Posts tagged "The NY Times Magazine"

Another Week Ends: Death Row Hymns, L’Arche Communion, Heresy Polls, Haunted Houses, Gossip Law, Andy Warhol, and 70s Halloween

Another Week Ends: Death Row Hymns, L’Arche Communion, Heresy Polls, Haunted Houses, Gossip Law, Andy Warhol, and 70s Halloween

1. A nice change of pace this week, with not one but two stories of grace to get the tear ducts working. First, via The NY Times Magazine, lawyer and writer Bryan Stephenson recalls “The Man on Death Row Who Changed Me”. During law school, Stephenson was asked to visit an inmate on death row, to inform the prisoner that a ‘real’ lawyer had yet to be assigned his case. Bryan arrives feeling unprepared and nervous about delivering what he assumes to be bad news. To say that the condemned man’s response takes him aback would be an understatement:

The…

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A Snob By Any Other Name

A Snob By Any Other Name

The first time I suspected there might really be something between me and the woman who would become my wife was when she made an off-hand reference to one of my favorite movies. It was a relatively obscure film, and not one that usually came up in conversation. Huh, I thought, that’s interesting. My confidence was shaken a few days later when she mentioned having recently attended a certain music festival, which will remain nameless. Let’s just say my appreciation for The Grateful Dead and their ilk had yet to blossom.

I’m embarrassed to admit this. Not just that I had…

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Another Week Ends: The Age of Forgiveness, Hollywood Denials, Good Fathers, Real Time Internet, Streakers, Sister Cristina, and Summer Camp Grace

Another Week Ends: The Age of Forgiveness, Hollywood Denials, Good Fathers, Real Time Internet, Streakers, Sister Cristina, and Summer Camp Grace

1. Turns out we’ve been writing quite a bit about memory and regret these past few months. Not sure why exactly–most of the posts predate the Google fracas happening in Europe–other than it feels like a fresh way into the old story. Just last week Bryan J. highlighted a piece of commentary worth revisiting, Giles Fraser’s prediction that “the internet generation will be a lot better at forgiveness than older people”. One can’t help but admire the optimism, or rather, envy it, ht RW:

For if we are going to find it more and more difficult to forget, then we are…

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Striving in Our Sleep, or Resting to Work Better?

Striving in Our Sleep, or Resting to Work Better?

Talk about grist for the mill! Did you see Eve Fairbanks’ riff in this past Sunday’s NY Times Magazine, “When Did Sleep Become So Nightmarish?” Amazing stuff. She takes her own struggle with insomnia, what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared a full-blown “public-health epidemic”, and uses it as an entry point to exploring the mentality surrounding sleep in this country–or at least the sleep industry, which has apparently become a $32billion/year endeavor. What she finds could not be more relevant to those interested in the relationship between productivity and identity (or ‘works righteousness’). It’s enough to,…

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The Flying Dutchman, Schadenfreude, and Tim Tebow

The Flying Dutchman, Schadenfreude, and Tim Tebow

The scientist who yields anything to theology, however slight, is yielding to ignorance and false pretenses, and as certainly as if he granted that a horse-hair put into a bottle of water will turn into a snake.

–H. L. Mencken

Saturday was my birthday, and I was showered with a heap of my favorite kind of gift: Stories about triumphant people whose lives have been ruined. I’d like to say that it is theological conviction that makes me read these stories end to end, but it is probably some sort of dopamine-stimulating Schadenfreude. Either way, it is an embarrassment of riches.

First, the…

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Forgiving Conor McBride

Forgiving Conor McBride

Stop what you’re doing and go and read the story from this past Sunday’s NY Times Magazine, “Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?” Actually, check that: wait until you have 20-30 minutes and are in a place where you can absorb an emotional grand piano being dropped on you (in a good way). Paul Tullis relates the harrowing story of Conor McBride, a 19 year-old Floridian who was convicted for killing his girlfriend Ann Grosmaire in 2010, and how both of the families involved opted to pursue something called “restorative justice,” an uncommon but legally sanctioned and attorney-mediated…

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Another Week Ends: Monastic (Olympic) Masochism, Successful Children, Justified Paranoia, Mumford and Sons, Edward Gorey, Creedal Colbert and the Return of PZ’s Podcast

Another Week Ends: Monastic (Olympic) Masochism, Successful Children, Justified Paranoia, Mumford and Sons, Edward Gorey, Creedal Colbert and the Return of PZ’s Podcast

1. As the Olympics wind down (and Morrissey gets his London back), we would do well to read Heather Havrilesky’s jaw-droppingly insightful piece “The Loneliness of the Person Watching the Long Distance Runner” that appeared in the NY Times Magazine last week. She absolutely nails the religiosity at the heart of much contemporary athleticism. And she even touches on how we instrumentalize suffering in a distinctly theology-of-glory-like way, i.e. as a means of self-salvation. Which is a bit ironic, since as far as cultural commentators are concerned, I consider Havrilesky a gold-medalist:

If the ’70s and ’80s were marked by a…

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Longing Machines and the Pinteresting World of Online Curation

Longing Machines and the Pinteresting World of Online Curation

Here’s a meta one for you. In the most recent issue of The NY Times Magazine, the ever inspired Carina Chocano offered some wise and timely reflections on the “curation” phenomenon that occupies so many of our waking hours these days, esp in the form of websites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Chocano interprets the popularity of these sites as evidence of an addiction to (spiritual) longing–a desire to be understood via the objects (and people) we identify ourselves with. In her view, we are not after the objects/vistas/works of art themselves so much as the way those things make us…

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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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A Boy and His Dog: When One-Way Love Meets Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

A Boy and His Dog: When One-Way Love Meets Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Ready for a tearjerker? The NY Times Magazine article “Wonder Dog” could be just what the doctor ordered. The story of Iyal Winokur, a Russian boy with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome adopted by American parents (a rabbi and his wife, in fact), it’s an extremely moving example of one-way love accomplishing what restraint couldn’t, an animal reaching through emotional and physiological defenses that had frustrated all human patience and compassion. You might even say the dog in question, Chancer, is conditioned for the sort of unconditionality that you and I could never muster (I want one!), whose object has done nothing…

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Rom Com Cliches, David Foster Wallace and the Fine Art of the (Over-)Qualification

Rom Com Cliches, David Foster Wallace and the Fine Art of the (Over-)Qualification

It’s time for everybody’s favorite new innovation in criticism deflection: self-awareness! I’m referring to the idea that if you surface the possible criticisms of what you’re creating/doing/saying, they no longer apply – that you are justified, in other words, either artistically, rhetorically or intellectually by the awareness of your faults. And while it’s certainly commendable for filmmakers and writers to be able to laugh at themselves, as the articles point out, oftentimes the winking is a way of masking despair and/or insecurity. In the Atlantic, Chloe Angyal articulates how the trend played itself out in the romantic comedy arena this…

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