Posts tagged "First Things"
Another Week Ends: Cosmopolitans, Accepting Feedback, Instagram Envy, Ideology Trumping Art, Hawaii Sucks, Muggles, and Mudbloods

Another Week Ends: Cosmopolitans, Accepting Feedback, Instagram Envy, Ideology Trumping Art, Hawaii Sucks, Muggles, and Mudbloods

1. While we try to stay away from plugging anything too exuberantly, and Lord knows TV/movie recs can make one less likely to watch, not more, still – writer/director Whit Stillman is coming out with a new show on Amazon, Cosmopolitans, which sounds like a not-so-veiled reference to his acclaimed feature debut about young WASP life in NYC. Vanity Fair this week got a preview of the pilot, and TV snobs will be heartened to know that Stillman cited Everybody Loves Raymond and Desperate Housewives as favorites. Cautiously optimistic, Stillman said that even if the show doesn’t get picked up, he’s happy to have just a pilot: “I really feel that…

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Another Week Ends: Overrated Successes, Disappointing Babies, Nostalgia for Human Error, Impossible Repayment and Technocrat Baseball

Another Week Ends: Overrated Successes, Disappointing Babies, Nostalgia for Human Error, Impossible Repayment and Technocrat Baseball

1. William Deresiewicz’s clickbaity “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” draws in high-achievers and their parents to, well, pull the rug out from under them. Apologies for the lengthy quotes, but it’s very good, ht MB:

These enviable youngsters appear to be the winners in the race we have made of childhood. But the reality is very different, as I have witnessed in many of my own students and heard from the hundreds of young people whom I have spoken with on campuses or who have written to me over the last few years. Our system of elite education manufactures…

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Another Week Ends: Doctor Death, The Yoga Righteous, Performance Reviews, Child’s Play, and Luther vs. Calvin Super Bowl Barbarism

Another Week Ends: Doctor Death, The Yoga Righteous, Performance Reviews, Child’s Play, and Luther vs. Calvin Super Bowl Barbarism

1) A head resident at Stanford University, aged 36, just found out he has inoperable lung cancer, and wrote about in the New York Times. In the recognition of his own (near) mortality, Dr. Paul Kalanithi talks about crossing the line from doctor to patient, and what that’s done to his perspective on the statistics of his condition. He knows that, as a doctor, what one must do is instill or summon hope in patients–tell them they’ve got a vague sense of possibility to go further, tell them what they need to focus on (their families, their own well-being) to…

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Missing the Star with Christmas Cards and Social Media

Missing the Star with Christmas Cards and Social Media

Here’s a timely one from our friend Win Bassett:

Regular columnist for The Guardian and Church of England priest Giles Fraser tackles one of Mockingbird’s favorite subjects this week, the wounded soul of social media. Fraser frames his discussion with the evolution of Christmas cards:

Christmas cards used to be about mangers, kings and shepherds. Then they became about robins. Then about reindeer. Now they are about us. “Religion has gone away,” said the novelist AS Byatt “and all we are left with is ourselves, so we have to be interested in ourselves. And we can be psychoanalytically interested in ourselves or…

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What’s Wrong With the New Pope? A Commentary on the Commentary on the Latest Interview

What’s Wrong With the New Pope? A Commentary on the Commentary on the Latest Interview

For those who missed it, Pope Francis gave another fantastic interview last week, this time with the atheistic founder of La Repubblica. I think we’re on the verge of an additional dialogue shift, as His Holiness, showing no signs of changing his tone, will gradually start to provoke people within his own church, if the past is any indicator. The last “Papa Buono” provoked an absurdly paradoxical schism in the name of traditionalism, and the most interesting aspect of the new Francis I material, to me, is the beginnings of a reaction within his Church. “New persuasive words“, or Christian Wiman’s “new…

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Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson’s Speech

Another Week Ends: Motivated Podcasts, Inverted Envy, Doofus Batman, Evensong Revelations, Rowling Rewards, Salinger Silence, Denny Lives Again, and Watterson’s Speech

1. “Want to Win a Political Debate? Try Making a Weaker Argument” reads a headline over at The Pacific Standard, and what follows is a helpful refresher on the overpowering role of self-image when it comes to argumentation. In very Haidt-esque fashion, and with the help of some fresh research, the article claims that the strongest arguments for a particular position are the ones most likely to trigger a defensive response from those who disagree. The implications for those engaged in any kind of religious or theological dialogue should be self-evident. As we all know, social psychology of this kind…

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My Baby Does the Hanky Panky: Sex Is Bigger Than You (and Me and Everyone We Know)

My Baby Does the Hanky Panky: Sex Is Bigger Than You (and Me and Everyone We Know)

Two remarkable articles about sex–you know, coitus–have come across my screen in the past couple weeks, both of them refreshingly offbeat. The first comes from Alain De Botton, he of Religion for Atheists fame and the new How to Think More About Sex (not to mention one of the most consistently interesting twitterers out there). It appeared in The Wall Street Journal under the suitably provocative title, “Why Most Men Aren’t Man Enough to Handle Web Porn”. De Botton is interested in exposing, pun intended, the strange double-bind of what passes for discourse about sex in our culture, namely, that…

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Another Year Ends: Evangelical Decline, more Les Mis, Tebow Absurdity, Anxious Parents, The Hobbit, Apatow in Crisis, Millenial Affirmations and A Muppet Family Christmas

Another Year Ends: Evangelical Decline, more Les Mis, Tebow Absurdity, Anxious Parents, The Hobbit, Apatow in Crisis, Millenial Affirmations and A Muppet Family Christmas

1. An uncommonly insightful piece by John Dickerson appeared in The NY Times about “The Decline of Evangelical America.” Writing as an evangelical himself, Dickerson recites some jarring statistics before launching into a sympathetic and genuinely hopeful conclusion, ht SZ:

In 2007, the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, in a survey of 1,300 college professors, found that 3 percent held “unfavorable feelings” toward Jews, 22 percent toward Muslims and 53 percent toward evangelical Christians…

The core evangelical belief is that love and forgiveness are freely available to all who trust in Jesus Christ. This is the “good news” from which the…

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Perfection and Failure in Black Swan

Perfection and Failure in Black Swan

A great little post by Anthony Sacramone over at First Things about “Law vs Gospel in Black Swan”, ht MS:

Nina [the ballerina, played by Natalie Portman] is simply too naive, too fragile, too “good,” even, to access the “dark side.” She is offering up only half a performance. She must “free” herself! Only then will she be capable of delivering the “whole,” even if it means a terrifying fragmentation of her personality.

But with a little help from her friends, and her own internal pressures, she gets better (or worse, depending on how you look at it)….

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Whit Stillman in First Things

Whit Stillman in First Things

A terrific and very lengthy profile of Mbird-fave filmmaker Whit Stillman over at First Things, which includes the incredible news that Damsels in Distress, his first feature in over a decade, has finished shooting! The article abounds with priceless soundbites, a few being:

“I remember being very young, and there were greasers, people who were very Elvis Presley-ish, and rock-’n’-roll juvenile delinquents, and these were people who I assumed would just disappear, and they were something that was really unappealing and not constructive and kind of awful. But then, rather than going away, they became completely dominant and then metamorphosed into…

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Mockingbirds of the World Unite

Mockingbirds of the World Unite

Along the lines of our recent interview with Mark Galli, I’ve been encouraged by the discovery of a few more “voice(s) crying in the wilderness.” Over at everyone’s favorite evangelical-catholic magazine, First Things, I ran into this article by Jared C. Wilson of the blog: gospeldrivenchurch. I highly recommend the whole article, Dude, Where’s my Gospel. Here is the opening:

Gospel deficiency is the major crisis of the evangelical church. The good news has been replaced by many things, most often a therapeutic, self-help approach to biblical application. The result is a Church that, ironically enough, preaches works, not grace, and…

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All The Romery People

All The Romery People

In Oxford on October 15, 1555, Anglican Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burned as Protestant heretics under the reign of Queen Mary. Shortly before they were murdered, Ridley said to Latimer, “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” And although this candle has indeed burned for over 450 years, many believe that this week’s Papal decision to allow for disaffected Anglicans to enter full communion with the Roman church, may reduce it to, at best, a smoldering wick.

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