May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
April 25, 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.
In an excellent essay at Salon, David Foster Wallace’s concerns about irony are reconsidered:
So where have we gone from irony? Irony is now fashionable and a widely embraced default setting for social interaction, writing and the visual arts. Irony fosters an affected nihilistic attitude that is no more edgy than a syndicated episode of “Seinfeld.” Today, pop characters directly address the television-watching audience with a wink and nudge. (Shows like “30 Rock” deliver a kind of meta-television-irony irony; the protagonist is a writer for a show that satirizes television, and the character is played by a woman who actually used to write for a show that satirizes television. Each scene comes with an all-inclusive tongue-in-cheek.) And, of course, reality television as a concept is irony incarnate.
Christian Century reviews the latest book on Eugene Peterson edited TOJ contributor, Jason Byassee:
For Peterson, the congregation is capacious and generative, not a place destined to suck the life out of a pastor. It is a place, if engaged well, where one can thrive. The congregation is a nexus of God’s interaction with the world.
Domincians thinking about Marilynne Robinson:
Among the many themes in Robinson’s novel, the sense of awe at the wonder of existence that pervades Ames’s thoughts stands out. At one point he declares, “I have been thinking about existence lately. In fact, I have been so full of admiration for existence that I have hardly been able to enjoy it properly.” What sparks this admiration? A lunar eclipse? A glorious thunderstorm? Nothing of the sort; rather, it is ordinary, everyday objects that move Ames: “I have lived my life on the prairie and a line of oak trees can still astonish me. I feel sometimes as if I were a child who opens its eyes on the world once and sees amazing things it will never know any names for and then has to close its eyes again.” Ames is a character who feels the weight of one of the great philosophical questions: Why is there something rather than nothing?
Alan Jacobs writes on the latest news sites:
Maybe The Upshot won’t live up to these noble ideals, but such an announcement is a good start. And shouldn’t a high-profile “new media” venture like Vox be even more aware of and willing to embrace the communicative possibilities of … well, of new media? Instead, they seem to be creating a one-way street, like a Victorian newspaper. Klein has said that he and his fellow Wonkblog writers “were badly held back not just by the technology, but by the culture of journalism.” But to me, the culture of journalism is not looking so bad right now. And while Vox.com is definitely a work in progress, it’s not a good sign that responsiveness to and intersection with readers doesn’t seem to have been part of their initial vision at all.
Bonhoeffer receives another biography and Comment provides an interesting review:
Ah, Bethge. Bonhoeffer’s former student, longtime confidante, and first biographer, Bethge comes through in this book as a significant character—but chiefly as the object of Bonhoeffer’s increasingly lavish affections, the expressions of which in actions, gifts, and words seem to fascinate Marsh perhaps more than they will every reader. Marsh never once refers to homosexuality and only once or twice refers to sexual desire at all, but he frequently paints Bonhoeffer as the ardent suitor while Bethge wants to remain “just friends.” What Marsh doesn’t ever do is explore directly whether a same-sex friendship without sexual desire can be this intense, even erotic in the sense of deep desire for closeness that can become (excessively) possessive. Bonhoeffer, who grew up without a close friend and whose twin Sabine gets married rather young, seems lonely until he meets Bethge, and then pours himself into that friendship as a river surges through a channel rather too small for it. Marsh defends the chastity of the two men, but one wonders if Marsh might usefully have hinted less and ruminated more. (Remember, it isn’t as if Marsh is overdelicate about such themes. He is quite willing to detail and pronounce upon the sexual sins of both Karl Barth and Paul Tillich, and to do so without the scholarly cover of actual citation of sources.)
The Boston Review talks the the Eco-Puritans among us:
For years, political divisions over the environment have had the seemingly odd feature that Americans farthest from the open country have tended to be most supportive of protecting the environment, while those nearest to it—farmers and other rural residents—have been most resistant. This split has been muddled in recent years as nature lovers have retired to the countryside, country folk have realized the business advantages of environmental tourism, and political polarization has increasingly subsumed specific issues. Still, when contentious topics such as the Keystone Pipeline or expanding national parks come up, the nature purists tend to be upscale urbanites. The General Social Survey asked how willing respondents would be to “accept cuts in your standard of living in order to protect the environment”; highly educated, white liberals in metropolitan areas were the most willing.
Over 1 million Americans don’t have indoor plumping. The Washington Post tells you where they live:
As it turns out, a lot of people. According to the latest American Community Survey, nearly 630,000 occupied households lack complete plumbing facilities, which means that they are without one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub or shower, or running water. The Census Bureau says that the average household contains 2.6 individuals, which means that today, in 2014, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, upwards of 1.6 million people are living without full indoor plumbing.
Baseball’s boarders up close:
Few states give their fans as many options as Ohio does. A fair-weather fan in the central part of the state could claim allegiance to several teams within a day’s drive: not just the Reds and the Indians but the Cubs, the White Sox, the Pirates, the Tigers or even the Cardinals. But most Ohioans stay loyal to the home-state teams, and the border is right where you’d guess. It runs straight though Columbus, Ohio’s capital and largest city, in the middle of the state. One small exception to the Reds’ and Indians’ dominance: The longtime presence of the Tigers’ top minor league team in Toledo — the Mud Hens, the favorite team of Corporal Klinger from the television show “M*A*S*H” — has helped the Tigers claim some territory in northern Ohio.
And Wrigley Field turned 100 this week. Here’s an inside look at the scoreboard:
Each run and every inning, there is a flurry of activity and cacophony of noise inside as scoreboard operators yank metal plates with numbers on them out of the scoreboard and slam others into place. The room suddenly fills with what sounds like a thousand angry bees. This is the result of a finger pressing a button in the far-off press box behind home plate that sends an electrical charge into a panel of half ball-shaped ”targets,” causing specific ones to flip so that they add up to form the number of the batter, and the number of balls, strikes and outs.
David A. Garner