrich, an Episcopal priest, who wrote in the Washington Post…

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The Law of Lightbulbs

The Law of Lightbulbs

Andrew Sullivan alerted his readers to a new study whose results should come as no surprise to readers of this blog. The study came from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was picked up by grist.org. Here is how grist.org described the study:

With a fixed amount of money in their wallet, respondents had to “buy” either an old-school lightbulb or an efficient compact florescent bulb (CFL) . . . . Both bulbs were labeled with basic hard data on their energy use, but without a translation of that into climate pros and cons. When the bulbs cost…

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Another Week Ends: Fairness, The Life of Wiman, Motherly Love, Malick Sacraments, Karr Talks Saunders, Anderson Shoots Prada, and the Ke$ha Trump Card

Another Week Ends: Fairness, The Life of Wiman, Motherly Love, Malick Sacraments, Karr Talks Saunders, Anderson Shoots Prada, and the Ke$ha Trump Card

1) The Chronicle released a preview last month to Wiman’s newest piece of work, My Bright Abyss, which we’ve already pulled from a couple of times, here and here, and the life and the illness that spurred it. Jay Parini writes that poetry criticism and commentary began by pulling the fabric of a piece of work as closely as possible upon the tables of lived experience, but Parini also notes that contemporary criticism has become so po-mo-phobic of plainspeak that it winds up saying nothing at all. But Wiman, on the other hand, with sickness, has been voided of this…

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Another Week Ends: Schismogenesis, Megachurch Funerals, Accidental Theology, Smartphone Shrinks, Mean Professors, Nocebos, Zooropa and Elysium

Another Week Ends: Schismogenesis, Megachurch Funerals, Accidental Theology, Smartphone Shrinks, Mean Professors, Nocebos, Zooropa and Elysium

1. The NY Times published a wise op-ed from sociologist Tanya Luhrmann this past week on the the subject of “How Skeptics and Believers Can Connect”. She begins the column by recounting a disconcerting experience she had promoting her terrific book, When God Talks Back, on a Christian radio station. Luhrmann does not self-identify as a Christian, which the host of the show apparently took as a cue to berate her into converting on air (rather than dig into a book that has quite a bit of sympathetic material to relate). Now, God only knows what exactly the motivation/justification at…

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Squatters Rights, Impossible Commands and My Fitness Pal

Squatters Rights, Impossible Commands and My Fitness Pal

Q. Since we do not fully obey [the Ten Commandments], are they useful at all?

A. Since we do not fully obey them, we see more clearly our sin and our need for redemption.
– An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism, from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979, Episcopal (USA), pages 843-862.

My wife and I have a friend who owns rental houses. Let’s call him Jeremiah. Last fall, one of Jeremiah’s friends lost his job and got a divorce, so Jeremiah let this friend move into one of his rental houses and live there rent free “until he could…

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Another Week Ends: Spoiled Kids, Harvard Perfectionism, KKKlan Grace, Lonergan's Lament, Negative Thinking, Mormonism, Golf Ethics, Sorkinisms, and Fall Conference Update

Another Week Ends: Spoiled Kids, Harvard Perfectionism, KKKlan Grace, Lonergan’s Lament, Negative Thinking, Mormonism, Golf Ethics, Sorkinisms, and Fall Conference Update

1. Over at The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert surveyed the latest swath of parenting books, asking the question “Why Are American Kids So Spoiled?” Much of the article reiterates what we’ve been hearing with alarming frequency the past couple years, namely that the current “helicopter/snowplow” culture of control is backfiring, royally. It’s an honest if also fairly depressing analysis: the “performancism” epidemic being perpetuated (somewhat out of necessity) by US colleges has filtered down to the preschool level, which, combined with the hangover from the self-esteem movement and incredible advances in technology has created this weird situation where kids grow…

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Another (Holy) Week Ends: Unachievement, Damsels Reviews, Gastrodad Confessions, Youth Ministry, Music Snobs, Girls and Darth Vader

Another (Holy) Week Ends: Unachievement, Damsels Reviews, Gastrodad Confessions, Youth Ministry, Music Snobs, Girls and Darth Vader

1. At this point, you’ve likely seen Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek cover story on the “Crisis in Christianity”. While there’s regrettably little talk of salvation – which I’m not sure is really within the purview of such a piece – and the reference to Jefferson is a bit dubious, the overall diagnosis strikes me as sound. Sullivan’s conclusion is particularly stirring:

The crisis of Christianity is perhaps best captured in the new meaning of the word “secular.” It once meant belief in separating the spheres of faith and politics; it now means, for many, simply atheism. The ability to be faithful in…

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Another Week Ends: Hitch, Facebook Blues, Baby Morality, Auden's Conversion, M:I4, The Replacements, Gorey Animation, and Knowing Yule

Another Week Ends: Hitch, Facebook Blues, Baby Morality, Auden’s Conversion, M:I4, The Replacements, Gorey Animation, and Knowing Yule

1. By now you’ve no doubt heard that legendary journalist/polemicist/personality/Atheist Christopher Hitchens died yesterday. Hitchens was always my favorite of the New Atheists, and not just because he was the funniest. Alone of his colleagues (and I’m sure he hated being lumped in with anyone!), he seemed to object to the Gospel itself, rather than the normal hangups about the Bible or the Church. He found the idea of Grace to be repulsive and morally reprehensible. “Vicarious redemption” is what he called it, insisting that the notion that a person could be forgiven by someone other than the one they…

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