Listened to Hurtling Toward Catastrophe from On the Media | WNYC Studios

A vehicle burns at Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad on Friday. The Pentagon said the U.S. operation killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force.

After the US military assassinated an Iranian military general, war propaganda kicked into overdrive. On this week’s On the Media, how news consumers can cut through the misleading claims and dangerous frames. Plus, how Generation Z is interpreting the geopolitical crisis through memes. And, how apocalyptic thinking is a near-constant through history. 

1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor of Current Affairs, on the most suspect tropes in war coverage. Listen.

2. Lee Fang [@lhfang], investigative journalist at The Intercept, on the pundits with unacknowledged conflicts of interest. Listen.

3. Ian Bogost [@ibogost], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on memes. Listen.

4. Dan Carlin [@HardcoreHistory], host of "Hardcore History," on apocalyptic moments throughout human history. Listen.

Brooke Gladstone speaking with Ian Bogost [@ibogost], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on #​WorldWar3 memes:

34:29 IB: That’s the pattern that we will see recur. Not necessarily with respect to warfare.  But whatever the next thing is. And there certainly will be a next thing.
34:37 BG: You wrote that the end of the world could be a “dark but deviously appealing fantasy”, and you were talking about your own experience as a GenX-er during the cold war. What seems soothing about the apocalypse back then?
34:54 IB: The idea that you live at the end of history is incredibly comforting. Even if you don’t know everything that happened in the past. There will be none who follow you. You’ve seen it all either personally or historically. You haven’t missed anything in the project that is human kind.
35:12 BG: That’s FOMO taken to the n-degree, isn’t it?
35:15 IB: Right, I mean the fear of annihilation is a particularly piquant version of the fear of death. It’s about not seeing what comes next for your progeny–for humanity at large. It makes sense to me that there would be some comfort even if it’s a perverse comfort in everyone being together at the end.

Sounds exactly like the same sort of historical apocalyptic “Repent now for the end is at hand” sort of philosophy that a 30 year old Jesus was espousing two millennia ago. And look what happened to that idea. 

Makes me wonder who the Paul of Tarses TikTok is going to be for the next two millennia?

Watched "Explained" Cults from Netflix
With LaKeith Stanfield, Catherine Oxenberg, Laura Johnston Kohl, Janja Lalich. How do cults lure people in and exert control? Learn a cult's telltale signs, and how loneliness and life online makes indoctrination easier than ever.
A fascinating short take on cults with some relatively recent history within the United States. It’s interesting to think about how the definition and details presented here relate to how our current US president has turned the Republican Party into a cult.

I haven’t heard it in a while, but Reza Aslan mentions the old saw “cult + time = religion” in here.

Watched Born Again (2007) from Netflix

Born and raised in an Evangelical Christian family, director Markie Hancock struggled through her childhood to find the line between her family and her religion, between her duties to God and Jesus and her responsibilities to her parents and herself. Fervent in her beliefs, she thought she would pursue a religious calling until the true nature of her sexuality and her need to express her own doubts brought her into a final confrontation with her upbringing. This is the story of that confrontation and what was won and what was lost.

movie poster for Born Again featuring a black and white photo of a prototypical white family from the 60's in front of a christmas tree

I’m glad this exists, but would not watch it again.

It is interesting to note that this was made in 2007 and presaged the political turmoil of the 2016 election. It also goes a long way to explore some of the political divisions within the country during the decade or more after it was made.

Rating: ★★½

The importance of bread in society: the etymology of Lord

In listening to The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth Lerer (Lecture 8), I came across an interesting word etymology which foodies and particularly bread fans will appreciate.

Dr. Lerer was talking about the compression of syllables at the border of Old English and Middle English circa 1100 which occurred in such terms as hlaf weard, the warden (or guardian) of the loaf.

Who is the guardian of the loaf? The hlfaf weard << The hlaweard << the laweard << the lord. This is the etymology of the word 'lord'. Lord is the guardian of the bread, the mete-er out of bread in a cereal society.

An interesting linguistic change that tells us a lot about power, structure, religion, and society surrounding bread of the time. I suppose one could also look at Christian traditions of the time which looked at the transubstantiation of the symbolic bread of the Last Supper which is ritually turned into the body of Christ–Christ, our lord.

One can’t help noting the slang use of the word “bread” to mean “money”. Perhaps it’s time to go back and re-visit Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent podcast series Our Daily Bread?

Featured image: Bread flickr photo by adactio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Listened to Sources and Methods #34: Lynne Kelly by Alex Strick van LinschotenAlex Strick van Linschoten from Sources & Methods

Interview with Lynne Kelly primarily covering an overview of her memory-related works and focusing primarily on her academic work including her Ph.D. thesis and subsequent archaological-based texts. This appears to have been done prior to The Memory Code and so doesn’t cover those portions of some the more applied areas like her work in rapscallions or the bestiary.

Originally bookmarked on December 14, 2019 at 08:42AM

Listened to The Indigenous memory code by Lynne Malcolm from ABC Radio National
Traditional Aboriginal Australian songlines hold the key to a powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world.

Have you ever wondered how ancient indigenous cultures maintain so much information about the thousands of species of plants and animals—without writing it down? Traditional Aboriginal Australian songlines are key to a powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world. It's intricately tied to the landscape and it can be applied in our everyday lives.

Duration: 28min 49sec
Broadcast: 

Another Lynne Kelly interview, but this one focuses more on the indigenous peoples of Australia and their memory techniques. Also some discussion of “dreaming” and songlines with Karen Adams here.

Originally bookmarked on December 07, 2019 at 01:13PM

Replied to a tweet by Ela_HadrunEla_Hadrun (Twitter)

[Raymond] Llull is the first author to use the expression “Immaculate Conception” to designate the Virgin’s exemption from original sin.[19] He appears to have been the first to teach this doctrine publicly at the University of Paris.

–via Wikipedia referencing Mary in the Middle Ages: the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Thought of Medieval Latin Theologians, Fr. Luigi Gambero, S.M., Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2005.

🎧 LifeWay Christian Closing Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores | NPR

Listened to LifeWay Christian Closing Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores from NPR

LifeWay Christian Stores plans to close all of its locations by end of the year and move all of the company's retailing online. Its bricks-and-mortar division has been losing money since 2013, and the company says it has tried just about everything to keep the business going, including overhauling several stores last summer and experimenting with features like coffee bars.

👓 Conservative Bible Project aims to rewrite scripture to counter perceived liberal bias | NY Daily News

Read Conservative Bible Project aims to rewrite scripture to counter perceived liberal bias (NY Daily News)
The Conservative Bible Project's authors argue that contemporary scholars have inserted liberal views and ahistorical passages into the Bible, turning Jesus into little more than a well-meaning social worker.
Another thousand years from now portions of the “christian” bible will have strayed so far from the original that they will be completely unrecognizable. You can choose to reinterpret them into a new modern setting, but it still doesn’t change the words that were originally inscribed.

🎧 The Daily: White, Evangelical and Worried About Trump | New York Times

Listened to The Daily: White, Evangelical and Worried About Trump from New York Times

Within a voting base that remains deeply conservative, some women have found the president’s policies to be in fundamental conflict with their faith.

Nice that people are realizing what it is that they actually stand for and then stand up for it. Too often it’s easy to follow along with the herd.

It was fairly interesting to listen to this daughter speak with her father about politics and how resistant and reticent he was to her position. Sadly he didn’t come back with much against her argument but “because…”

👓 The story behind the gas lamps and leeries in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ | Business Insider

Read The real story behind the gas lamps and lamplighters in 'Mary Poppins Returns' (Business Insider)
In 'Mary Poppins Returns', Lin-Manuel Miranda plays a lamplighter. Here's the history behind the lamps and the profession.

The Victorian periodical The Westminster Review wrote that the introduction of gas lamps would do more to eliminate immorality and criminality on the streets than any number of church sermons.  

Quoted Address at the Religious Leaders Conference on 11 May 1959 by Martin Luther King, Jr. (The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project (okra.stanford.edu) )
Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a spiritually moribund religion in need of new blood.  
I read this quote on Nov 29, 2018 12:04pm through @dswanson's post and it has stuck with me. I thought I’d dig up some additional detail on it. It turns out Swanson’s version was a slight misquote/variation and even at that MLK may have been modifying a quote from somewhere else.

King may have adopted this passage from Harry Emerson Fosdick’s The Hope of the World [New York: Harper & Brothers, 1933], p. 25:

“Any church that pretends to care for the souls of people but is not interested in the slums that damn them, the city government that corrupts them, the economic order that cripples them . . . that kind of church, I think, would hear again the Master’s withering words: ‘Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”’

—annotation in The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project (okra.stanford.edu) “Address at the Religious Leaders Conference on 11 May 1959” on page 200

📺 Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature RLST 152 – Lecture 2 – From Stories to Canon | Open Yale Courses

Watched Lecture 2 From Stories to Canon by Dale B. Martin from RLST 152: Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature

The Christian faith is based upon a canon of texts considered to be holy scripture. How did this canon come to be? Different factors, such as competing schools of doctrine, growing consensus, and the invention of the codex, helped shape the canon of the New Testament. Reasons for inclusion in or exclusion from the canon included apostolic authority, general acceptance, and theological appropriateness for “proto-orthodox” Christianity.

📺 Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature RLST 152 – Lecture 1 – Introduction: Why Study the New Testament? | Open Yale Courses

Watched Lecture 1 Introduction: Why Study the New Testament? by Dale B. Martin from RLST 152: Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature

This course approaches the New Testament not as scripture, or a piece of authoritative holy writing, but as a collection of historical documents. Therefore, students are urged to leave behind their pre-conceived notions of the New Testament and read it as if they had never heard of it before. This involves understanding the historical context of the New Testament and imagining how it might appear to an ancient person.

Some interesting questions about what is in and what isn’t in the Bible here. I love that he does the exercise of what early Christianity meetings would have looked like to a person of that time period.