Thursday, March 27, 2008

A letter worth reading

I'm not crazy about politics, and this year's crop of presidential candidates leaves me thoroughly unexcited the longer the primary season drags on. However, I am taken by the reaction - media, supporters, dissenters - to every big or little scandal, accomplishment, speech and mis-speech.

Reaction to Obama's race speech was pretty much what I expected - those who support him gauged it to be one of the greatest speeches in their lifetime, and those who do not support him complained that he gave no answers and ultimately avoided the real questions which led to the speech. I don't think any ground was gained or lost.

I will say, however, that the best follow-up to Obama's speech I've come across is this open letter by Lionel Chetwynd. Agree or not with his concluding challenge to Obama, it's hard to deny the raw emotion of the letter.

(ht: Power Line)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

3000 years in the making

Having just gotten to see the movie Atonement, and having read the book three months ago, I found this article by Alan Roxburgh quite engrossing. Roxburgh contends that there's no hope of properly interpreting the movie's narrative without engaging 3000 years of Western history, including Thomas Hardy, Hieronymus Bosch, and Nietzsche.

Book, movie, and analysis are all great.

Line of the day

"Some people are always going to be offended when you actually teach them what's in the Bible as opposed to what they assume is in the Bible."(N.T. Wright)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Here's to creativity

Enough whining about declining album sales. Just get fans to fund your project, and you won't have to worry about sales at all.

(HT: Collide)

A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll

Good harmony on a great song:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Same old, same old

For all the talk of the speech’s having enabled a new and more meaningful conversation, it in fact stressed the familiar and comforting liberal tropes of white oppression and black victimhood.

Your brain on music

Most of us have our unscientific opinions about how music affects us, but this article is fascinating as it describes the discoveries scientists are making in studying the issue.

Also, here's a book which delves into the issue: This Is Your Brain on Music.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Line of the day

"He had that ferocious, orgasmic gleam in his eye of somebody who was living in the climax of his own movie." (Paul Constant)

We could call it church

This passage from Ed Gungor's Religiously Transmitted Diseases is right on:

I have a dream of being part of a Christian community where you can be honest about your doubts and fears without being met with worn out clich├ęs or empty platitudes; a place that recognizes faith as a time-laded growth process, not the product of an “instant pudding” altar prayer; a place where you can get help today but be challenged to grow so you’re better prepared to face tomorrow; a place of intimacy, where you can know and be known; a place where it is hard not to find God; a place where finding God is as corporate as it is personal; a place where you belong whether you’re single, married, divorced, widowed, young, old, rich, poor, smart, dull, thin, fat, beautiful, or ugly; a place where you can find meaningful service, where you commit to something bigger than yourself; a place that needs you; a place of safety; a place off-limits to witches, demons, and the walking dead – the safest place in the world.

We could call it church. (Nashville: Nelson Books, pp. 50-51)

The reading does not the classic make

Perhaps you've seen this, but I'm just getting around to posting it. A graph showing the correlation between favorite books of college students (by college), and average entrance exam scores. The title of the post: Books That Make You Dumb.

What do you think? I'm struggling with Lolita as the book preference of the smartest kids.

However, I'm more inclined to believe the results of Music That Makes You Dumb, since Beethoven is by far the choice of the smartest. Also, it's amazing that the graph reveals how much mediocrity there is in college.

To speak, or not...

Some of the best speaking advice ever.

Hunting Osama

Came across this a while back: If Osama's Only 6 Degrees Away, Why Can't We Find Him? The famous 5 degrees of separation theory fades under scrutiny.

Best Writing preview

One day, hopefully soon, I'll be getting a blog going which highlights the best writing I've found on the Web. In the meantime, if you haven't already found the website for City Journal, it's a great site with some very good writing.

Here's an article to start with: The Rainbow Coalition Evaporates.