The Weirdly #Ashtag “Look-at-Me” Lent of 2014

Seriously, guys, this is no hardship!

Maybe it's me but there seem to be a lot of "oh no! It's Lent! We're going meatless for a day and how shall we endure it!" sorts of posts showing up on the 'net this year, and I'm puzzled about it. I mean, it's one meatless day. I'm betting many of us experience them at least once a week, without thinking about it. We might get up and have cereal or waffles in the morning, and then an egg-salad or tuna sandwich for lunch, and then decide on a veggie pizza for supper, without stopping for a … [Read more...]

Among the Merciless and Perpetually Outraged, Mind Your Soul – UPDATED

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With Meanwhile, Back in America Peggy Noonan wrote a truly excellent column this week, one so full of grieving truth that only the hackiest of partisan hacks could deny it. Those for whom Noonan has beautifully articulated the here-and-now of their concerns could not help but make note of it, but they couldn't acknowledge it with an equal measure of beauty. It was more important to them to thank her while mashing a grapefruit in her face, as Sarah Palin -- who used to have leadership skills that … [Read more...]

The Dark Joy of Hating Rebecca Black

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While I am not remotely interested in Rebecca Black or her new song, "Saturday", I find it fascinating that merely two days after her video was published on YouTube, it boasts over 9 million hits. Think about that for a second, because it says almost nothing about Rebecca Black and a great deal about our society. Throughout social media Black is talked about and roundly mocked, and all of these people who supposedly don't like her product made haste to view her video, why? So they could … [Read more...]

“We are Church.” As self-referential as the Curia.

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You might think it takes a peculiar sort of mind to find common themes uniting an interview with Antonin Scalia and an exhortation from Pope Francis, and you'd be right. My piece at First Things this week brings these two divertingly counter-cultural men together on the subject of narcissism and idols: After his election to the papacy, notes were released outlining the pre-conclave intervention delivered by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, which many of the Cardinal-electors said impressed them … [Read more...]

Newly App’d (but Always Apt) Pope Talks Up Social Media UPDATES

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Yesterday saw the release of the Vatican's new "Pope App", which is so well-done that even God and the Machine's Tom McDonald gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, writing, "I may have to take back all the bad things I’ve been saying about Vatican communications. (Okay, some of them.)" I downloaded the app to my phone last night, and agree that it's pretty groovy. But right on the heals of that app roll-out, the pope has more to offer on these virtual fields in which the sheep do graze. … [Read more...]


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