• After lying about the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, President Trump disinvited the team from visiting the White House and, instead, held a stilted “patriotic” event apparently attended mainly by administration staffers pretending to be fans of the team. “I’ve asked six of the ‘fans’ at the White House who was the Eagles quarterback during the Super Bowl,” Philly reporter Tim Furlong wrote. “Not ONE person knew.”
Trump canceled the team’s traditional visit when most of the players opted not to go. Wide receiver Torrey Smith explained his reluctance to attend: “If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women, or I told you that this individual has said offensive things towards many minority groups … this individual also called my peers and my friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has the title of president of the United States?”
As John Fea notes, the Eagles team includes a lot of evangelical Christian players — including the Super Bowl MVP, B.D. Nick Foles, who’s been taking ministry classes through Liberty University Online. Fox News, being Fox News, managed to twist that in service of its Hail Caesar agenda by showing photos of Eagles kneeling in prayer before a game as evidence of their supposed disrespect for the flag — which is the lie the network continues to peddle regarding player protests against the slaughter of unarmed citizens by police. (Fox has since apologized, because they’re sorry they got caught.)
So anyway, let’s watch this again:
• Ed Martin of the right-wing “Eagle Forum” (which is not in any way connected with the world champion Philadelphia football team) attempts to follow in the steps of Bishop Curry by offering his own intended-to-be-inspirational words about the way of love. It did not go well.
• The good folks at The Anxious Bench are asking good questions about what is going on with Patheos’ “evangelical channel.” And the lack of good answers is prompting even more questions. First here’s Kristin Du Mez: “So, what is going on at Patheos?” She follows the money. And here’s Chris Gehrz, who asks “Can Patheos Continue to ‘Host the Conversation on Faith’?” He goes a little bit more big picture, suggesting that even though Patheos may be more of a cacophony than a conversation, that’s still better than the unison recitation of an approved script.
• “Dr. Strange’s Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways” PerfectNumber writes. I guessed that would be about the recent news of Benedict Cumberbatch foiling would-be muggers on a London street (“Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street”). It’s not that, but it’s just as much fun.
She’s writing about theodicy — specifically about the parallels between Dr. Strange fan theories regarding Avengers: Infinity War and the kind of Panglossian Providence she was often taught growing up evangelical:
I’ve seen a lot of people asking questions about “why didn’t Dr. Strange do THIS” and “why didn’t Dr. Strange do THAT” and the answer is always “he saw all the hypothetical futures resulting from those actions and they weren’t good.” Whatever Dr. Strange chooses to do, we can’t question it, because he knows things we don’t.
If you’re still trying to avoid spoilers for that movie, then you probably shouldn’t click through to read the whole thing. But the parallel really holds up. You could see it in the stunned social media posts of Marvel fans reciting their own version of a misappropriated Romans 8:38, “For we know that Kevin Feig maketh all things work together for good. …”
• Jesse Baron writes about the politics of country music. It’s a really sharp, perceptive essay with lots of fascinating detail. Plus, it uses a photo of Reba McIntire from the “wrong goddam rec room” scene in Tremors, and I will never not support that choice.
Tremors is on my short list of all-time favorite B-movies. One key to a good B-movie monster is that bullets won’t stop them. But what if you use, like, all of the bullets? Ron Underwood’s masterpiece goes there, so let’s watch that again too, because we can:
• And, finally, here’s Matt Yglesias on the escalating danger of our national panicking horse in the hospital: “Trump’s legal memo to Robert Mueller is a recipe for tyranny.”
This is the very thing I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about by watching all these videos of amazing trick plays and B-movie highlights. This is Very Bad. And they’re laying the groundwork to make it much, much worse.