Happy Presidents Day! – On Mimetic Theory and How I Lost Political Ambition

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Like many children growing up in the US, I had dreams of becoming the president. My political career got off to a pretty good start. In high school, I was Freshman Class President, Junior Class President, and then Student Body President my senior year. During college, I was involved in the Student Senate and my senior year I was the Vice President of the Student Body.I was well on my way to becoming President of the United, don’t you think? And when I turned 35 last year, I made it Facebook o … [Read more...]

Chapel Hill, Atheism, and the Worship of Violence

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (via Twitter)

It’s been a few days since the tragic murder of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The lives of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yosor Muhammad, and Razan Razan Mohammad Abu-Selha were cut short. They were murdered, shot in the head, by Craig Hicks.Hicks is an avowed atheist. Prominently displayed on his Facebook page is a meme that claims, Of course I want religion to go away. I don’t deny you your right to believe whatever you’d like; but I have the right to point out it’s ignorant an … [Read more...]

Who is God? Part 3: The Son of God: How the Son Subverts Violence and Patriarchy

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My inner feminist recoils when I hear the term “Son of God.” I get the same feeling when I hear “God the Father.” I mean, isn’t that just patriarchal language that elevates men above women? If so, shouldn’t we do away with such violent patriarchal language about God?It’s true that each of the Gospels call Jesus “the Son of God,” but here’s the catch: when the Gospels call Jesus the “Son of God” they subvert all forms of violence, including patriarchal structures that treat women as less than … [Read more...]

The Glory of the Grammys: Desire, Hope, and Becks Perfect Response to Kanye West

Ahh, we love drama, don’t we? Okay, maybe you don’t, but this year’s Grammys didn’t disappoint in creating some scandal. Kanye West was at it again. In 2009 Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video at the MTV Video Music Awards. As Swift was talking, Kanye took the stage and protested, claiming that Beyoncé deserved the award.And on Sunday night, in straight mimetic fashion, Kanye pulled a Kanye. René Girard would be proud – after all, Kanye’s greatest imitator … [Read more...]

Nationwide: What We Can Learn from the Worst Super Bowl Commercial Ever

Nationwide Super Bowl commercial. (Screenshot from YouTube)

“That was a total buzzkill.”The Nationwide commercial just finished. Entitled, “Make Safe Happen,” it stars a sorrowful young boy. He talks about his dreams of learning to ride a bike, learning to fly, traveling the world with his dog, and getting married. But he never did any of those things. Why? He explains,“Because I died from an accident.”Then we see various “accidents” – a tub overflowing, toxic chemicals scattered under a sink, and a flat screen television toppled onto the floo … [Read more...]

Why I Hate Tom Brady: Reflections on the Super Bowl

"Adoring hatred." Yeah. Please, Tom. Keep your helmet on. (Photo: Flickr, Jeffery Beall)

As a Seattle Seahawks fan, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I hate Tom Brady.With a passion.Of course, my hatred for Tom has grown since Sunday’s Super Bowl. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Tom and his Patriots beat my Seahawks in a heartbreaking loss, made worse by how the game ended. My Seahawks had the ball on the one (1!) yard line with seconds left and three downs remaining. Despite having the best running back in the NFL, whose nickname is “Beast Mode” because he’s the be … [Read more...]

Top 4 Ways to Criticize without Scapegoating

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Criticism.It’s an ugly word. Just reading it there makes me cringe. And there’s so much of it going around. There is a positive form of criticism, of course, but criticism usually has negative connotations. The news, Facebook, and Twitter are prominent places where a mean, nasty, and excessively critical spirit is spread like a contagious disease. If you need any evidence for René Girard’s mimetic theory, look no further than the contagious spirit of criticism.Mimetic comes from the Greek … [Read more...]