1. Part and parcel of the juvenilization we touched on earlier this week is the phenomenon UPenn bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel (best name ever?!) describes as “the American immortal”, that not-so-peculiar species that devotes so much of its time/energy to prolonging life that it kills them (often before they die). Surprise surprise–underneath the aversion to growing up may lurk a denial of human limitation which is ultimately a denial of death. In the latest bit of watercooler bait from The Atlantic, “Why I Hope To Die at 75″, Emanuel challenges the notion of “compression of morbidity”, the widespread presumption that the…
Another Week Ends: American Immortals, Henry James, U2charists, Authentic Nerdists, AWK Prays, and Reclusive Dieties
That didn’t take long! This review comes to us from Nathan Hart:
The biggest surprise of the launch of U2’s new album isn’t the way it was released—it’s how good the songs are.
It has been five long years since No Line On The Horizon, an album with some great moments but one which also revealed a band in artistic decline. In those five years, they knew they were one more misstep away from irrelevance. The reports weren’t hopeful: a new producer here, a scrapped album concept there. They seemed “stuck in a moment that they can’t get out of”, finally crushed…
In honor of the surprise release of the new (free!) U2 record, Songs of Innocence, we bring you a reflection on the band from Andrew Barber:
Weird Al Yankovic made me a U2 fan. I’m not proud of it. But it is true.
Every now and then our local library would sell some of their less popular stuff for cheap. On a whim, my dad picked up a cassette for one dollar. You know, one of those small square things you sometimes had to wind with your finger. A single track of the orchestral score from the 1995 movie Batman Forever was…
This is a clip from a longer interview on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne, an Irish program on RTÉ Television (ht, AP). Much of what Bono says here overlaps portions of the book Bono: In Conversation With Michka Assayas that we’ve highlighted in the past. Bono seems to be in something of a league of his own as such a huge rockstar who is so open with his (solid) Christian faith, and he is articulate about it to boot. Watch the whole interview here.
By the way, did you happen to catch the amazing/dizzying U2 performance of “Invisible” on the roof of 30 Rock on the premier episode of The Tonight Show Staring Jimmy Fallon? Their acoustic set of “Ordinary Love” was pretty mesmerizing, too. Some worthy lyrics here:
‘Cause we can’t fall any further
If we can’t feel ordinary love
And we cannot reach any higher
If we can’t deal with ordinary love
Are we tough enough
For ordinary love
This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional comes from Gil Kracke.
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life…
Another Week Ends: Terry Eagleton, Nar-Anon, Crazy Stupid Love, Pottermore, Depression No-No’s, Drones, Speidi & Achtung Baby
1. Over at PatrolMag, David Sessions posted a terrific interview with British literary critic Terry Eagleton concerning, among other things, “Capitalism and the West’s Existential Crisis.” The occasion for the interview is the release of Eagleton’s new book on Marxism. Of course, Eagleton is not your garden variety Marxist (thank God), and regardless of your political convictions, his reflections are a good companion to the “relentlessly depressing debt ceiling news,” as Sessions memorably puts it. For example:
Sessions: While we’re talking about belief, in your Terry Lectures at Yale in 2008, you described Christianity as both more gloomy than any other…
Reviewing Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark without having seen the production is a bit like reviewing The Pale King. There are plenty of comments you can make, but nothing you can really say. It’s all conjecture. You can talk about the creators, their significance and ambition, but that’s about it. Song lyrics probably shouldn’t be considered outside of their musical settings, and showtunes can’t be evaluated (or even experienced) apart from their choreography. Yet here we are.
Doubtless you’re aware that the score for the show was written by Bono and The Edge – as they themselves have joked, “We used…
Don’t Let It Get You Down – Echo & The Bunnymen
A Lady of a Certain Age – The Divine Comedy
Time Spent in Los Angeles – Dawes
We’ve Met – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Back Into Your World – Son Volt
Dear Laughing Doubters – Sondre Lerche
Piledriver Waltz – Alex Turner
The Judgement – Solomon Burke
We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – The Animals
Jesus Came From Outta Space – Supergrass
A Freak Like Me Needs Company – Patrick Page in Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark
Tell Me I’m Not Free – John Davis
Church of Wilson – Cotton Mather
Automatic Soup – Shudder To Think feat….
Another Week Ends: Online Echo Chambers, Deathbed Regrets, Dylan at the Cross, MJ’s Bad, Singing Spiderman, Penmanship Psychology & Seinfeld
1. A couple of articles that follow-up on the filter bubble phenomenon we posted on last week, both from The NY Times. The first is an editorial by Eli Pariser, “When The Internet Thinks It Knows You” and the second a slightly broader look at the issue, “The Trouble With The Echo Chamber Online.” While the issue is clearly an important one, the solutions being proposed – i.e. programmed diversity – strikes me as a tad shallow. That is, there’s clearly a resistance to the idea that we might actually be culpable in our selective listening/browsing in a way that…
Lest all the anti-New-Years-resolutions sentiment come across as pure party-poopery, I give you four songs in keeping with the holiday, two of which are downright joyful:
1. The best of all-time, without question – sorry, Bono – is The Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year”, covered here by The Avett Brothers:
2. I didn’t think it was possible, but Slaid Cleaves’ prayerful (and considerably more Mbird-friendly) “One Good Year” gives The Zombies a run for their money, sort of the peccator to their justus:
3. Let’s face it though – the aforementioned “New Years Day” from U2 is pretty darn great. Great…
Pretty exciting stuff, reminiscent of their other superhero-inspired song (below), and featuring some particularly great opening lines, the first preview of their upcoming Turn Off The Dark musical:
p.s. Believe it or not, the video above was responsible for introducing yours truly to post-Narnia Lewis (3:50).
Filling in for DZ this week…
1. A great article from Chris Gottlieb for any parent who has ever been given unsolicited advice on their parenting skills ( I suppose that includes everyone?).
The author laments: I marvel at how comfortable people feel telling complete strangers about their purported parenting flaws…No infraction is too small or too strange to elicit comment. (The newspaper was too close to the baby’s eyes?) All my parent friends have experienced this no-win culture of judging parenting. Depending on their personalities, they have cowered, gotten angry or been demoralized by…