1. Holy smokes! Have you read Edward Mendelson’s “The Secret Auden” in the NY Review of Books?! If not, run don’t walk. It’s a jaw-dropping, incredibly inspiring catalog of the clandestine episodes of grace initiated by our all-time favorite Wystan–about as honest a Matthew 6:5 vibe as I’ve come across in ages. Lest these remarkable stories be dismissed as mere hagiography, Mendelson (author of the indispensable Later Auden) doesn’t lionize the great poet, instead tracing the ‘good works’ back to their root–which is not a sense of earning or credit (clearly) but of genuine humility brought on by piercing self-knowledge….
Another Week Ends: Secret Auden, Eagleton Deicide, Remembering Wes, Method Acting, True Detective, and Russian Tourist Tips
Another Week Ends: Self-Making Atheists, Structural Dating, Indiscriminate Addiction, Christian Metal, Guilty Pleasures, and Failed Figure Skaters
1. In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik took the release of two new books about the history of atheism to issue one of his periodic ‘state of modern belief” pieces. Most of the word count is devoted to the question of when the burden of proof definitively shifted from atheists to believers (The Onion weighs in here), and while there are certainly some interesting tidbits, one can’t help but be distracted by: first, wasn’t the exact opposite thing was being said five years ago?, and second, the dichotomy he embraces from one of the books is downright weird, at least…
Amazing. Just amazing:
WASHINGTON—While experts agree you’ve been remarkably successful so far at keeping up the ruse that you’re a capable, worthwhile individual, a new report out this week indicates that today is the day they finally figure out you’re a complete and utter fraud.
The report, compiled by the Pew Research Center, states that sometime within the next 24 hours, people will find out that you have no idea what you’re doing, that you’ve been faking it for years, and that, through continuous lying and shameless posturing, you’ve actually managed to dupe virtually everyone around you into thinking you’re something other…
IRVINE, CA—Saying he doesn’t even feel like trying anymore, 8-year-old Max Bledsoe expressed his strong disappointment Monday after learning that his parents’ love is unconditional. “I always thought they loved me because I’d actually earned it, but unfortunately it turns out that their affection is apparently limitless,” said a frustrated Bledsoe, wondering aloud the point of doing well in school, learning how to play the piano, and always going to bed before 9 p.m. if his parents were just going to keep on loving him no matter what. “Look at me: I just wasted the last three years of my life trying to win their approval by being a good kid. And for what? To get the love that was coming to me anyway?” Bledsoe added that he envied his adopted younger brother, who really has to work for his parents’ love.
America’s Finest News Source came out of the gate swinging this year with a trio of upper-deckers this past week, first and foremost being:
MACON, GA—Sources confirmed today that the brainwashed morons at First Baptist Assembly of Christ, all of whom blindly accept whatever simplistic fairy tales are fed to them, volunteer each Wednesday night to provide meals to impoverished members of the community. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in town who have fallen on hard times and are unable to afford to put food on the table, so we try to help out as best we can,” said 48-year-old Kerri Bellamy, one of the mindless sheep who adheres to a backward ideology and is incapable of thinking for herself, while spooning out homemade shepherd’s pie to a line of poor and homeless individuals. “It feels great to share our blessings with the less fortunate. Plus, it’s fun to work alongside all the members of our [corrupt institution of propaganda and lies] who come out each week.” As of press time, the brainless, unthinking lemmings had donated winter clothing they no longer wore to several needy families and still hadn’t opened their eyes to reality.
Then there’s “Dad’s Tough Exterior Hides Angry, Resentful Center” and “New Report Confirms You Are Most Interesting, Most Important Individual On Earth”. Shine on, you crazy diamonds!
Another Week Ends: Perfectionistic Pride, Spufford Bathes, Country Priests, Shoplifting Grace, Quitting Baseball, Katy Perry, Funeral Selfies, and William Peter Blatty
1. In the Harvard Business Review, Greg McKeown explores the problem of perfectionism, urging us “Today, Just Be Average”. Easier said than done, but a few of the observations are worth reproducing here, ht RW:
Unlike other obsessions and addictions, perfectionism is something a lot of people celebrate, believing it’s an asset. But true perfectionism can actually get in the way of productivity and happiness. I recently interviewed David Burns, author of “Feeling Good” has made this exact connection. In his more than 35,000 therapy sessions he has learned that the pursuit of perfection is arguably the surest way to undermine…
Yet another amazing dispatch from America’s Finest News Source, ht JD:
FORT WAYNE, IN—Lamenting that there are only so many hours in the day to devote to his various stresses, local Epione Medical Instruments sales manager and father of two Dale Humphrey told reporters Friday that he continues to have difficulty striking a proper work-anxiety–life-anxiety balance.
“It seems like I’m always so busy dwelling on the countless dilemmas that come up in the office that I barely have any time to stress over the problems facing me at home,” said Humphrey, 38, noting that the demands of worrying about work leave him…
Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad
1. For starters, Grand Theft Auto V is out! (If you need a strong case for dabbling in it, go here). Kill Screen posted a doozie of a review, provocatively titled, “Grand Theft Auto 5 channels the violent, lonely minds of men, especially mine“, ht SZ:
I shudder with recognition… at the bleeding edge of reality in Grand Theft Auto V. I am both delighted and disturbed by how much I see elements of myself, and of everyone I know, in the narratives of the three protagonists: Michael, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips.
That statement doesn’t look too good, for my health or for…
A great quick one about inner-lawyers and the heat they can generate when the wheels start turning:
BELMONT, MA—Escalating over the course of 20 minutes from a restrained discussion with a coworker to a heated confrontation between multiple members of his management team, the fantasized argument currently taking place in the mind of Digital Ventures, Inc. employee Jesse Newman is getting pretty intense, sources confirmed today. “You’re talking to me about incompetence? Me?” Newman said in his mind while furrowing his brow and letting the entirely fictitious dispute go to an increasingly frank and emotionally charged place. “Mark, no one in this room agrees with you. Why? Because they don’t respect you. And they never have. And if you honestly believe that what you do around here is in any way vital, or important, or irreplaceable, then you are out of your mind. Absolutely out of your mind. No…you made it personal by insinuating that I wasn’t up to the task.”
Talk about bait! The All-Seeing, All-Knowing Onion strikes again:
OLATHE, KS—Despite numerous reservations and misgivings He harbored about the 33-year-old mortgage broker, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Our Holy Savior, reportedly entered the heart of Derek Moehr on Wednesday, reluctantly illuminating the local man with His divine grace.
Christ, who described Moehr as “kind of a deadbeat” and “not a particularly great husband or father,” said that He was hesitant to fill Moehr’s soul with the Word of God, but conceded that, as the Heavenly Redeemer of Mankind, He ultimately felt He had no choice but to allow His holy…