Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pot, Meet Kettle; Kettle, let me introduce you to Pot

Am I the only one who found this a tad ironic?
MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian government under Vladimir Putin has amassed so much central authority that the power-grab may undermine Moscow's commitment to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday. [Read complete story here]
A U2 lyric comes to mind: "Would you deny for others what you demand for yourself?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From Conservativism to Creedalism: David Brooks on the Republican Forgetting of Burke

My downward spiral into (truly) conservative sympathizer continues: I find myself nodding in agreement, even muttering a couple of quiet "amens" when I read David Brooks' column on "The Republican Collapse." In it Brooks pens a litany of all the ways that American neoconservatism fails to be properly conservative, and knows nothing of Edmund Burke (something I've hinted at before).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Measuring GPMs: The God-O-Meter

I often chide "Christian" music which simply takes whatever pop form is currently commercially successful (say, boy bands or Britney-like pop tunes) and then merely substitutes "Christian" lyrics. I like to refer to this as ramping up the "JPMs"--the "Jesus-per-minute" factor. The strategy is one of naive sanctification--as if "holy" lyrics somehow save or redeem the form.

I was reminded of this when the NYT's "The Caucus" Blog pointed to Beliefnet's "God-O-Meter" (pronounced Gah-DOM-meter). According to the site:
The God-o-Meter (pronounced Gah-DOM-meter) scientifically measures factors such as rate of God-talk, effectiveness—saying God wants a capital gains tax cut doesn’t guarantee a high rating—and other top-secret criteria. Click a candidate’s head to get his or her latest God-o-Meter reading and blog post. And check back often. With so much happening on the campaign trail, God-o-Meter is constantly recalibrating!
GPMs on the campaign trail, JPMs on the music charts--same ridiculous strategy: ramping up the semantic references to the divine hardly redeems the surrounding politics or commercialized music. References to God don't thereby sanctify or redeem domestic policies that oppress the poor or foreign policy that breeds war. In fact, if Jewish prophets have anything to say about it, ramping up the GPMs only makes this worse (see Jeremiah 7). Better to be honest oppressors than pretending to cover your oppression with God-talk.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Prince's Private Army

The NYT provides a harrowing account of one of Blackwater's episodes of "going ballistic." A must read.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Real "Fors Clavigera"

As I indicated on my first ever post, this blog is offered in homage to John Ruskin's 19th-century experiment, Fors Clavigera. I was thus delighted to find that the Google book project has made one of the volumes available online.