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Posts tagged "Self-Justification"

UCF Tries to Make Themselves...Just Like Me

UCF Tries to Make Themselves…Just Like Me

Are you excited for the Georgia/Alabama game on Monday? The one that will crown the 2018 National Champi…oh, wait. Apparently the University of Central Florida already claimed the 2018 National Championship after their Peach Bowl victory over Auburn (admittedly, the only team who beat both Georgia and Alabama this season). What are we to make of this? In one sense, it’s almost honorable: the school is celebrating a group of students who accomplished something remarkable and is even paying its coaches the national championship bonuses called for in their contracts. There is even precedent for this behavior: calling yourself a…

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Tidy Lies and Messy Truths in Flaked

Tidy Lies and Messy Truths in Flaked

In a few recent Netflix shows, Will Arnett plays existentially ambivalent and sometimes despondent characters with alcoholic tendencies. He voices the title role in Bojack Horseman, an animated series centering on a maladjusted former TV star who’s going broke and doesn’t know how to engage in a meaningful relationship. And in the more recent Flaked he plays Chip, an exemplary community member with a colored past, basically killing time before the lease runs out on his furniture store in Venice Beach. He produces both shows and has a larger hand in the creation and writing of the latter, which claims AA…

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From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, only to find that you have two contradictory recollections? It can be harmless – e.g. what color shirt someone was wearing on our 10th birthday – or it can be painful – you were clearly mother’s favorite child vs. No, you were.

These things don’t have to be in the distant past. I attended a church service a few years ago in which a preacher spoke, regretfully, about refusing to marry an inter-religious couple early in his ministry. The couple also happened to be an interracial one. He…

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Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Internet Addiction, Middle-Aged Mortals, and Unanswered Prayers

Update: Accompanying episode of The Mockingcast up on iTunes now!

ONE. On Monday, Mallory Ortberg, founder of The Toast (the-toast.net), posted a video in which she discusses her experience founding a blog. It’s safe to say that we’ve become fans of The Toast here at Mockingbird, and Ortberg’s language in this video, and her transparency, explains why. She speaks in a direct, very honest (and extremely funny) way, reminding us that when we look at the true ridiculousness of everyday life we experience the freedom to laugh at ourselves.

She starts by calling out performancism, the anxiety that accompanies trying to live…

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On the Fragile Souls of Imperial Sycophants

Another one from Ted Peters’ Sin Boldly!:

51lU3StHrKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Measurements, milestones, merits, awards, and orthodoxies rule over our psyches like Caligula ruled Rome. Like sycophants in the emperor’s royal court, we create a fictional public image by bowing and fawning before the ambient opinions of what is acceptable, respectable, admirable, good, just, and true. And in our rare moments of self-bolstering, we assure ourselves that we stand for eternal justice, the unassailable good, and what is absolutely right–what Luther refers to as “the Law.” In doing so, the fragile soul becomes temporarily hidden beneath self-justifying bravado. Nevertheless, fragility is ever present, sapping our soul of honesty, integrity, and authentic caring. To make matters worse, Christian sermonizers–preachers whom Cathleen Falsani calls “spiritual bullies”–man their pulpits like a captain on the bridge; they manipulate our already innate anxieties and turn timidity into terror. The perpetual fear of eternal damnation turns a fragile soul into a petrified self. We fragile ones go through the motions of life, but we don’t really live it.

Romans 8:33b, “God is the one who justifies,” should be heard by us as good news, as grace, as gospel. The gospel is aimed at liberating our selves from fragility and our souls from the endless unrolling of [spiritual] duct tape.” (pgs. 16-17)

Winners and Losers Under Your Own Inner-Editor

Winners and Losers Under Your Own Inner-Editor

I have to admit, as a watcher of The Bachelor, that I participated in this phenomenon without ever thinking about it. Colson Whitehead, in the most recent NYT Magazine, talks about the “loser edit” in most competition-based reality television shows, the fact that, in winnowing 30 TV faces from total strangers into winners and losers, requires some narrative-building and, in the case of the losers, narrative-obliviating. As many of us (I hope?) can recall, there are the moments at the end of each of these shows where the ousted suitor, the ousted chef, the ousted whatever creates this reaction among…

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"Abjection"...Or, Better Yet, Taylor Swift and a Postmortem Body

“Abjection”…Or, Better Yet, Taylor Swift and a Postmortem Body

This wonderful reflection comes from Emily Stubbs.

Often times we self-justify through the things that we associate with and claim as part of our identity: I am a vegan, I am a Phi Mu, I am a fellow at Christ Church, and I wear Led Zeppelin t-shirts from Goodwill and earrings that I bought from a Peruvian man (hypothetically speaking). While, indeed, we attempt to prove our identity by vainly clinging to other people, things, ideas, organizations, etc, we also self-justify through the things that we turn away from. My identity as an independent, autonomous human being is equally dependent upon…

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Binging on Bags of Popcorn, or Misadventures in Hate-Viewing (and Reading)

Binging on Bags of Popcorn, or Misadventures in Hate-Viewing (and Reading)

A pretty relevant article appeared in The NY Times the other day on the phenomenon of “hate-reading/-watching”, courtesy of novelist Teddy Wayne. Not much to say on the subject that we haven’t said elsewhere, either when asking why we’re so obsessed with that person from sixth grade or contemplating “87 percent of our mental life.” Suffice it to say, the (short-lived) self-esteem boost we get from gaping in disbelief at the unenlightened online or on cable or in a tabloid is the inverse of the self-recrimination we feel when looking at those who seem to have it all together in…

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On TV: Breaking Bad, "To'haliijee"

On TV: Breaking Bad, “To’haliijee”

This covers last night’s episode of the final season of Breaking Bad. Spoilers!

To’haliijee, the Navajo reservation upon which the empire began in the Fleetwood Bounder in Season 1, now lines up the beginning of its end–and the end is coming by way of inversion. In last night’s episode, we watch a painted redux of the old westerns, of the outlaw rounded up in the landscape where he made his fortune, justice served by his embittered sidekick, and the marshall who’s gone to all lengths to get him. But after the capture, it all turns inside-out, and a new cowboy’s…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: 12 Angry Men (Minus One)

Mockingbird at the Movies: 12 Angry Men (Minus One)

You can watch the focal length elongating in 12 Angry Men. This makes the close-ups (which come more and more frequently as the film furthers) become more personal, more detached from the judicial background. Also you can see that the camera shots, while doing this, are also beginning to take a different angle. The courtroom shots (which make up only the first two minutes of the 97-minute movie) and the early jury room shots are from above. By the end, you are looking upward, from below, at the faces of these sweaty men. It’s not just claustrophobia that’s created in…

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Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

1)  Well, if you planned on taking your kids to see Planes, thinking it would be the aviary of the Cars legacy, think again. As it has happened before, Pixar has created something seemingly unrepeatable, except unto itself (and unto scripture), and the Atlantic tells us what it is. Luke Epplin says it is the Charlie Brown that is missing in today’s films—and replacing it is the “magic-feather” of self-determination that any chalky character can stir up within to reach his or her dreams. It’s not that the cult of self-esteem is just the name of the game with most…

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87 Percent of Our Mental Life

87 Percent of Our Mental Life

Another absolute gem from Tim Kreider, this time via his essay on the intoxicating nature of anger in We Learn Nothing. It’s just as much as riff on the pleasures–and costs–of self-justification, and while that may not exactly constitute breaking news, still, it takes guts to talk about this tendency so openly and specifically when your job as a political cartoonist is, as he admits, to be “professionally furious”. Plus, in a culture where “hate-watching” and “hate-reading” are quickly becoming a dominant paradigm, especially in regards to our “dialogue” on religion, these insights could not be more vital or urgent:

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