Don’t warn the tadpoles

If you're in the Philadelphia area during the next few weeks and you enjoy thought-provoking, charming romantic comedies about love and death, fantasy and responsibility, please come to the William Way Center (1315 Spruce St. — a block and a half from the Kimmel) and check out "Cakewalk."

An ensemble cast of eight talented actors and one blogger bring Tom Minter's delightful story to life. (I realize I'm biased here, but the cast really is terrific and this play and this cast deserve a bigger audience than they've been getting and so, well, I'm reduced to begging. Tickets are available through Smarttix.com.)

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Call it "Dysnomia" if you must, to me it will always be "Gabrielle."

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President Bush says he thinks America is in the midst of a "Third Awakening."

So what does Bush have against Dwight L. Moody?

The reference here is to the Great Awakenings — periods of Christian spiritual revival that have swept through America. Such things are obviously difficult to measure, but the agreed upon chronology is well settled and Bush has it wrong. The First Great Awakening was in the time of Jonathan Edwards in the early 1700s. The second was in the time of Charles Finney in the early 1800s. The Third Great Awakening came in the late 1800s, with the revivalism of Dwight L. Moody and the missionary movement. Some also regard the revivalism led by Billy Graham and the surge in Pentecostalism of the postwar years as a "Fourth Awakening," but by either count we should be on Awakening No. 4 or 5 by now.

Bush should know better. He hired Marvin Olasky as an advisor. Olasky's claim to fame is a book called "The Tragedy of American Compassion." It's probably the most dishonest, selective and deliberately misleading history of the Third Great Awakening ever published, but at least Olasky didn't claim that this period of revival never happened.

Bonus: Maha notes that the spiritual "awakening" Bush identifies seems to be Zoroastrian (via).

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If you are in the Philly area, then you probably already know about WXPN — the public radio station from U. Penn. that plays great music, commercial free. Thanks to the worldwide Web, you no longer need to be in the Philly area to enjoy XPN — you can listen online at XPoNential Music or check out the daily free picks from My Morning Download.

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"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your counterrevolution."

Tucker Carlson balked, opting to stay seated for much of his half-hearted performance on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

I don't like Carlson much — he has that combination of condescending-while-wrong that I find insufferable, and I pretty much agree with Jon Stewart's assessment of him. But I'll give credit where it's due: It took some guts for him to appear on the show, and he was a much better sport there than he ever was on Crossfire.

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For a better history of the "social gospel" movement and the Third Great Awakening, see Norris Magnuson's Salvation in the Slums.

Fascinating in its own right, Magnuson's book is even more interesting read alongside Olasky's. Both authors cite many of the same sources, but Magnuson includes the parts Olasky didn't like and therefore had to omit from his polemic twistory. The 19th-century founders of the Salvation Army, the YMCA, and the urban gospel missions didn't actually share Olasky's either/or notion of social responsibility or his confusion of subsidiarity and socialism.

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"Cakewalk" runs through Oct. 8. on Thurs., Fri. and Sat. nights with Sat. and Sun. matinees. And unlike the play I was in last year, this one has a happy, life-affirming ending (unless you're one of those religious right types, in which case you'll find this happy ending terrifying and rage-inducing — and come to think of it, the opportunity to annoy those religious right types is another reason to come see the show).

  • Lila

    Ah, okay. Not the same “Cakewalk” I’m familiar with (which is by Peter Feibleman and is about Lillian Hellman).

  • Geoff G-T

    Xena’s not totally gone. From the BBC article:
    Eris has a moon, and this too now has an official name: Dysnomia, the daughter of Eris known as the spirit of lawlessness.

  • Steve

    Speaking of Xena, anybody happen to be slumming and watching Celebrity Duets?
    Lucy Lawless was horrid this week alongside Dionne Warwick, yet, seemingly due to her looks, was the top vote getter.

  • Jeff

    But I’ll give credit where it’s due: It took some guts for him to appear on the show, and he was a much better sport there than he ever was on Crossfire.
    Nope. Jerry Springer took time to rehearse and do his best for the show (in spite of being over-booked). Carlson was the Master P of the season, hardly getting off his ass, even on the dance. I’m just glad the idiot is gone — now I can enjoy the show.

  • SV

    WXPN is a complete treasure. Not only is its huge playlist outstanding and its DJs some of the best in the business – but it’s COMMERCIAL FREE. Its syndicated “World Cafe” only gives a little taste to other cities just how awesome that the station is.
    I used to listen to ‘XPN almost exclusively, and when I moved to Chicago I realized that I’d been spoiled. How can a city as large as Chicago have such crappy radio stations? Well, it doesn’t, really – it just seems that way, in comparison.
    Another reason to thank God for the Internet.

  • patter

    I really miss Left Behind. It’s not completely left behind, is it…(whines pathetically)…?

  • daniel

    Bush noted that some of Abraham Lincoln’s strongest supporters were religious people “who saw life in terms of good and evil” and who believed that slavery was evil. Many of his own supporters, he said, see the current conflict in similar terms.
    Maybe. But not Lincoln himself. I really can’t see Bush saying anything like this:
    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address
    or
    I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not
    be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bond of
    affection.First Inaugural Address
    Lincoln refused to allow political divisions, and even the divisions of war, to “break our bond of affection”. You can’t do that if we are good and they are evil.

  • Nekouken

    I heard about the “Third Awakening” comments on NPR last week. I tuned in in the middle of an interview with an expert whose name I couldn’t remember if I tried, but I remember what he said, which, to me, is far more important: (paraphrasing) The reason I disagree that this is the third (or any) Awakening is that it lacks an important trait that goes along with all the other Awakenings, and that is, alongside an upsurge of Christian belief, an upsurge in humility.

  • Duane

    …(whines pathetically)…?
    Whines parenthetically…? ;)

  • Duane

    I heard about the “Third Awakening” comments on NPR last week. I tuned in in the middle of an interview with an expert whose name I couldn’t remember if I tried, but I remember what he said, which, to me, is far more important: (paraphrasing) The reason I disagree that this is the third (or any) Awakening is that it lacks an important trait that goes along with all the other Awakenings, and that is, alongside an upsurge of Christian belief, an upsurge in humility.
    Nothing to get excited about. Just Dubya bringing out the Christofascist vote for November. The details aren’t important – the important thing is to let his base know he ruminates about jesus stuff.

  • NBarnes

    Speaking of radio, http://www.pandora.com has been rocking my world lately.

  • Jeff

    Pandora rulez!!!111!!one!!

  • kristina

    KEXP Seattle is also good. It’s an NPR station with independent rock music. http://www.kexp.org/home.asp?noflash=false

  • jackd

    OBPhilly – I was in town a week ago! I missed the chance.
    And if everyone else can plug their favorite radio over the internets: WFUV out of NYC. My all-time favorite show, there or anywhere else, is Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight from 8-midnight on Saturdays.

  • Colin Toffelmire

    Just to clear up something small, it’s important to note that dualism is not absent in the Hebrew or Christian bible. Though it may be the case that Zoroastrianism represents a well from which apocalyptic writers (I mean the authors of Daniel, Enoch and Revelation, not L&J here) drew (incidentally this is far from certain), the fact remains that these books have a very strong tendency towards cosmic dualism. I thoroughly agree with Fred about the dangerous nonsense that is American Dispensationalism, but just because dualism is stupid and dangerous in one version of Christianity it does not follow that it has no place whatsoever in Christianity in general or that it is not found anywhere in the Christian or Jewish scriptures (or their non-canonical cousins). George Bush isn’t a follower of Zoroaster (aka Zarathustra) just because he’s got a dualistic cosmology, his dualism is simply a by-product of a myopic obsession with only certain parts of the Christian Bible.


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