Posts tagged "Performancism"

Dostoevsky Talks Romans 7, Original Caprice, and Performancism

Dostoevsky Talks Romans 7, Original Caprice, and Performancism

From his Notes from Underground, in which the great Russian author’s disturbed protagonist questions ideals of human progress, enlightenment, secular humanism, and other naïvetés of the nineteenth century – but timeless, too:

But these are all golden dreams. Oh, tell me, who first announced, who was the first to proclaim that man does dirty only because he doesn’t know his real interests; and that were he to be enlightened, were his eyes to be opened to his real, normal interests, man would immediately stop doing dirty, would immediately become good and noble, because, being enlightened and understanding his real profit, he would…

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The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

Did you get to check out The Atlantic piece DZ quoted in last week’s weekender, “Parents Ruin Sports for Their Kids by Obsessing About Winning”? As soon as I read it, I knew taking a closer look was inevitable this week in Mbird sports!

DZ was right, the title is anything but subtle. In the piece, Lisa Endlich Heffernan admits to her own proneness to turning athletics into an avenue for performancism, not just for her child but for herself:

Every sports cliche you can think of, I have uttered: teamwork, respect for the coach, being part of something bigger than yourself,…

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Bible Wednesdays: Jesus Heals the Man at the Pool (from Competitive Urges)

Bible Wednesdays: Jesus Heals the Man at the Pool (from Competitive Urges)

This week, we turn to John 5:5-8 for the story about a pool, a paralytic, and Jesus. 

“Do you want to be made well?” This is the classic question usually asked by discussion leaders on this passage. They mean, by this, that we can be made well by Jesus if only we ask. This view is shallow. It’s shallow because it ignores the deep-seated psychological truth that almost no one, in practice, actually wants the help that God offers. No one can ask honestly, no one can ask sincerely with anything other than “I believe; help my unbelief” in mind.

Anyway, Jesus…

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Another Week Ends: One Way Love, Platonic Tennis, Curmudgeon Law, Downton Anti-Snobbery, Ecumenical Shipwrecks, Dr. Hook, House of Cards and Justified

Another Week Ends: One Way Love, Platonic Tennis, Curmudgeon Law, Downton Anti-Snobbery, Ecumenical Shipwrecks, Dr. Hook, House of Cards and Justified

1. The hits just keep on coming. Spring Conference speaker and friend Tullian Tchividjian announced his next book this morning and the title will be familiar to some of you, One Way Love: The Power of Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. Tullian, of course, is paying tribute to the definition of grace that PZ coined in Grace In Practice. If the rest of the book is at all like the intro (and I have a strong feeling that it is, wink wink), then this is something to be very excited about:

The good news of God’s inexhaustible grace for…

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The Harsh, Hopeful Ballad of Urban Meyer

The Harsh, Hopeful Ballad of Urban Meyer

This one may make you cry. Even if, like me, you don’t know much about college football. I’m referring to the jaw-dropping story by Wright Thompson about (in)famous Ohio State coach Urban Meyer that ESPN Magazine ran in August. It is easily the most powerful account of Law and Grace I’ve read this year, not to mention a touching look at father-son relationships. The piece paints a stark portrait of “performancism,” i.e., what it looks like when one’s self-worth is synonymous with one’s achievements, when failure is not an option–in theological language what’s known as “works righteousness.” Of course, performance is…

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The Fame Formula: The New Performancism of Children’s Television

The Fame Formula: The New Performancism of Children’s Television

A very interesting article by Bryan Lufkin over at The Atlantic about the seismic thematic shift that’s taken place on children’s networks like Nickelodeon and Disney. Lufkin calls it “The Hannah Montana Effect”, citing several primetime slots  currently being occupied by 30-minute programs about the everyday lives of rich and famous, dream-achieving youngsters. It’s a little weird, considering the 90s were filled with shows about average, no-count, oddball children. Doug Funny had a C average, kept getting beat up by Roger Klotz, had a green friend Skeeter, and could never move past friendship with Patti Mayonnaise. The protagonist of Hey…

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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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Are Stage Mothers the New Tax Collectors? Toddlers, Tiaras and Dieting 7-Year Olds

Are Stage Mothers the New Tax Collectors? Toddlers, Tiaras and Dieting 7-Year Olds

A couple of notable new volleys in the parenting wars world. Doubtless by now you’ve heard about Dara-Lynn Weiss, the New York City mother who set off a firestorm by writing an article for Vogue detailing her, um, zealous efforts to curb her 7-year-old daughter’s eating habits. Apparently the poor girl in question was failing to “self-regulate” adequately at the preschool snack table. Weiss has been publicly reproached on every website imaginable (“I’m pretty sure Weiss just handed her daughter the road map to all her future eating disorders,” wrote one commenter on nymag.com), and it’s hard not to concur…

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Jesus Plus Nothing Equals a Gospel Tornado

Jesus Plus Nothing Equals a Gospel Tornado

About a year and a half ago, I came across an interview about a book called Surprised by Grace that stopped me in my tracks. In my limited and admittedly cynical experience, “grace” in the title of a book/church tends to signal its opposite, so I was primed to roll my eyes – to be ungracious, in other words. Shame on me! I read it once, and then I read it again. Sure enough, here was a new voice articulating much of the same liberating message that had inspired the founding of Mockingbird: the understanding that the “basic” Gospel message…

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Failing at Failure: Performancism in the College Admissions Process

Failing at Failure: Performancism in the College Admissions Process

It’s no stretch to say that our schools serve as microcosms of society, often casting cultural trends and crises into stark relief. Things we can excuse/support when it comes to the free market are a bit harder to endorse when they’re having a direct and detrimental effect on children. As we all know, nowhere is the rubber of American “performancism” hitting the road of human well-being more harshly these days than in our secondary schools, specifically the college admissions process. That is, the emphasis on superhuman achievement may not only be fostering a culture of competition and fear – cynically…

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