I really like this word, Pentacostalgon! I read it in an article on CNN about an atheist named Jeremy Hall who is suing the U.S. military for religious discrimination. The story has been in the news for a while, but this is the first time I ran into the word. It comes from Michael Weinstein, “a retired senior Air Force officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who is suing along with Hall.” In the CNN article, he says “Our Pentagon, our Pentacostalgon, is refusing to realize that when you put the uniform on, there’s only one religious faith: patriotism.” Weinstein’s term hasRead More →

I liked but didn’t love the movie Wall-E. The message about the environment, consumption, and technology was apparent. It’s a message that a six year old, and maybe even a four year old, would get. But Frank Rich of the NYT waxes rhapsodic about the movie in the context of this year’s political campaign. He writes: One of the great things about art, including popular art, is that it can hit audiences at a profound level beyond words. That includes children. The kids at “Wall-E” were never restless, despite the movie’s often melancholy mood and few belly laughs. They seemed to instinctually understand what “Wall-E”Read More →

According to an article on LiveLeak.com, 18 veterans commit suicide every day, and there are 1,000 attempts per month. According to a CBS news report, veteran suicide rates are twice as high as the regular population. Even the government knows that suicide rates among veterans from the Iraq war are “epidemic.” The comments on this link are depressing and sickening.Read More →

Apparently other drivers think Danica is too aggressive, a sentiment that AP has turned into an article. Since I don’t follow racing, the backstory and why it counts as newsworthy is unclear. But Danica defends herself nicely: “All I can say is with the words you used—aggressive and giving up spots—those are things that drivers never do.” “I think that in an ideal world, I would win over everyone’s heart and be a sweetheart and be tough on the track and have good finishes.” Go for the good finish, Danica!Read More →

In ruminating on my college days, I had a flash of thought about people I barely and briefly encountered during the drunken haze at UT. They were charismatic enough to remember after all these years. 1. Paul Begala. Yes, “I knew him when.” Meaning, I met him. Back then there was no student government. The reason is a complicated story not worth repeating. Paul Begala worked tirelessly to get student government renewed on campus, a campaign that I worked on by collecting signatures. Big whoop. Then, of course, he ran for president. Wikipedia succinctly explains. Here’s the lazy, cut and paste version: While at theRead More →

Predictably, Dinesh D’Souza had to go and comment on the Pew Study on Religion, too. He makes the same point below about people being shallow that I cited in an earlier blog post, but of course he frames his comments in a usual anti-postmodernist screed. He writes: There are two kinds of pluralism: the kind that holds that truth does not matter, and the kind that holds that truth matters greatly but as flawed human beings our reason and experience gives us only limited access to the truth. The first kind of pluralism is deadly for religion, and is typically embraced by flaccid people whoRead More →

We don’t read on line, we skim. According to Michael Agger’s article in Slate, that’s how we read on the web, and he bases the claim on some interesting research. He gives guidelines about making your website appealing to audiences who don’t read, but skim. I don’t follow any of those guidelines, which explains my low readership. But then, I’m journaling, not blogging. Also, this month’s the Atlantic Monthly asks Is Google Making Us Stupid?, which takes a media ecology approach to the web, citing the Phaedrus, McLuhan, and Mumford, among others. The article was a long column, which I had to scroll over, andRead More →

1. Marc Bousquet’s syllabus for Internet Culture and Information Society. I’m too obsolete to teach a cyberculture class again. I’m so out of it. I don’t like  MMORPGs. I don’t particularly like social networking. At least I blog (occasionally). Bousquet’s syllabus has them view the Daily Show’s report on Second Life. It’s worth a laugh.

2. An open letter to Star Trek director JJ Abrams. This is a list of things he should NOT

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