Stay-at-Home entertainment vs. live theater

What with Netflix, on-demand TV, Hulu on the iPad, and videos on the smart phone, more and more people are staying at home for their entertainment, cocooning unto themselves.  Even going to the movies is too communal and too much trouble for a lot of us, who prefer to wait until we can watch a new film when it comes out on Netflix, rather than getting out of the house.  But this tendency is wreaking worse havoc on live theater.

Thanks to Bruce Gee for putting me onto this column from Terry Teachout, drama critic at the Wall Street Journal. [Read more…]

The secret of Greg Maddux

Pitcher Greg Maddux, fellow Atlanta rotation member Tom Glavine, and slugger Frank Thomas were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Maddux won 355 games over a 23 year career.  How did he do that?  A rocket-fueled fastball?  An over-arching curve ball?  Not really.  Maddux tells his pitching secret to Pulitzer-prize-winning sportswriter Tom Boswell, after the jump. [Read more…]

The global war on Christians

Religion journalist John Allen has written a book entitled The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian PersecutionThe Washington Post has an interesting interview with him about the phenomenon.  Read excerpts after the jump. [Read more…]

American rationalism and individualism

Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in the early days of the republic, was one of the most perceptive and prophetic observers of American culture.  He’s often misinterpreted, though, which Daniel Schwindt tries to address in a fascinating essay about what the French nobleman was really saying about religion in America.  (Thanks to Daniel Broaddus for putting me on to this.)

After the jump, an excerpt about how American’s rationalism leads to an unhealthy individualism and to a distorted version of Christianity.

[Read more…]

Move the nation’s capital to Nebraska

We talk about politics here at the Cranach blog, being careful to keep the two kingdoms distinguished, but we don’t do politicking, in the sense of agitating for one candidate or another.   But I wanted to show you this campaign video as a virtuoso example of the genre.

Ben Sasse is running for the senate in Nebraska.  I have known him personally for a long time in different capacities, and he’s a good guy.  He’s a Lutheran, and I’ve worshiped with him at  Immanuel in Alexandria, where he attended when he lived in the D.C. area.

I know at least one of you will cringe at the exaltation of rural midwestern values, and I admit that some of the conventions of the genre–brilliantly realized in this video–can get kind of cheesy (the waving flags, the obligatory interview with the wife and kids, etc.).  But Ben presents himself ridiculously well.   As for his signature issue here, I am pretty sure he is (mostly) being ironic and metaphorical, but he’s got himself a clever slogan, one that voters will remember and that sets him apart from the pack in the Republican primary.

We are certainly not endorsing him, knowing nothing of his competition or of the issues in the state of Nebraska.  But you’ve got to see this video, after the jump. [Read more…]

A “non-human person”

A court in Argentina ruled that an organgutan is a “non-human person,” and so is entitled to certain rights, including the right to freedom, meaning that the animal must be released from the zoo.  (So an unborn child is a human being, but not a person, while an organgutan is not a human being but is a person.) [Read more…]