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{ Category Archives } Politics

On modern humor

[youtube:] A few observations without a conclusion. 1. “College Kids Can’t Take A Joke” by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune (link) Clarence Page writes about how Chris Rock doesn’t perform for college audiences any more because they’re too sensitive. Page writes: I marvel at comedians as varied as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, […]

Dispatches from the Age of Electracy: End of the semester grading

Note: I’ll be taking a break from the Dispatches from the Age of Electracy series until after the new year. An interesting conversation opened up on Facebook last week about grading.  The OP asked “Hypothetically, what should I say to a student who’s unhappy about getting 91/100?” (click ‘read more’ below to see the full […]

Archbishop John Nienstedt should be ashamed of himself.

Archbishop John Nienstedt asked Jaime Moore, the longtime music director for St. Victoria parish in Victoria, MN, to resign after Moore married his longtime same-sex partner.  Nienstedt should be ashamed of himself. We’ve long understood that the Bible is a hot mess of contradictions.  Aside from confusions introduced by its translation into other languages, there […]

Privilege and humor – Whose experience is being mocked?

There’s been quite a bit of commentary lately about privilege.  It’s a concept that finally seems to have some mainstream bite, and deserves serious consideration. In case this is new to you, the basic idea of privilege in this context is the idea that different people have different experiences in society because of factors outside […]

Should someone’s politics influence your enjoyment of their art? (The Ender’s Game conundrum)

I acknowledge up front that nothing I say here will be particularly revelatory if you have been following or thinking about this story for very long. Books and movies you encounter during your formative years often get a pass on critical thinking, at least they do for me.  I’m fond of a number of movies […]

j/k lol

The Joke by Milan Kundera I don’t usually read high literature.  I gravitate toward genre fiction (duh) if left to my own devices, and it’s only through the patient prodding of my literary colleagues and my father in law (who reads tons) that I occasionally pick up a book that will challenge my soul or […]

It will never get harder to copy things: Universities, Electracy, and the coming tsunami, part 3

This is the third in a four-part blog series taking a snapshot of the current economic, political, and grammatological situation facing the modern American university system.  In part one, I provided a preface for this discussion.  Parts two, three, and four focus specifically on pressures from different quarters challenging us to re-imagine what it is […]

Too long for a bumper sticker, but awesome anyway.

From one of PZ Myers’ recent posts about gender equality: Here’s the deal, Fox News. The world is changing. It’s not getting worse, it’s getting different, and I know that’s the kind of thing that makes bitter, cranky old conservatives weep into their scotch and water, but deal with it. Besides, you’ll be dead soon […]

Worlds collide!

I read blogs for a variety of reasons: humor – cuz’ I like funny stuff academics – cuz’ it’s my job Skepticism and Rationality in sciecne – cuz’ it’s interesting Freedom of speech (particularly on the internet) – cuz it’s interesting AND it’s my job In skimming my feed today, I discovered an overlap in […]

Two thoughts on the Boston bombing and related events

First, the coverage of the Boston bombing on Popehat has been amazing.  The gang over there have been doing a bang-up job writing from new angles about the event.  My two favorite are: “security theater, martial law, and a tale that trumps every cop-and-donut joke you’ve ever heard” in which Clark wrote about the enormous […]

Them: Adventures with Extremists

Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson It’s a little disconcerting how close Ronson gets to very scary people in this book.  But his point, I think, is that even the very scary people are just people.  Them details Ronson’s journey into the late 1990s and early 2000s subculture of conspiracy theorists, people who believe […]

Bit parts on / Favorite episodes of … the West Wing

Bit Parts: Following up on my post earlier this week… Oh my goodness, I hadn’t realized how many people whom you would later see in more prominent acting roles had bit parts on The West Wing.  I’m not speaking about prominent roles, but rather the occasional one-off role.  Here are a few: Clark Gregg, now […]

Rewatching The West Wing

I never watched The West Wing when it was airing live.  The first time I watched the show, it was running in syndication and I watched an episode every day with lunch.  I watched through the end of season four which is, I recall, when Aaron Sorkin left the show.  I never returned to see […]

Fourteen names

Each week as part of the service at Unity Temple in Oak Park, the ministers read from the book of the prayers of the people — a book you can write requests in for the congregation to include.  They take pains to include three lists each week: Individuals being held in McHenry County Jail awaiting […]

Which god do you listen to?

I don’ t know where this post it going.  I suppose the alternate title could be “Random thoughts on evil, Hell, and the religious questions thereabouts.” Also could be “blogging when I should be doing other things.” 1. Constructing Hells In Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks imagines a post-singularity future in which digital upload was […]