Dilbert creator likes Trump & questions climate change


One of the funniest comic strips still going is Dilbert, Scott Adams’ satirical takedown of office culture and the corporate world.

Adams would appear to be anti-corporation, which would stereotype him as a liberal.  But he isn’t.  He is apparently in the tradition of Al Capp, as a very funny conservative cartoonist.  (Actually, it has been said that all satire is intrinsically conservative, because it measures absurdity against an objective standard.)

Scott Adams is a Donald Trump supporter who questions climate change, on the basis that scientific modelling–which is the basis for all of the dire predictions–is nearly always wrong.

So even though Dilbert doesn’t directly take up politics or these other controversial issues, the hue and cry has begun to pressure newspapers to drop the comic strip. [Read more…]

The invention of breakfast cereal and other wacky church history


You need to know about Luke T. Harrington, a Missouri Synod Lutheran who like me lives in Oklahoma.  He writes, among other places, at Christ and Pop Culture.  He has a series D-List Saints on “the many less-than-impressive moments in Christian history.”  For example, the time the Catholics had three popes; the story of Oliver Cromwell’s severed head; and how those little communion cups were invented.

Mr. Harrington is a very funny writer, but his pieces are also informative and often strangely inspiring.  (For example, Cromwell as an example of becoming what we hate.)

I have always thought that Lutheranism can be a good foundation for humor: a strong view of sin yielding a healthy cynicism about human pretensions; a Reformation-bred skepticism of man-made religiosity; an openness to pleasure that makes it OK to laugh.

After the jump, the opening and the link to Mr. Harrington’s latest piece on the invention of breakfast cereal, with a digression on why Baby Boomers eat it and Millennials don’t. . . . [Read more…]

Jokes about race and sex are out, so religion takes their place

bully-624747_640In the culture of the workplace, it is now taboo to make jokes about race.  Nor can you make jokes about ethnicity.  Nor can you make jokes about disabilities.  Now you can no longer make jokes about sex.  Or gender.  So what can you make jokes about?  Religion.

Those now forbidden attempts at humor at other people’s expense were part of the pattern of bullying and harassment that sometimes took place at work.  Sexist humor often offended women in the office.  Now religious people are feeling the harassment.

So says a British study, reported on after the jump.  Do you think this is happening in the United States as well?  Why do you think workers–usually, ironically, in the jolly spirit of camaraderie–feel they have to find a class of people to target?  [Read more…]

How our politicized media would review the Narnia books

Our media is highly politicized across the spectrum, obsessed–pro- or con- or somewhere in between–with the Donald Trump phenomenon.  No one can escape it!  And in print, on screen, and online pundits are interpreting non-Trump phenomena in Trumpian terms.

My former student John Ehrett, of whom I am proud, has a hilarious piece in The Federalist about what various outlets would say if The Chronicles of Narnia were to be published today.

He looks at 21 media outlets, from The New York Times to Patheos, and nails the sensibility and obsessions of each one.

Samples after the jump.
[Read more…]

Dave Barry’s 2016 Year in Review

Dave_BarryOne of my New Year’s Eve rituals is to read Dave Barry’s annual Year in Review.

The month-by-month breakdown helps me remember and sort of relive the year that is ending.  But it’s filtered through off-the-wall hilarity and on-target satire of all sides.

If you didn’t read it over the weekend, it’s not too late.  I’ll get you started after the jump. [Read more…]

The Christmas stories of Connie Willis & her favorite Christmas movies

Connie Willis, MiracleConnie Willis is an award-winning science fiction author and a deft satirist of contemporary foibles.  (Read her novel Bellwether.  Never again will you take seriously fashions, trends, or being cool.)  She is also a Christian.  (For more on her biography, go here.)

She has published a collection of short stories about Christmas–gift idea!–entitled Miracles and Other Christmas Stories.   I’m reading them as part of my Advent and Christmas observance and enjoying them greatly.  Some of them are of the Miracle on 34th Street-type warm-hearted type, only funnier, others are darker but thought-provoking, and some are about the True Meaning of Christmas.

Also of value in that volume is her introduction, in which she discusses the genre and gives her favorite Christmas stories. She then discusses Christmas movies.  After a gentle critique of It’s a Wonderful Life and an illuminating reading of said Miracle on 34th Street, she gives her favorite movies, most of which you will probably never have heard of.  So we dug up three of them that I’ll tell you about after the jump. [Read more…]