May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
February 28, 2014
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
Ross Douthat on religious experience and it’s role in modern life:
In a sense, it’s hard to imagine a better illustration of Taylor’s argument than the Verhoeven-Ono contrast. In the case of the Japanese man’s experience, you have the porous self made manifest — his experience of the tsunami’s ghosts is explicitly one of external forces entering his “psychic and physical” space, collapsing “the boundary between self and other,” and there’s no clear place where belief or dogma intrudes to control the experience, to make it somehow “optional” or “voluntarily embraced.” Then in the case of Verhoeven, you see the modern “buffered self” in action: An unusual experience is met with an “intra-psychic explanation,” which treats the feelings that overtook Verhoeven in the Pentecostal church as by definition internal. Whatever they are, they can’t possibly represent something crossing over into his consciousness from outside: Instead, they can only be approached as “coded manifestations of inner depths,” as Taylor puts it later in the excerpt, that we “define” and “deal with” very differently than Ono did with his ghosts — in Verhoeven’s case, by doing everything possible to avoid having the experience recur, out of fear for his very sanity.
Ta-Nehisi Coates with an essay on a beautiful visit to mother of Jordan Davis:
She said, “It baffles our mind too. Don’t think that we aren’t angry. Don’t think that I am not angry. Forgiving Michael Dunn doesn’t negate what I’m feeling and my anger. And I am allowed to feel that way. But more than that I have a responsibility to God to walk the path He’s laid. In spite of my anger, and my fear that we won’t get the verdict that we want, I am still called by the God I serve to walk this out.”
TOJ contributor Alissa Wilkinson covers the politics of Scandal, House of Cards, and Newsroom:
The pragmatist believes not so much that the end justifies the means as that the means determine what justice even is. Things become “true” because they work. By contrast, the idealist has a set of absolute external values (derived, perhaps, from an ideology or religious framework) that are applied to situations. For the pragmatist, there is nothing outside the situation from which we might conclude that a political action is right or wrong. It’s right if it works. But for the true idealist, compromise of any kind is unthinkable. Olivia Pope embodies this struggle. Every action in Scandal‘s universe is driven by the ends—by what “works” at the moment, what seems correct at the time, a sort of individualistic realpolitik. Pope fixes situations for politicians and public figures who’d like to politely sidestep the law. She’s willing to sleep with the married president over and over, reasoning that he’s unhappy anyway and at some point, when he leaves public office, he’ll also be able to leave the conniving Mellie and they can be together at last. She and the president’s cronies even fixed the election, after a fashion, telling themselves that they were doing it for the country’s good.
The Wall Street Journal on the latest from Wes Anderson:
What they used to do—and, more importantly, what they’ve never done—is central to Grand Budapest, the entry point into yet another of Anderson’s fully formed, meticulously researched and wholly original worlds. With each new film, Anderson, now 44, has honed a visual language all his own, refining his signature aesthetic in a way that enriches the emotional lives of his characters. To be sure, there’s repetition across Anderson’s cinematic landscape—of behavior and design—but the result is a richness few other filmmakers have consistently delivered. From 1996’s Bottle Rocket, written with University of Texas classmate Owen Wilson in their Austin apartment (Anderson grew up in Houston), to 1998’s Rushmore; from 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums to 2004’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou; from 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited to 2012’s luminous Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson’s worlds now form their own galaxy.
The London Review of Books hosts a gripping article from the ghostwriter of the dropped Julian Assange tell all book:
Julian came up to London for the appeal hearing on Sunday, 6 February 2011. At midnight I went over to the house he was staying at in Southwick Mews in Paddington. The house was Vaughan’s office, near the Frontline Club, and was full of office equipment; a large conference room was filled with ‘friends’ of WikiLeaks. I went up to a small bedroom at the top of the house and found Julian lying on an unmade bed. There were clothes on the floor and books about internet amateurs on the nightstand, along with David Remnick’s book on Barack Obama. Julian was cutting his nails. ‘Do you know why I’m doing this, cutting my nails?’ he asked.
‘So the court doesn’t look at my nails and think they are the nails of someone who rips condoms’ – one of the Swedish women had alleged that he had ripped off a condom during sex. Like everyone else, the Swedish women were merely figures passing by on the other side of the glass.
Casey Cep gives us some thoughts on photographs for the New Yorker:
Digital photography, endless and inexpensive, has made us all into archivists. And the very act of taking a photograph, now so common, affects how we remember an event. A study by Linda Henkel, which appeared in Psychological Science last year, tried to measure the effect of photography on memory. “Point-and-Shoot Memories: The Influence of Taking Photos on Memory for a Museum Tour” documented Henkel’s findings after taking two groups of students through an art museum. The first group was instructed to observe works of art for thirty seconds, the other group observed the art for twenty seconds and then photographed it; the next day, both groups were surveyed about what they remembered.
The Atlantic has a riveting report on the power of fraternities:
So recently and robustly brought back to life, the fraternities now faced the most serious threat to their existence they had ever experienced. A single lawsuit had the potential to devastate a fraternity. In 1985, a young man grievously injured in a Kappa Alpha–related accident reached a settlement with the fraternity that, over the course of his lifetime, could amount to some $21 million—a sum that caught the attention of everyone in the Greek world. Liability insurance became both ruinously expensive and increasingly difficult to obtain. The insurance industry ranked American fraternities as the sixth-worst insurance risk in the country—just ahead of toxic-waste-removal companies. “You guys are nuts,” an insurance representative told a fraternity CEO in 1989, just before canceling the organization’s coverage; “you can’t operate like this much longer.”
The Oxford dictionary added some new words. If you have complaints leave them below the line:
A new sense of below the line has also entered the dictionary in reference to the section at the end of an online article or blog post in which readers can post comments. If you have any comments about the addition of this sense, or any of our new senses or words, please leave your comments below the line.
Mental Floss with 8 creative interpretation of Groundhog Day:
2. THE GROUNDHOG IS JESUS CHRIST RESURRECTED.
Bill Murray isn’t the only seemingly otherworldly figure in Groundhog Day. In the same New York Times feature, film critic Michael Bronski noted the Christ-like attributes assigned to Punxsutawney Phil (yes, the groundhog) in the film. “The groundhog is clearly the resurrected Christ, the ever hopeful renewal of life at springtime, at a time of pagan-Christian holidays,” he noted.
New Art from ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ Creator Bill Watterson:
Watterson designed and illustrated the poster for Stripped, a new “feature documentary on the world’s best cartoonists.” The film includes the first ever audio interview with Watterson.
Buzzfeed gives diagrams of famous first sentences:
David A. Garner