The Tragic Sense of Historical Illiteracy

Pear of Anguish

What we believe to be the motives of our conduct are usually but the pretexts for it. --Miguel De Unamuno The Tragic Sense of LifePresident Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast noting several historically accurate examples where Christianity was used to justify terroristic amounts of violence means that as a historian of American religion, I will never lack for material to once again note that conservatives in the U.S. are mired in a tragic cycle of distorting and ignoring … [Read more...]

Sanctifying Music, Sex & Death: Remembering Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

April 2 1984, if I remember correctly, was a cool, crisp Spring morning. waiting for school to begin, students regularly waited in the quad area and just outside the athletic fields on benches waiting for the bell to ring for school to start. This morning was different though, the night before, Marvin Gaye was killed by his father in Los Angeles, the news made its way through school, and a pall was cast over James A. Garfield Sr. High School in East LA.  Marvin, you see, was one of our musical … [Read more...]

For You My Mijos/as (sons/daughters)

 For me, there is an inevitable place where my mind goes when forced to think about the evil that visited the innocent in Sandy Hook. I saw my first gun shot victim die on the streets of East Los Angeles when I was around 10 years old. It was a Friday, school let out and there was a scuffle on Cesar Chavez Ave, (formerly Brooklyn Ave), the fight bled out into the middle of the street and the familiar muffled sounds of pop-pop meant that the crowds would start rushing towards where he fell. I … [Read more...]


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