May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
May 9, 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.
Hashtag activism seems to be all the rage but in the case of Nigeria it might be making things worse:
Here’s the thing though, when you pressure Western powers, particularly the American government to get involved in African affairs and when you champion military intervention, you become part of a much larger problem. You become a complicit participant in a military expansionist agenda on the continent of Africa. This is not good…Consequently, your calls for the United States to get involved in this crisis undermines the democratic process in Nigeria and co-opts the growing movement against the inept and kleptocratic Jonathan administration. It was Nigerians who took their good for nothing President to task and challenged him to address the plight of the missing girls. It is in their hands to seek justice for these girls and to ensure that the Nigerian government is held accountable. Your emphasis on U.S. action does more harm to the people you are supposedly trying to help and it only expands and sustain U.S. military might.
TOJ contributor Kevin Hargaden on Nigeria, the news, and desire to comment on it:
When we reflect on the Boko Haram kidnappings we quickly ask ourselves why it is that this story has been picked up. Or at least, I ask that question. I mean, why does CNN tell this story? The simple answer is that the Malaysian Airlines plotline ran out of steam (so to speak) and the Crimean scenario is too complex to reduce into a ticker-tape message. Bad guys stealing teenaged girls is News TV gold.
Ross Douthat considers college the great unequalizer:
That’s because what the authors discovered were the many ways in which collegiate social life, as embraced by students and blessed by the university, works to disadvantage young women (and no doubt young men, too) who need their education to be something other than a four-year-long spree. Instead of being a great equalizer, “Paying for the Party” argues, the American way of college rewards those who come not just academically but socially prepared, while treating working-class students more cruelly, and often leaving them adrift.
Anthony Bourdain thinks Americans misunderstand Mexico:
So, why don’t we love Mexico? We throw up our hands and shrug at what happens and what is happening just across the border. Maybe we are embarrassed. Mexico, after all, has always been there for us, to service our darkest needs and desires. Whether it’s dress up like fools and get pass-out drunk and sun burned on Spring break in Cancun, throw pesos at strippers in Tijuana, or get toasted on Mexican drugs, we are seldom on our best behavior in Mexico. They have seen many of us at our worst. They know our darkest desires.
Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the role race plays with different politicians:
As Beinart notes, the anti-Obama paranoia focuses on his citizenship—both broad and narrow. This is not just another means of delegitimization, but a specific specimen with racist roots. In the broadest sense, the idea that black people are not quite Americans but an alien presence unworthy of citizenship did not begin with Barack Obama. It’s all very nice that Martin Luther King is now hailed as the quintessential American. In his day, he was regarded by forces high in the American government as an agent of foreign powers. Slaveholding moderates dreamed of shipping blacks back to their “native land” of Africa—despite the fact that Africans had arrived in the “New World” before most of the families of the slaveholders. In the mid-19th century, states like Illinois sought to expel the black alien presence.
Could Soylent replace our food?:
Soylent has been heralded by the press as “the end of food,” which is a somewhat bleak prospect. It conjures up visions of a world devoid of pizza parlors and taco stands—our kitchens stocked with beige powder instead of banana bread, our spaghetti nights and ice-cream socials replaced by evenings sipping sludge. But, Rhinehart says, that’s not exactly his vision. “Most of people’s meals are forgotten,” he told me. He imagines that, in the future, “we’ll see a separation between our meals for utility and function, and our meals for experience and socialization.” Soylent isn’t coming for our Sunday potlucks. It’s coming for our frozen quesadillas.
Commonweal has an interesting interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper:
Commonweal: In your book Mercy, you argue that mercy is basic to God’s nature. How is mercy key to understanding God?
Cardinal Walter Kasper: The doctrine on God was arrived at by ontological understanding—God is absolute being and so on, which is not wrong. But the biblical understanding is much deeper and more personal. God’s relation to Moses in the Burning Bush is not “I am,” but “I am with you. I am for you. I am going with you.” In this context, mercy is already very fundamental in the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is not an angry God but a merciful God, if you read the Psalms. This ontological understanding of God was so strong that justice became the main attribute of God, not mercy. Thomas Aquinas clearly said that mercy is much more fundamental because God does not answer to the demands of our rules. Mercy is the faithfulness of God to his own being as love. Because God is love. And mercy is the love revealed to us in concrete deeds and words. So mercy becomes not only the central attribute of God, but also the key of Christian existence. Be merciful as God is merciful. We have to imitate God’s mercy.
A review of the Westminster Handbook to Karl Barth:
The genre of the “handbook” is at once both exciting and terrifying: it offers an easy point of access for newcomers to quickly become familiar with a subject that is otherwise daunting, while at the same time it threatens to take these complex subjects and render an overly-simplistic caricature. What, then, of Karl Barth? His massive Church Dogmatics, the rest of his very productive career, and the almost universally recognized importance of his work to modern theology present a foreboding mountain to climb. But would a summary of his major concepts, whittled down to a slim paperback, do more harm than good?
Jack White is busy trying to bring vinyl up to date:
Jack White is hellbent on pushing the envelope on vinyl. For the release of his latest album Lazaretto, White already broke a world record last month by recording and pressing the LP’s title track in less than four hours. Now, the artist and his indie label Third Man Records have produced what he calls an Ultra LP, a record with multiple playback features baked in especially for analog music aficionados.
The first instant replay in MLB to affect the end of an MLB game happened this week. The Briefing agrees with David Schoenfield on the moment:
We all want the umpires to get better and we want the calls to be correct as often as possible. But more instant replay wasn’t just a demand for a higher rate of precision, but also an appeal to be more like the NFL. The NFL has instant replay and the NFL is more popular than piano-playing cats, so baseball needed it as well. We can see all the wrong calls right there on our flat screens! But baseball is not the NFL. A baseball season lasts 162 games compared to the NFL’s 16. One wrong call in an NFL game may be exponentially more vital to the game’s outcome — and possibly the season’s — than one call in a baseball game. As they like to say, the calls even out over an entire season. Just don’t tell that to the 1985 Cardinals.
The science we’ve learned from Mount Everest:
The history of scientific investigation on Everest is nearly as long as the history of climbing on the mountain. Many of the first American climbers who made it to the summit were physicians and researchers, Johnson said, intrigued by what many view as the greatest physical challenge on Earth. Extreme elevations are tough on the human body, not because there is less air but because there is less air pressure to drive oxygen into the blood. Up to about 10,000 feet, the body does a pretty good job of protecting itself by breathing a little more and increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Red-blood cell count goes up, as does hemoglobin — the protein in blood that binds to oxygen. And extra urine output concentrates hemoglobin to allow each unit of blood to carry more oxygen.
David A. Garner