1. A quick study in opposites: In an NPR story about the rise of cyber-bullying and public humiliation, “It’s Not the Web, It’s Us” sociologist C.J. Pascoe wisely states, we shouldn’t place all the blame for [cyber-bully] actions on new technology. ‘I think the problem starts pre-technology, which is, what are the motivations we have in humiliating another person, and humiliating them sexually?’ she says. ‘That’s the issue we need to deal with, and then follow up with concerns about new media.'”.

The good people at ebay might beg to differ:

2. The NY Times Magazine ran a cover story on the suddenly ubiquitous Glenn Beck last week, and I for one was unaware of his history of addiction. I was struck in particular by the following admission:

“I said to someone the other day,” Beck told me, “I am as close today to a complete and total collapse as I was on the first day of recovery.” He calls himself a “recovering dirtbag.” There were many days, he said, when he would avoid the bathroom mirror so he would not have to face himself. He was in therapy with “Dr. Jack Daniels.” He smoked marijuana every day for about 15 years. He fired an underling for bringing him the wrong pen. And, according to a Salon.com report, he once called the wife of a radio rival to ridicule her — on the air — about her recent miscarriage. “You get to a place where you disgust yourself,” Beck told me. “Where you realize what a weak, pathetic and despicable person you have become.”

3. Two new blogs very much worth checking out: Mbird’s own Jacob & Melina Smith and Dusty Brown taking us through a nine-week systematics overview that promises to put the fun back in The Fundamentals – if you’re in the city, be sure to check it out (Monday evenings at St Georges) – and Russ Masterson at the Centre for Faith and Culture down in Atlanta talking about Madonna and Self-Worth among other things. Great stuff.

4. In TV: The first “trailer” for the final season of Friday Night Lights is up and it’s ridiculously vague (Where’s Tim?!), giving us even less to go on than those confounding “next on Mad Men…” shorts.  In comedy, Community continues its impressive upward slope, getting wackier every episode while retaining its surprisingly off-kilter wisdom. Word is still out on Running Wilde, and although Andy Bernard is enough to guarantee that there’s some life left in The Office, Modern Family still reigns supreme as the funniest show on network TV (though their “God episode” this past week didn’t even touch what Community did in theirs, which had a brilliant riff on idolatry and self-worship). Also, having Parks and Recreation postponed because of Outsourced is borderline criminal. In the drama department, Boardwalk Empire has a lot of potential but has yet to follow through on its amazing pilot, and dare I say Mad Men may be enjoying its best season yet?! Meanwhile, though I remain optimistic, the new season of Parenthood aka “Judgment and Love: The TV Show” has started off a bit so-so. What are you watching?

5. Some prime Onion:

Happy Columbus Day! Celebrate by registering for the Pensacola Mini-Conference! Also, not to fear: PZ’s Podcast returns next week.