Life is a maze and love is a riddle


OK, I finally figured out what song that creepy “Always Submit to the Church Administration” ditty reminds me of, and it’s not Frente! after all. Plus: The need for a new Twain; an honest discussion of witch hunts; and the true story of the Lone Ranger. [Read more...]

American-style socialism (Do you wish to continue this transaction?)


The new law was a Good Thing. From now on, banks could no longer charge you ATM fees without telling you about them beforehand. They were still allowed to take $2 out of your account every time you wanted to check your balance or just to get access to $20 of your own money, but they had to tell you they were doing it. In America, in the 1990s, this is what constituted “socialism.” [Read more...]

The pros and cons of becoming a Prosperity Gospel televangelist

Should I become a Prosperity Gospel televangelist? I’ve done what it’s often helpful to do when contemplating this sort of major life decision: I’ve begun putting together a pro and con list of the potential advantages and disadvantages it would entail. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (10.15)

Dahlia Lithwick on “Carly Fiorina’s Big Lie.” Therese Oneill looks at “the terrifying medical logic of 18th-century law.” Kate Botkin and Kathy Khang respond to a pair of prominent white Christian racists. And Edmund Waldstein discusses how usury fuels “the psychology of the conquistadors.” [Read more...]

Pounding up against the stone and steel


“A little courage goes a long, long way / Get’s you a little bit further down the road each day / And before you know it, you’ll hear someone say / That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.” And in other news: Elizabeth Warren takes on the lords of credit-scoring, bad Lifetime movies, messy ecclesiology, and Jimmy Carter’s presidential film festival. [Read more...]

If nothing is sacred, then everything is for sale


“Sacred” does not mean that something “is beyond question.” It means that something is beyond price. To say that nothing is “sacred,” then, is to say that everything is for sale. This is not just a deeply cynical thing to say about the world, but a bitterly cynical thing to say about oneself. [Read more...]

Scenes from the class war (9.8)


“You have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?” [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (8.7)

Max Ehrenfreund on Kansas’ efforts to kick the poors. Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Color-Blind Policy, Color-Conscious Morality.” Randall Kennedy on “The Civil Rights Movement and the Politics of Memory.” Jill Lepore on arguments from privacy and arguments from equality. And Sr. Joan Chittister on “pro-life” vs. pro-birth. [Read more...]