February 11, 2011 / Mediation, Uncategorized
In 1991, the Academy Award for Best Picture went to the disturbing psycho thriller, The …
April 18, 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.
Gabriel García Marquez dies at 87.
vMagical realism, he said, sprang from Latin America’s history of vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, of long years of hunger, illness and violence. In accepting his Nobel, Mr. García Márquez said: “Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination. For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.”
TOJ contributor, Jason Byassee, has a great article exploring the tension between evangelicals and the work of NT Wright:
The superlatives are striking, considering Wright’s goal in his teaching and writing is to massively revise the way Christianity has been articulated for generations. Christian faith, for Wright, is not about going to heaven when you die. It is not about the triumph of grace over the law of the Old Testament. He says its key doctrine is not justification by grace alone, the cornerstone for the Protestant Reformers. The church has misread Paul so severely, it seems, that no one fully understood the gospel from the time of the apostle to the time a certain British scholar started reading Paul in Greek in graduate school.
The Spectator on atheism and morals:
Here’s his muddle. On one hand he believes that morality, being natural, is a constant thing, stable throughout history. On the other hand, he believes in moral progress. To square the circle he plunges out of his depth, explaining that different ages have different ideas of morality, and that in recent times there has happily been a major advance in our moral conventions: above all, the principle of equality has triumphed. Such changes ‘certainly have not come from religion’, he snaps. He instead points to better education about our ‘common humanity with members of other races and with the other sex — both deeply unbiblical ideas that come from biological science, especially evolution’. But biological science, especially evolution, can be used to authorise eugenics and racism. The real issue is the triumph of an ideology of equality, of humanism. Instead of asking what this tradition is, and where it comes from, he treats it as axiomatic. This is just the natural human morality, he wants us to think, and in our times we are fortunate to see a particularly full expression of it.
Easter with Flannery O’Connor, at First Things:
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds emotion as well as reason and there are long periods in the lives of all of us, and of the saints, when the truth as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive. Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints. Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.
ABC Religion hosts a wonderful sermon by Stanley Hauerwas:
Our difficulty with comprehending our death and the death of others has resulted in what William May has astutely identified as the pornographic character of death in our culture. The pornography of sex is the depiction of sex abstracted from the human emotions that save sex from reduction to technical gymnastic skills that finally cannot escape being boring. When sex becomes separated from the intimacy that a history of faithfulness has made possible, all that is left is speculative possibilities about what might be done with how many. In a similar fashion, when death is abstracted from human emotion, all that is left are the infinite possibilities of killing as many as possible in ever increasing imaginative ways. Death, particularly as displayed in movies and video games, reflects our loss of the relation of death and grief.
VQR has a grand unified theory of female pain from Leslie Jamison:
In the Reading Group Guide to my novel, The Gin Closet, I confessed: “I often feel like a DJ mixing various lyrics of female teenage angst.” I got so sick of synopsizing the plot, whenever people asked what it was about, I started saying simply: women and their feelings. When I called myself a DJ mixing angst, it was a preemptive strike. I felt like I had to defend myself against some hypothetical accusation that would be lobbed against my book by the world at large. I was trying to agree with Ani: We shouldn’t have to turn every scar into a joke. We shouldn’t have to be witty or backtrack or second-guess ourselves when we say, this shit hurt. We shouldn’t have to disclaim—I know, I know, pain is old, other girls hurt—in order to defend ourselves from the old litany of charges: performative, pitiful, self-pitying, pity-hoarding, pity-mongering. The pain is what you make of it. You have to find something in it that yields. I understood my guiding imperative as: keep bleeding, but love.
Pitchfork provides an interesting exploration of the future of streaming music:
The splashy, celebrity-laden debut of Beats Music earlier this year may not have been accompanied by such gobsmacked wonder, but at the same time, the smartphone-based music subscription service sponsored by AT&T is the latest iteration of Bellamy’s fantastic 19th century notion. Beginning with Pandora’s 2005 launch and dramatically ramping up with Spotify’s controversial 2011 debut, streaming has become the preeminent technological force driving digital music into the 21st century. Though the idea of streaming music pre-dates recordings, the industry’s investments in today’s technology is designed in large part to wrench back control via unlimited access after a decade of ceding power to mp3-downloading fans.
Anarchist collective demands $3 million from Google:
Around 7AM on January 21st, 2014, a small group of protesters gathered in the driveway of an understated $1 million four bedroom family home in Berkeley and unfurled a hand-painted banner that read “GOOGLE’S FUTURE STOPS HERE.” The house belonged to Anthony Levandowski, a Google engineer best known for leading the self-driving car project. The protesters claim Levandowski left his house on a previous day wearing Google Glass, carrying a baby and a tablet, but only paying attention to the tablet. Today, however, Levandowski did not emerge. The protesters passed out a two-page flyer to Levandowski’s neighbors and loitered. After about 45 minutes, they left to go block the path of a private Google shuttle bus.
The Briefing’s favorite baseball player, Yasiel Puig, is the subject of a long read on his defection from Cuba and the preceding fallout:
They had spent the previous 30 hours hiking there, without sleep, and had reached varying levels of emotional distress; the stakes were high. Covert interests in Miami and Cancun had made the arrangements from afar. Their goal was to extract from Cuba a baseball player of extraordinary talent and propitious youth. Just 21 years old at the time, Yasiel Puig already was well-known to both Cuba’s millions of fervid baseball fans as well as officials high in the hierarchy of the Cuban state-security apparatus.
The Verge on the plot to kill the password:
The problems with the password are obvious. The login system was first designed for time-sharing computers in the ’60s, working on mainframes that took up an entire lab. To use the computer, you tapped in your login name and password, which told the computer who was sitting at the terminal and which files to make available. Stealing someone’s password was good for a practical joke, but not much else: there was only one computer where you could use it, and not much personal information on display once you’d broken in.
Jason Gay asks what we want in sports movies:
The biggest narrative challenge of “Draft Day” is the same challenge the draft itself once had: building arresting drama out of what is, basically, a series of phone calls. James Andrew Miller’s 2011 ESPN oral history “Those Guys Have All the Fun” recounts the moment in which the pioneering television executive Chet Simmons lobbied then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle for the rights to air the event. “When Rozelle asked Simmons why in the world people would want to watch the damn thing,” Miller writes, “Simmons just smiled a wily smile and said, ‘Let that be my problem.'”
People like music funky, according to Wired:
For all but the shyest of wallflowers, moving to music is a natural human response. But what is it about a catchy tune that makes us groove? Scientists think they’ve figured out at least part of the recipe: just the right mix of regular rhythms and unexpected beats.
Stephen King is spoiling Game of Thrones for the people who follow him on twitter:
King was quick to deny his critics’ claims that he was posting a spoiler, pleading: “come on guys, it’s been in the books for 15 years or so, and the episode ran tonight”, before retweeting the praise of one Lance Turbes, who wrote: “That is one spoiler I have no issue with reading”. To illustrate further, King then added: “Another spoiler: Romeo and Juliet die in Act 5.”
Matthew Shedden is Praxis editor at The Other Journal and an associate Pastor in rural Oregon. He writes more at mshedden.com and on Twitter @sheddenm.