About Ethan McCarthy

Ethan McCarthy lives in Highwood, Illinois, with his wife Jenni and their two children. They like literature, music, and listening to the Atlanta Braves on the radio. He currently works in an elementary school special education classroom.

9. Orange is the New Black: “Treated With Respect” #CaPC25

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of 2013.  Previous #10: Pope Francis #9: Orange is the New Black (Netflix) Just one season in, Orange is the New Black is gathering huge momentum and ringing endorsements. Based on the memoir of Piper Kerman and set in a women’s prison in New York state, it revolves around Kerman (Taylor Schilling), an upper-middle class woman serving a 15-month sentence for transporting drug money for her former lover and d … [Read more...]

Lou Reed and the Iconography of Rock and Roll

In the flood of eulogies prompted by Lou Reed’s death last month, the words “rock icon” featured prominently. This modern usage of a very old word may seem like an anomaly for those more familiar with its older sense, but though it’s been watered down a good deal in its popular usage, calling a rock star an “icon” is remarkably apropos.Before it came into its current idiom, “icon” was a fairly archaic word that was mostly used of the religious pictures of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the t … [Read more...]

The Washington Redskins and the Potential for a Better Identity

It’s a little hard to believe that, in a culture so obsessed with political correctness and respect for all people, a team name like the Washington Redskins persists and can, in fact, be staunchly defended by large swathes of the populace. This month, amid rumors that a name change could be in the offing, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wrote an open letter to the team's fans reaffirming his commitment to the name. “When I consider the Washington Redskins name,” he writes, “I think of what i … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Why Japan’s Young People Aren’t Having Sex

As Americans face a sex-saturated media and a prevalent “hook-up culture," Japan has the opposite problem: their younger generation is increasingly uninterested in sex. It’s a fascinating perfect storm of traditional Japanese values, the changing roles of women in Japanese culture, and (of course) technology. Japan’s unique predicament offers a thought-provoking foil to our own culture’s understanding of sex and marriage. … [Read more...]

Should We Be Offended by a Sacrilegious Hamburger?

A Chicago burger joint angered Catholics this month by creating what might be the first ever sacrilegious burger. “The Ghost” is topped with goat shoulder, red wine sauce, and an unconsecrated communion wafer. All of Kuma’s Corner's burgers are made in honor of heavy metal bands: “The Ghost” honors Ghost B.C., a Swedish band whose music and persona mimic the Roman Catholic Church, reversing the imagery to worship Lucifer instead of the Christian God.Despite the Archdiocese of Chicago’s protes … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: An Incredible Adoption Story

A Christian couple working in a hospital in India have adopted a baby whose physical deformities led his birth family to consider killing him. Critics of the evangelical adoption movement, who point out instances of corruption and what they see as naked proselytizing or ethnocentrism, would do well to factor in stories like this one, fraught with beauty, love and self-sacrifice. … [Read more...]

How CHVRCHES Fell Victim to the Hype Machine

Up till now, CHVRCHES have been as noteworthy for their hype as for their music. The Scottish electro-pop trio’s savvy release of several songs online, combined with a heavy touring schedule and a penchant for appearing on “exciting new artists” lists, have produced a remarkable crescendo of expectation ahead of their first record, The Bones of What You Believe, finally out last week. It’s the kind of buildup that would’ve been impossible just a few years ago, but thanks to the Internet, CHVRCHES … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: How a Botched Wedding Turned into Something Great

When their daughter’s wedding was called off, this Atlanta family made the best of a bad situation. They turned the wedding reception into a gathering for 200 of the city’s homeless in what they’re calling the “First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love.” They plan to continue sponsoring the event annually. … [Read more...]

Three Things to Think About Before Using Headphones in Public

In today’s world, new innovations come along so often that we hardly have time to keep track of them, much less integrate them thoughtfully into our lives. New devices, and our changing perceptions of them, are part and parcel to modern life. I remember feeling a little bit silly as a college student walking around wearing headphones. I still did it sometimes, because listening to music while I walked to class was nice, and because even then it was a perfectly acceptable thing to do.Since t … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: What’s Your Major Worth?

For anyone who still needs it, here’s a study by an economist at Georgetown University offering further evidence that the liberal arts are becoming less and less practical as a career choice. Instead, surprise surprise, engineering and computer science are at the top of the list of lucrative college majors, with liberal arts majors, social work, and psychology near the bottom. The full study is available on Georgetown’s website. … [Read more...]