Kurt Vonnegut: Unlikely Apologist

The late Kurt Vonnegut inspires loyalty among his readers. He’s the kind of author whose fans devour book after book, reading one after another in rapid succession. Or at least I did. Back in 1997 a coworker recommended Vonnegut to me, specifically Slaughterhouse-Five. Unable to get my hands on that novel, I checked out Deadeye Dick. I was hooked. By the end of the year, I’d read at least ten Vonnegut novels, only whetting my appetite for more.Vonnegut is often thought of as cynical, edgy, an … [Read more...]

Mike Huckabee, Helpless Women, and Straw Men

In The Moral Landscape, atheist Sam Harris writes that much research on deductive reasoning suggests that people have a “bias” for sound conclusions and will judge a valid argument to be invalid if its conclusion lacks credibility. Mike Huckabee’s speech to the Republican National Committee winter meeting last Thursday brought Harris’s words to mind. In what may have been a strategic effort to stoke speculation about his potential candidacy in the next presidential election, Huckabee took on the … [Read more...]

Virtual Choices, Real Effects: The Impact of Our Hyperlink Trail

“...we always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.” —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag ArchipelagoRobert Frost’s most recognizable poem is probably his most misunderstood. Despite popular opinion, “The Road Not Taken” is not an anthem to the individual or a smug reflection on the speaker’s decision-making acumen. Rather, it’s a meditation on time, mortality, and finitude. It’s about human limitations. Two roads diverge but only one can be taken. At the crucial decision point, Frost may … [Read more...]

Spectacularly Trivialized: Teen Mom 2 and Abortion as Entertainment

About thirty years ago in his signature work Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman warned that the encroaching entertainment industry threatened to undermine society’s ability to deal with fundamental issues. American culture, Postman argued, had become so dominated by triviality and hyper-emotionalism, spread through television, that even the weightiest of issues and the most sacred of topics are trapped in absurdity, divorced from reason. Such is certainly the case with season 5 of MTV’s Tee … [Read more...]

Is Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts Blurring Our Vision of Epiphany?

“[F]or me the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and what I see in the world I see in relation to that.” -- Flannery O’Connor Apple brought a new holiday promotion to America this past Christmas season that it’s run overseas for several years: a 12 Days of Gifts app that offered one freebie a day from December 26 through January 6. These giveaways, like the litany of gifts from the promotion’s Christmas carol inspiration, had no coherent theme, ranging in medium from music t … [Read more...]