1. Again. And again and again and again.
Dr. Janis Orlowski, after yesterday’s lethal rampage:
There’s something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these multiple injuries. … There is something wrong. … I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots and not to be an expert on this.
David Frum, from last December’s version:
I’ll accept no lectures about “sensitivity” on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.
It’s bad enough to have a gun lobby. It’s the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them — and about the people who condone them.
2. “If beauty pageants themselves aren’t yet considered retrograde enough to evolve or end completely,” Lori writes at Feministing, “perhaps we can all agree that the disgusting racism, fat-shaming, and sexist media coverage they engender are clearly within our collective reproach.”
The vicious outpouring of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry toward the new Miss America — who is neither Arab nor Muslim — highlights a gap in our language. What do we call that? Mondegracism? Malapropjudice?
Miss South Carolina apparently also created a stir back home when she introduced herself by saying, “From the state where 20 percent of our homes are mobile ’cause that’s how we roll, I’m Brooke Mosteller, Miss South Carolina.” I read that as Ms. Mosteller cheerfully flipping the bird at anyone who looks down on the 17.9 percent of South Carolinians who live in manufactured homes, but the remark seems to have prompted a bout of indignation and site-built snobbery from Palmetto State residents offended by any association with the people they love to look down on.
3. The book of Proverbs says, “Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” I’ve heard a lot of sermons preached on that verse, but I like Anne Theriault’s best — mostly because it involves roller derby.
4. kathy escobar responds to a skin-crawling story about a creepy, manipulative pastor with a long track record of exploiting women in his congregations — and of exploiting the lack of institutional accountability in independent, unaffiliated, non-denominational evangelical churches. This story also illustrates what I mean when I say that evangelicals lack a meaningful sexual ethic.
5. Timothy Kincaid reminds us that it’s Ex-Gay Awareness Month: “Ex-Gays, those who claim to have actually changed the direction of their attractions, are a rather elusive group that one encounters mostly online. … But should you happen to be among the few who actually know any ex-gays, please be sure to smile and wish them a very pleasant ex-gay month.”
6. I had a director once who had a rule about always giving one good note for every bad one. That was weird — it made us all suspicious and defensive whenever he said anything positive, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it was still a nice idea, so let me give that a try here and post one positive link for every negative story coming out of the States of Dismay.
So, for example, if I’m going to link to something negative — like this story of flagrant bigotry and corruption in Williamson County, Texas — then I could try to pair it with a link to something positive, like this cool playlist of Texas music from MaryAnn McKibben Dana. If I link to this depressingly familiar story about Texas education officials trying to keep science out of science textbooks, I could balance that out with a link to Cataclysmic, the terrific new blog by a group of Texas-based biblical scholars.
I could do the same thing with North Carolina. This negative story about unhinged conspiracy theorist Orson Scott Card being appointed to the board of trustees for UNC-TV public broadcasting could be balanced out with this good news story about angry North Carolina citizens booing a lawmaker for supporting voter suppression, or by this delightful story about the tall-bike-riding, cross-dressing “nuns” of Asheville, N.C.
But there are limits. Stories like this one from North Carolina are too grim and rage-inducing to allow much of anything to balance them out.
7. “When I saw some of the top freestyle MCs in the country on a few message boards knocking the idea of an ‘iron sharpens iron’ battle where you had to out-compliment your opponent, it kind of baffled me. It would be a substantial payday for doing what you do best, only using the other part of the brain.” That’s from Chaz Kangas’ surprisingly earnest story “I Won an Evangelical Christian Rap Battle.”