7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.2)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.2) December 2, 2013

1. 50 Shades of White. All-white panel of white Reformed evangelicals says that rap and Hip-Hop are musical forms that cannot be redeemed, only “transformed” into whiter musical forms. These are white men blinded by the glare of their own whiteness. It’s true these guys dismiss some forms of white culture as well as all forms of black culture, but I’m not sure that can save them from the conclusion that their response to rap and Hip-Hop is really, really, really racist.

2. I learn via Paul Carpenter of the (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call that Rick Santorum’s movie, The Christmas Candle, is (or maybe was) playing here in Downingtown. Carpenter notes that critics aren’t impressed with the film and he calls it a “flop.” It grossed about $900,000 in its first 10 days in limited release (392 theaters) — climbing to No. 15 at the box office, but I don’t know what kind of DVD sales or TV deals Santorum’s EchoLight Studios has lined up for the picture, so it’s still got a shot of maybe earning back its $7 million budget, eventually.

Some atheist neighbor should respond by adding a period to this sign — after the second word. (Via Christian Nightmares)

Still, though, Candle doesn’t seem to have tapped into the tribal must-see category that fueled low-budget money-makers like the Kirk Cameron vehicle Fireproof. As a politician, Rick Santorum defined himself as a culture warrior. Oddly, his failure so far as a movie producer is that he’s not enough of a culture warrior. He’s still imagining he can make a movie that might reach the broader culture, but the truth is the only way that Christian-brand movies make money is when they fire up the culture-war base, appealing to tribal competitiveness to make tribal Christianists believe that buying a ticket means striking a blow against Obama and “secular humanism.”

3. “Many Americans, including Catholics believe that a thoughtful, intentional approach to childbearing is a moral or spiritual responsibility. They don’t want insurance constraints that make this harder, and they especially don’t want their boss attempting to influence when and whether they have a child.”

4. This is a bit broad, and the mugging has the effect of pulling the punches on the toughest punchlines, but it’s still pretty funny. (Guy reminds me of an evangelical Fred Armisen — which I guess means he could team up with, say, Riki Michelle for an improv series called Wheatonia.)

5. Peter Enns asks “Are Ph.D. programs in biblical studies ethical?” I’ve thought about this myself in terms of, for example, the “journalism” major, which seems to be training students for a world that no longer exists in that form. It’s kind of like getting a degree in blacksmithing — yes, some few blacksmiths can find work as blacksmiths, but it would seem irresponsible to charge hundreds of students each year for such training when only a handful of them will ever be able to make a living in that field. “I am glad I no longer teach doctoral students for careers in Biblical Studies,” Enns writes. “I would feel dirty.”

The world needs journalists and the church needs experts in biblical studies. Yet the world and the church are not currently in a position to employ either one. That does seem to make offering such expensive degrees a bit ethically dubious.

6. I bookmarked this post by Warren Throckmorton back in September, meaning to write something about it: “Politico on David Barton: What Will Evangelicals Do?” Throckmorton was responding to Stephanie Simon’s devastating piece, “Evangelical historian remains key ally of right.” Simon highlighted Barton’s “stunning” lack of credibility and integrity, but noted that none of that seemed to bother the Christian activists who regarded him as a useful advocate for their side. Throckmorton summarized:

Instead of integrity, accuracy, correction and stewardship, evangelical groups are openly discussing the value of content and consultants in utilitarian terms. If Mr. Barton can deliver a certain segment of evangelicals then the standards will be different for him. Mr. Barton gets a pass because he has a big audience and is perceived to be helpful politically.

Anyway, I didn’t get around to writing about this in September. Now it’s December and it seems Throckmorton’s question has been answered: “What will evangelicals do” in response to David Barton’s exposure as a mendacious hack? Nothing. Nothing at all. For white evangelicals, it seems, when it comes down to truth vs. tribalism, truth doesn’t stand a chance.

7. Here’s Ruthie Foster sauntering through a sultry “Ring of Fire“:

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  • Jamoche

    Or HR just isn’t paying attention, and is using “five years” to mean “knows it really well”. Whenever new tech comes out, there’s always going to be a job listing asking for 5 years in it, even if it was invented last week.

  • Yawny


    And this was a Tier 1 research institution.

    That placed a high value on its honor code.

    Anyway, as best as I can tell, the professors hated being in the classroom so much they just didn’t want to put in the effort to teach their students how to research and then give those papers an appropriate level of attention. And don’t get me started on the TAs. (OK, I’ll be fair. Some of the profs actually enjoyed teaching and just made the bad assumption that their students already knew how to research…being seniors and all.)

    Of course, none of this even touches on the graduate students who plagiarized Wikipedia and a random web source.

    On a one paragraph topic proposal.


  • Daniel

    Or appreciate abstraction and nuance of any kind. It also shows itself in the desire to impose agency onto all experience- a particularly vivid dream, a moment of euphoria produced by adrenaline etc are seen as direct interventions by God, just as confusion, uncertainty, ambiguity are deliberate results of the Devil interfering. Nothing happens without some recognizably anthropomorphic agent being responsible. Therefore nothing can happen by happy chance, it has to be designed and deliberate- if you feel emotionally charged by a particular song it can only be because that particular emotion is what the artist was aiming for. If the emotion you feel is “bad” then the artist is evil for deliberately having made you feel that way.

  • aunursa

    Employees are entitled to safe working conditions.

  • chgo_liz

    “I didn’t call it ‘Ebonics.’”

    Ah, I see. I conflated the quote (which did refer to Ebonics) with your post about code-switching, in which you referenced “blaccent”. Thanks for catching that.

    “It’s subtle, but he has a kind of preacherly intonation he breaks out in some of his speeches sometimes, his -ings become -in’s, that sort of thing. Whereas most people who
    know him (maybe you can confirm or disconfirm this) agree that he usually talks in a General American accent.”

    Yes, totally. I think of his preacherly intonation during speeches as using a “professional voice” at work (we all do it….your kids can tell when you’re talking on the phone to your boss rather than a friend).

    “Which makes sense, given that he was raised mostly in the midwest by his white mom and grandfather.”

    Yup. As I often say to people: if this guy isn’t white enough for you, no black man is ever going to be white enough for you.

  • Carstonio

    I doubt that’s deliberate. I know several people who have the same habit. Around close friends from childhood or family members, they speak in whatever accent or patois they learned while growing up.

  • Ian

    #6 – from the article:

    “I remain available to whoever wants to move that ball down the court,” Barton told POLITICO.

    Massacre metaphors, much?

  • Carstonio

    That bashing of rap and hip-hop sounds just like the older bashing of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, and for good reason – it’s the same racist desire for cultural purity. I love the fact that music is a common language and that influences cross-pollinate all the time, and there’s nothing that folks like the reformed evangelicals can do about it.

  • Carstonio

    My one major lapse into “what’s with these kids today” is my lament over the demise of 1980s politically oriented rap like Public Enemy.

  • I think I saw it once. At least it’s not entirely unfamiliar to me. Either way, that’s very much not what I was going for, since they’re rather more on the nose than I’m intending.

    That’s actually the difference between Portlandia and, say, someone who just labels everything he doesn’t like “hipster crap.” Garfunkel and Oates are very obviously just making fun of something in a rather mean-spirited and obvious way. You don’t have to know or understand anything about the evangelical subculture to get, “Hey, they’re pointing and laughing.” I mean, they start the whole thing with a disclaimer that gives away the entire plot and then it’s four minutes of, “How many times can I say ‘fuck’ and ‘ass?'” and “Oh, look, it’s a cute girl offering bend over and let you shove it in the out hole. Isn’t that edgy?” That’s edgy Dane Cook edgy right there, I tell you what.

    I grew up in the evangelical bubble. I still live in Wheaton. I think the entire game is absurd and several things I’ve put into Wheatonia come from my experience or experiences my friends had. But I don’t want to just point and laugh as an outsider. It’s why Portlandia works as a point of comparison. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein obviously love Portland but find the place to be absurd. It wouldn’t work if it was just a bunch of sketch comedies about how goddamn awful Portland and hipsters are because there wouldn’t be any reason to keep going back.

    That’s why I got about two minutes into “The Loophole” and thought, “Screw this,” and stopped the video. It’s just…mean.

    Also, I am convinced that “the loophole” is largely an urban legend. I’ve heard about it from several sources but they’re all sources outside of the evangelical community. Some of the sources were just people who didn’t know and were repeating what they’d heard from a fourth party, so there’s that. But since an awful lot of people who are outside of the evangelical community seem to think there’s always some sort of deeper, darker, ulterior motive behind what everyone does and no one REALLY believes the crap they talk about, I’m prone to think that the claims of wide spread teenage butt sex are mostly artifacts of the minds of people who want to imagine, well, wide spread teenage butt sex. I’m not saying it’s never happened and never will happen. I’m saying that if a story sounds too good to be true and like the sort of thing the creepy guy on the bus who keeps staring at a 13 year-old girl on a bus would fap about when he gets home…it might not be quite so much of a real thing as everyone imagines.

  • dpolicar

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth here, so let me know if I’ve got this right… it sounds like you would agree that there are some things (such as safe working conditions) which we consider employees entitled to and which we therefore ought not, as a society, allow an employee to trade away… even if they are willing to do so (e.g., in exchange for more money).

    Is that a fair statement?

    It sounds like a 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek (with overtime pay for excess) is similarly something you consider an employee entitlement (for hourly-wage workers, at least).

    Are there other things you consider employee entitlements?

  • Lorehead

    I just noticed, when you quoted me, that I somehow left out his grandmother, the late Madelyn Dunham. My apologies to her.

    And yes, he never code-switches away from Standard English verb conjugation or anything of that degree. I couldn’t tell you how he talks to his brother-in-law in private, but I’m sure it’s different than when he speaks in the Rose Garden.

  • “And why do you keep making air quotes when you say that the compensation package includes “health care”?”

    “Well, are you a man or a woman?”

    “A man.”

    “Oh, okay. It’s health care then. It’s only “health care” if you’re a woman.”

  • I don’t think that’s actually all that terrible now that I think of it; it’s kinda bizarre that we would mandate that the employer has to pay the employee in the specific form of health care defined by certain specific definitions. Once you’re going to say the employer can pay the employee something other than money, it’s weird that we go on to say “And that non-monetary compensation can be pretty much anything you negotiate… Except for non-all-inclusive health care.”

    Frankly, it’s bizarre and wrong that we’re mandating that employers pay their employees in healthcare. Where aunursa goes wrong isn’t there, it’s in his insistance that healthcare isn’t a universal right.

    Employers *shouldn’t* be required to pay employees in all-inclusive-health-care. They should be required to pay their employees in money. Everyone should just get health care for free. The government is forcing employers to do this bizarre health care thing because the fuckers in the GOP won’t let the government do it’s actual constitutionally mandated job of ensuring the public welfare by socializing healthcare.

  • friendly reader

    After what I went through, I’m cool with calling them cysts.

    (That’s another thing – my whole surgery process cost me less than the equivalent of a $1000, because I was fortunately working overseas in a country with single-player nationalized healthcare. If it had happened to me while I was living in the US I’d have gone bankrupt.)

  • Lorehead

    I also agree that there shouldn’t be an employer mandate (President Obama delayed it, so there currently is none in effect), albeit for different reasons. You can’t really attribute the lack of a public option or single-payer to the Republicans, since they decided to stage a paranoid freak-out over anything Barack Obama supported. It was the Senate Democrats who insisted on a bill without a public option.

    But, however people get their healthcare, it does need to be comprehensive, because by definition health-care coverage that isn’t comprehensive leaves some people out. If they’re sick, that’s bad for them, and if they’re healthy, it raises the average cost for everyone else.

  • RidgewayGirl

    So it would be fine to offer all employees the same health insurance, that covers everything except anything to do with the testes, prostate and penis. The insurance is offered equally to all employees. There’s nothing unfair about this?

  • Jenny Islander

    Personally I favor “douche” for the added implication of “something that is actually not good for people but is pushed at them in the guise of help.” And then there’s “douchecanoe,” for douches who are really devoted to being douche-y.

  • Personally, I think that perhaps it should be fine for employers to offer any health insurance plan they can get.

    But it should quite obviously be illegal for any health insurance company to offer such a plan. It should be illegal the same way it’s illlegal to sell horse and call it beef, to sell melanine and call it milk, or to sell delicious tuna-and-broken-glass subs.