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Monthly archive June, 2011


The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter, Part 4: The Pensieve

“We solemnly swear that we are up to no good!” As the Potter series continues, we take a look into the Pensieve–which will play a large role in the final film–the magical basin of memory’s stains and understandings. To read this series’ earlier entries, look no further than here, here and here. Dumbledore got to […]

Scientific Bias and the Mismeasure of Stephen Jay Gould

Jonah Lehrer continued his assault on inflated anthropology – our term for overly optimistic understandings of human nature – in The Wall Street Journal last week, with an excellent little article on scientific bias, “When We See What We Want.” He takes Stephen Jay Gould’s landmark 1981 repudiation proto-Eugenicist Samuel Morton, and “craniometry” in general, […]

Hannah Arendt on St Paul’s Conception of the Will (and Counter-Will)

The first of several quotes we’ll be reproducing from the seminal philosopher’s chapter “The Apostle Paul and the impotence of the Will” in the second volume of The Life of the Mind: The Will, split and automatically producing its own counter-will, is in need of being healed, of becoming one again. Like thinking, willing has […]

From Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey

“But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a […]

From The Onion: Young Billionaire’s Age Not Reported For Sake of Nation’s Ego

NEW YORK—Major media outlets confirmed Friday their agreement to omit young billionaire Terry Gibson’s age from all news reports as part of an effort to protect the fragile egos of Americans and prevent national morale from sinking to an all-time low. “With the economy lagging and millions of Americans still out of work, the last […]

The (Forensic) Justification of Michael Jackson

This past Saturday marked the second anniversary of Michael Jackon’s death, and we wouldn’t be the Mockingbirds that we are if we didn’t commemorate it somehow. Below you’ll find an excerpt of our friend Brent Kuhlman’s excellent paper “Justification: Forensically Speaking!” Pastor Kuhlman would be the first to admit that some of the inspiration for […]

Lessons From an Atheist in Freefall (and his Farting Dog)

There’s nothing business-as-usual about Mark Salzman’s multimedia piece at the New York Public Library, “An Atheist in Freefall,” at least according to Beatrice Marovich’s highly intriguing review in Religion Dispatches. Coming from a long line of nonbelievers, Salzman found the more overtly humanistic elements to be overwhelming and crisis-inducing – after all, who wants that […]

From The New Yorker

Is Sex Addiction For Real?

NPR ran a fascinating feature yesterday about the new book by neuroscientist David Linden, The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good. With sex addiction all over the news these days, the book is a timely look at the purported difference between […]

Dark Star Rising: Suede Sing the Second Coming (from India)

You might say that rock songs with messianic imagery are a dime a dozen – and you wouldn’t be wrong. Salvation language befits rock n roll; mixing a few religious metaphors into an otherwise mundane love song can give it a majesty it wouldn’t otherwise have. Just ask Martin Gore or Bruce Springsteen. Whether or […]

American Individualism and the Slow Death of Rational Choice Philosophy

Maybe you saw John McCumber’s excellent look at The Failure of Rational Choice Philosophy in the Times’ Stone column a few weeks back. Don’t be put off by the academic tone – this is concrete stuff and very much worth your time, especially with July 4th approaching. McCumber traces that most precious tenet of American […]

June Playlist

Don’t Let It Get You Down – Echo & The Bunnymen A Lady of a Certain Age – The Divine Comedy Time Spent in Los Angeles – Dawes We’ve Met – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Back Into Your World – Son Volt Dear Laughing Doubters – Sondre Lerche Piledriver Waltz – Alex Turner […]