Strange Idols and Strange Identities

In Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, Elizabeth Scalia has a simple definition of an idol. In the decalogue, we are warned by God to have no other/foreign/strange gods before Him.  So, in our modern age, Scalia points out, our idols are less likely to be something like, say a giant golden calf that give burt offerings, and more likely to be letting Reddit usurp our prayer time.  An idol doesn't have to be worshiped to impose itself between us and God.But what would it be l … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (5/31/13)

--- 1 --- This evening, at 6pm ET, I'll be on Relevant Radio for "A Closer Look with Sheila Liaugminas."  A whole mess of the Catholic Patheos bloggers are going to turn up to talk about purity culture and the problems with most abstinence sex-ed programs.  (A bunch of them got a head start last week, and I'm joining in for round two).  You can tune in online, or stream it after the fact. --- 2 --- And, elsewhere on the internet, Eve Tushnet wrote an interesting reflection for the Atlantic tit … [Read more...]

You Gotta be Kind to be Cruel

Libby Ann and Daniel Finke are running another installment of their Forward Thinking series, where they ask bloggers to contribute their thoughts on a topic. This fortnight, it's cruelty.  Daniel kicks us off with this quote from Nietzsche: Cruelty constituted the great festival pleasure of more primitive men and was indeed an ingredient of almost every one of their pleasures. [...] [I]t is not long since princely weddings and public festivals of the more magnificent kind were unthinkable wi … [Read more...]

Play in a political Ideological Turing Test

 Over at Popehat (despite the name, not a religion blog), the proprietor is trying to test his Turing Test acumen: Today we've secretly replaced your regular Clark with Folger's Clark; let's see if you notice the difference.Please ask me anything about politics, religion, culture, economics, the family, gay marriage, the Obama scandals, immigration, the Republican party, libertarians, etc. I will answer it as a mainstream liberal US Democrat. Then you may judge how well I … [Read more...]

Anyone have an ideological immersion course?

Yesterday, Chris Hallquist put up a post in the Atheism channel titled "Everyone in America should fail to learn a foreign language" which I quite enjoyed, especially this section: So they can have the experience of failing to learn a foreign language. You can learn a lot from failing to learn a foreign language. You learn about how languages work. About the features of English you never thought about before even though they’re around you constantly. About the ways in which English did … [Read more...]

Oh, the places you might not want to go!

Tomorrow, I get to watch my brother graduate, and I'm quite excited for him, and, well, for the commencement speaker: Joss Whedon.  Since my brother is not a public figure, and Whedon is, I'll limit the content of this post to only one of these awesome people.There were two quite interesting pieces on the arts in The New York Times this weekend.  A feature on Whedon mentioned his delightful habit of having Shakespeare parties while shooting Buffy and Angel, and the impact this had on … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (5/24/13)

--- 1 --- I have excellent friends who know me very well.  How do I know?  This week, one of them sent me this video with the subject line: "For your prosthetic limbs beat."--- 2 --- Presumably he sent it because I'm the kind of person who kept a NYT article on reawakening nerves to give better control over prostheses in my Quick Takes file for six months looking for a chance to slot it in. The complexity of the upper limbs, though, is just part of the problem. While prosthetic leg te … [Read more...]