May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
July 11, 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.
A sneak peak at Marilynne Robinson’s forthcoming Lila (the Briefing has already preordered):
If there was anyone in the world the child hated worst, it was Doll. She’d go scrubbing at her face with a wet rag, or she’d be after her hair with a busted comb, trying to get the snarls out. Doll slept at the house most nights, and maybe she paid for it by sweeping up a little. She was the only one who did any sweeping, and she’d be cussing while she did it, Don’t do one damn bit of good, and someone would say, Then leave it be, dammit. There’d be people sleeping right on the floor, in some old mess of quilts and gunnysacks. You wouldn’t know from one day to the next.
Syndicate, a new theology site, has been offering great book symposiums this summer. Here, Robert Jenson responds to a new book on Barth and philosophy:
And then. At the end of his advice to the Barthian, which is also the end of the book, Oakes says we should as Barthians come to regard theology as “the philosophy that attends to Scripture.” Along the way he has cited remarks by Barth that gesture toward such an identification. I have seen that in Barth, but more from the other side: what we usually call “philosophy” is theology suffering under the handicap of getting along without Scripture. That surely is why Barth, to the very last, refused to defer to “the philosophers”; he saw them doing the same thing he did, only wrongly. And perhaps Barth latterly became evasive when questioned about philosophy because he had in practice left that problem behind him. For the Church Dogmatics can be read as a massive construction of a christological ontology.
If you aren’t considering watching the third place World Cup game this Saturday, Will Leitch tells us why it matters:
The third-place game allows this. Even if Brazil loses to the Netherlands, it won’t be like that. The World Cup is one of the biggest events in every player’s life, and to have it end in the semifinals — the dream snatched away so abruptly — seems almost too harsh. This allows everyone to have the atmosphere of a World Cup game without all the pressure: If allows everyone to go home, if not happy, at least a little less anguished. It might only help a little, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Guardian praises a new novel by Sarah Perry titled After me Comes the Flood:
Reading Sarah Perry’s extraordinary debut novel, it is hard not to reach for comparisons, if only in a bemused attempt to work out just why this book is so very good. On the surface, it seems straightforward: after 35 days of drought, a man named John Cole abandons his London bookshop and sets out, purely on impulse, to visit his brother on the Norfolk coast. The heatwave has left him bewildered and irrational, however, and when his car breaks down, he wanders into the woods, where he discovers a house that seems “the most real and solid thing I’d ever seen, and at the same time only a trick of my sight in the heat”. Here, he is welcomed, first by a childlike woman, then by the other members of this secluded community, several of whom seem to know him, addressing him by name and telling him they have been waiting impatiently for him to arrive.
And here Sarah Perry offers an account of her childhood amongst strict Baptists:
My parents are devoutly Christian, members of one of the few Strict Baptist chapels left in Essex. It’s hard to explain how it was to be brought up in that chapel and that home: often I say, laughingly, “I grew up in 1895”, because it seems the best way of evoking the Bible readings and Beethoven, the Victorian hymns and the print of Pilgrim’s Progress, and the sunday school seaside outings when we all sang grace before our sausage and chips in three-part harmony.
Paul Elie offers some advice for writers:
Roger Straus liked it too—and Jonathan and FSG signed up the book. And day and night for a thousand days and nights I sought to go deeper, starting by moving my point of entry into the story back nearly half a century—to the moments where those four writers themselves turned, in their different ways, to literature and to religious belief in their own efforts to go deeper. And somewhere in the middle of those thousand days and nights, I concluded that the experience of depth—intellectual, emotional, spiritual depth—is the central literary experience. It is what makes literature literature, and what makes us read literature, and write it.
“Go deeper.” It’s not advice a writer can outgrow or set aside as unnecessary. Augustine asked, “Who understands his sins?” Likewise, what writer can truly say, “I’ve gone deep enough”?
Poet Michael Robbins reviews a book on the history of atheism at Slate:
Nick Spencer begins his spirited history of atheism with a fairy tale. Once upon a time, people lived in ignorant superstition, offering sacrifices to monsters in the sky. Then some clever folks used special weapons called “science” and “reason” to show that the monsters had never really existed in the first place. Some of these clever folks were killed for daring to say this, but they persevered, and now only really stupid people believe in the monsters.
Spencer’s point, of course, is that this received wisdom is naive nonsense—it gets the history of science and the nature of religious belief wrong, setting up an opposition between reason and faith that the church fathers would have found rather puzzling. (Spencer focuses on Europe, whence modern atheism arose, and hence on Judeo-Christianity.) Few historians take this myth seriously, but it retains its hold on the vulgar atheist imagination. To believe it requires the misconception that religion exists primarily to provide explanations of natural phenomena. (“You seriously believe in God?” “Well, how do you explain thunder?”)
Mental Floss lists 5 people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time:
On August 9, Mr. Yamaguchi was well enough to make it in to work. At the exact moment that he was explaining to his boss how Little Boy had destroyed the city of Hiroshima, he saw the same white flash in the office window. Fat Man, the second atomic bomb, had just detonated over the city.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi is the only officially recognized survivor of the two bombings (there are about 165 double survivors of the bombs, called nijyuu hibakusha, who have not been recognized by the Japanese government). He lived to be 93 years old.
Grantland music critic, Steven Hyden, offers praise to the CD:
This may sound like the death rattle of a medium, but I prefer taking a glass-half-full perspective: Can you believe that CDs still account for even that many album sales? It’s like discovering that Hollywood is secretly subsidized by VHS hoarders. Apparently there are at least a few people like me still out there: In the past six months, 62.9 million CDs were sold, nearly 10 million more than the 53.8 million downloaded albums. It might be a far cry from the 70.3 billion songs that were streamed during the period, but it’s also a hell of a lot more than “nobody.”
The Atlantic catches two bots talking to each other on twitter before the Bank of America bot so rudely interrupts:
Well, the other day, a bot imitating film producer Keith Calder happened to engage with Taters. As their almost sensical conversation continued, Taters says “different are soffttttttt,” to which the Calder bot responds (perhaps picking up on the word ‘different’): “It has two different BOA branches trying to get a temporary debit card.”
The Modern Farmer looks at the return of the Milkman:
As operations manager for Local Farmers Delivery, McDonald dispatches trucks full of milk to homes throughout Portland, Oregon. The company also delivers a few staples, like bread and eggs, and is focused on milk delivery. Delivery persons even wear the traditional all-white uniforms of yore, with a neat bowtie and cap. Since milkmen started making door-to-door deliveries to local neighborhoods earlier this year, McDonald has raced to keep up with demand, which more than tripled in the first three months.
Cilanto actually does taste like soap to some people:
Some people may be genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro, according to often-cited studies by Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. But cilantrophobe genetics remain little known and aren’t under systematic investigation. Meanwhile, history, chemistry and neurology have been adding some valuable pieces to the puzzle.
A short retrospective on the US soccer team at the World Cup (via Grantland):
And the Verge offers everything you need to know about the Planet of the Apes before this weekends reboot.
David A. Garner