As one by one the lights go out

The “Jade Helm” military training exercise ends without anything like any of the right-wing conspiracy theories about it coming true, thereby confirming those theories for the right wing and ensuring that the name Jade Helm will live on, like Whitewater and Benghazi, in the endlessly invoked litany of non-existent proofs of liberal nefariousness. Also: Ranking holiness; glib and woolly moralizing; the arrest of a gamergater; and the Worst Movie Break-In of All Time. [Read more…]

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The uncanny sex fiends of Christianity Today (No. 3)

Ed Stetzer’s hasty guesstimate that 400 church leaders might possibly be resigning quickly morphed into a fact that metastasized and spread. Now lots of people “know” that “400 pastors resigned after Ashley Madison hack,” even though nothing like that actually happened. [Read more…]

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‘We must be careful about what we pretend to be’: How tribal cheerleading creates new tribal dogma and changes the tribe to conform to it

Over time, these kinds of tribal-cheerleading responses to pollsters and other catechists eventually become required responses. And thus, over time, the things that people pretend to believe as a “way of showing that they’re members in good standing” of their political faction become the things that members of that faction actually believe. The fluff becomes substance — becomes dogma. And the tribe is transformed to conform to this new dogma. [Read more…]

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For some it’s a con, for some it’s a game, and for some it’s a gnostic cult. And sometimes it’s all three at once.

I used to think that the audience supporting any given conspiracy theory was made up of three distinct kinds of people: Cynics, true believers, and hobbyists. That’s in the past tense because I no longer quite believe that. What I’m starting to believe, instead, is that any individual supporter of any given conspiracy is made up of all three of those things. [Read more…]

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Happy cornbread anniversary

Franklin Graham rails against the X-Men as an “attempt to indoctrinate our young people” into greater acceptance of those who are different. That’s not wrong, it just doesn’t mean what he thinks it does. Plus: The history of a song that made history, a maister-wonk on R+L=J, the benefits of abstinence-only sex ed, and a top-notch addition to Patheos’ team. [Read more…]

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This day is not imagination’s child

Texas Republican slaps down right-wing nonsense: “I am horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my governor doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to those who do. I’m not sure which is worse.” Plus: Privatized red-lining, Wanksy to the rescue, Bill Lindsey, Mallory Ortberg, and the 10,000th (10 millionth?) example of so-called pro-lifers demonstrating that they’re more concerned with controlling women that whatever else it is they claim to be concerned about. [Read more…]

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I see you darkly through a glass again

It really took a lot of work to imagine that a law mandating and subsidizing health insurance wouldn’t increase the number of people who have health insurance. Plus: Batgirl, Philomena Cunk, Rick Santorum, subsidizing sprawl, and why pop songs should be about more than one thing. [Read more…]

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Talking to people that I’ve never met

Besides all that lightning, stove, bifocal, swim-fin, Treaty of Paris, fire department stuff, Ben Franklin also invented Net Neutrality. Really. Plus: Oil trains blow up, Roman civil religion, a historical society wants to believe, and a reminder that mosquito bands, homeopathy, and Mickey Kaus are all bunk. [Read more…]

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