Posts tagged "The AV Club"

Dixie, When I Let You Go: A Few More Thoughts on Breaking Bad’s Finale

Before the world moves on, we thought we’d offer a second take on the Breaking Bad finale. I consider this something of an abbreviated follow-up to my CT piece on the show this past summer. Spoilers abound:

The universe of Breaking Bad has always been a closed or ‘finite’ system (as Vince Gilligan hammered home in his comments on Talking Bad the other night), and the finale bore this out in a remarkably confident manner, with Gilligan giving the last word to Badfinger’s Pete Ham, who sings “Guess I got what I deserved” over Walt’s dead body. Indeed, deserving was the…

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Another Week Ends: Blame Games, Law/Gospel Lunches, FOMO, Tom Wolfe, Lou Reed on Yeezus, Luther S3, and Middleton’s Law

Let the pinning commence – not sure what we were waiting for but Mbird is now on Pinterest! Pretty gratifying to see six year’s worth of visual silliness in one place. Also, pre-registration for our Fall Conference near Houston, TX opens next week, on August 1st. Theme this time will be “Overextended, Under God: Christian Freedom in a Non-Stop World.”

1. Kicking things off this week in the mercy-not-sacrifice department is a doozie of an essay by Barbara Fried in the Boston Review entitled “Beyond Blame,” which takes as its starting point the observation that “recent decades have been boom years…

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Another Week Ends: Successful Blueprints, Redemptive Politicians, Don Draper’s Truth, Marital Advice, Humanist Blasphemy, Mavis Staples, Bono, and Dropping Keys

1. This is embarrassing to admit. As much as I love The Replacements, it is The Wilson Quarterly that has truly been rocking my world this past week. Two articles in particular, both from their Spring issue, are worth mentioning here. First, there’s Sarah Courteau’s “Feel Free to Help Yourself”, in which the author surveys not only the history of self-help but allows herself to dabble in it sincerely. All very relevant and, well, helpful–but also not nearly as patronizing as some of us might be tempted to be. She writes, ht WB:

Self-help, along with the rest of the culture,…

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Another Week Ends: Wiman’s Abyss, Opinionless Boyfriends, Compassionology, Lehrergate, Antinomianism, Revolution, Taylor Swift, and Wreck-It Ralph

1. Every once and a while something comes across your screen that is so beautiful and honest and profound and enlivening that you want to force others to watch it. If commands of this kind worked, that’s what I’d do here. I’m referring to the interview that Bill Moyers conducted with poet (and Poetry Magazine editor) Christian Wiman this past February. Much like the essay of Wiman’s we featured last week, this is gut level stuff; he touches on pretty much everything that’s important. Or I should day, nothing that he touches on isn’t important: love, marriage, cancer, beauty, poetry,…

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Another Week Ends: Crimson Despair, Teacher Expectations, MJ’s Bad, Improvement Narratives, Neil Young, Neurospeculation, The Master, and Conf Update

1. An incredibly moving account of “Depression and Despair at Harvard” in response to the suicide of a classmate by Jordan Monge on The Harvard Ichthus. With real vulnerability, Monge touches on the crushing power of expectation, the vicious circle of shame and fear, the grace of defeat, even the toxic and tragic way Christians revert to the Law, post-conversion. It’s a courageous testament to the reality that we are not saved us from pain, but in and through it, ht AZ:


Admitting my weakness feels like admitting that I am not good enough to bear my own name….

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Another Week Ends: Scary Nihilists, Repentant Starlets, Priestly Astronauts, Bad Vestments, Passive Aggressive Notes, Recovering Olympicists, Spiritual Conductors, Dylan’s Blood and Rooted

1. The media has been saturated this past week with stories about the Aurora tragedy, and rightfully so. Ross Douthat’s “The Way We Fear Now” was one particulary striking (and slightly scary!) example:

[Holmes'] crime has probably also solidified the Batman movies’ status as a cultural touchstone for our era of anxiety… our contemporary iconography of evil is increasingly dominated by figures who seem to have stepped out of Nolan’s take on the DC Comics universe: world-burners, meticulous madmen, terrorists without a cause.

Older enemies — Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Mao’s China — represented a different form of evil: institutional rather than…

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Another Week Ends: Reddit Confessionals, Influencing Nick Cave, Deciphering Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Gospel-Centrism, Reinhold Bieber, White People Problems, Bat-Staches and Haidt on Colbert

1. Last week I mentioned a recent study exploring the physical impact of keeping secrets, and by implication, the biological necessity of confession (to say nothing of absolution). This week, that study has become manifest in an alarming way. A Reddit thread which asked the question, “What Secret Could Ruin Your Life If It Came Out?” has turned into a stomach-churning tour of the darkest recesses of the human heart and experience, with people anonymously confessing to things as innocuous as petty theft and faking an illness (e.g. “I once helped out my a female friend’s family by taking care…

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Another Week Ends: Louis CK, Sam Spade, Prevailing Grace, Heavy Metal, Axl Rose, Viennese Creativity, Cabin in the Woods, and yes, more Damsels in Distress

1. “The Filthy Moralist: How Louis C.K. Became America’s Unlikely Conscience” in The Atlantic is remarkable, especially in its conclusion. As always when it comes to Louis, there’s a high depravity quotient, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. But also as always when it comes to Louis, the darkness is not neutral or meaningless (or merely shocking). In fact, it might even be worth the discomfort in this case to get to the final couple of paragraphs, which truly capture what Louis is about, whether he wants to be or not. It strikes me as especially pertinent as we…

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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: Zeitgeistlichkeit, Atheist Religiosity, Freakonomic Fathers, Ralph Erskine, MJ, Devo’s Paradox, Hunger Games, Deep Blue Sea, and Hoarders

1. A pair of terrific book reviews have appeared in The NY Times over the last couple weeks, the first being Generation X author Douglas Coupland‘s inspiring riff on Hari Kunzu’s opus, Gods Without Men, and the exciting new genre it epitomizes (“Translit”). Ironically enough, he makes a number of Twitter-ready observations:

[We are living in a] “state of possibly permanent atemporality given to us courtesy of the Internet. No particular era now dominates. We live in a post-era without forms of its own powerful enough to brand the times. The zeitgest of 2012 is that we have a lot of…

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Another Week Ends: Inner Machiavellians, Lutheran Insults, Whisky Priests, Monkees, Mets, Parenthood, Veep, Viola Davis and Frankenweenie

1. I’ll admit it: I’ve been trying to lay off the David Brooks, at least in the Weekend columns. As insightful as he frequently is, there are plenty of fish in the digital sea, are there not? Well, to paraphrase a Pacino, every time I think I’m out, he pulls me back in. That is to say, giving anything top billing other than his NY Times column from yesterday, “The Machiavellian Temptation,” would be dishonest. It’s getting to the point where I suspect we’re being punked a la Candid Camera. Anyway, this time around Herr Brooks is contrasting recent breakthroughs…

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Another Week Ends: Immortal Smartphones, Jefferson Bethke, Adolescent Rewards, Profound Comedy, Therapeutic Irony, more George Lucas, Pixar and Hunger Games

1. In last weekend’s NY Times Magazine, Carina Chocano explained “The Dilemma of Being a Cyborg” – AKA what our current obsession with “data” has to say about our humanity – dropping her usual allotment of insight bombs along the way. Not only does she point out the increasingly prevailing illusion that if something wasn’t ‘documented’ it didn’t happen, she gets at the real crux of our smartphoned existence: the false promise of immortality. In other words, a familiar serpent has found its way into the, um, Apple Store:

This is the dilemma of being a cyborg: It’s not just that…

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