The Tallest Man on Earth

tallestman1

 Kristian Matsson, when asked why he chose the stage moniker “The Tallest Man on Earth,” replied, “When you have a name like that, you have to write good music.”It seems to be working.Matsson’s albums have combined an arching and insightful songwriting with nimble fingerpicking, passionate pace, and clever open tunings. He has drawn comparisons to early folk legends such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger and then has stepped past them and developed his own style of song, marked by … [Read more...]

Is the Breaking Bad Finale Too Neat?

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 **Warning: Massive Spoilers** Amidst the mostly unanimous praise for Breaking Bad’s finale this past Sunday there was one steady complaint from a fair share of critics: Was the finale too neat? Alan Sepinwall raised the point at HitFix but Matt Yglesias’s wooden criticism at Slate may have been the firmest on the point.The trouble with the criticism (and to his credit, Yglesias himself acknowledges this) is that it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what Bre … [Read more...]

The Idolatry of Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

   **WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT ** The empire has fallen. All that remains of our Ozymandias is a broken, bloodied body - infected with cancer but finally killed by a bullet wound. The story, after its climax at the confrontation of anti-hero and hero, has winded down slowly, but satisfyingly, through its denouement to its final conclusion last night. The question remains: will Walter's story be for naught, gradually forgotten as we fill our evenings with the … [Read more...]

Overgrown

Overgrown

 When James Blake debuted on the independent music scene in 2011 with his self-titled first LP, his appeal lay not only in his musicianship and songwriting abilities, but in his unique, genre-defying sound. Fusing dubstep with serious classical piano chops, jazz chords, and soulful vocals, Blake’s music is strikingly unique, yet surprisingly cohesive. Pair all of this with charming interpersonal awkwardness and a British accent, and you have an instant commercial success. While it isn’t … [Read more...]

Why Priests?

whypriests

 The first priest that Garry Wills takes aim at isn’t a man in a clerical collar. It’s Christ.A significant proportion of the book is spent disputing Jesus’s lineage as a priest in the order of Melchizedek (as laid out in the Letter to the Hebrews), but Wills isn’t trying to strip Jesus of titles. He means to recast Jesus in a role he respects more—not a priest, but a Jewish prophet. Quoth Wills: Jesus was a radical Jewish prophet. And like many Jewish prophets, he was against the J … [Read more...]

The Real Paradox of Individualism

Rural Community

 In contemporary American political discourse, there are two poles of authority and power: the individual and the state. Their relationship is inverse and antagonistic; as one waxes, the other wanes. Thus, our world is split conceptually between the realm of state authority and the realm of individual autonomy, and politics is the working-out of the boundary between the two. Politicians may pay lip service to concepts such as “family” and “community,” but ultimately the individual-state … [Read more...]

Politics and Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich at Union Seminary in New York

PoliticsandFaith

Christianity, as a faith rooted necessarily in history, has been shaped by theologians battered to and fro by the happenings of their world. Augustine wrote his City of God as the barbarians massed at the walls of his city; Jonathan Edwards penned his landmark Freedom of the Will from his home in Stockbridge that doubled as a barricade against French and Indian assaults; and Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich developed theological systems in the midst of 20th century global upheaval unlike any … [Read more...]


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