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Posts tagged "Michael Jackson"

What About Michael Jackson?

In honor of the King of Pop’s 60th birthday, here’s the entire MJ chapter from A Mess of Help. I don’t remember where I was when the Berlin Wall fell. I can’t tell you what I was doing when I heard that my grandfather had died. I’m a little shaky on the details of my […]

Why I Spent Last Year Writing a Book About Pop Music

Thought I’d kick off the new year with the introduction from A Mess of Help: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N’ Roll (minus the footnotes), something of a personal essay and one which spells out a bit of the thinking behind this whole Mockingbird project. It was the kind of question that sticks with […]

Another Week Ends: Trophy Rage, Thriving, Cave Churches, Flannery’s Freedom, Cheap Trick, and Facebook Love

1. We all love The Incredibles, right? It’s as good a movie as Pixar has made, which is saying a lot (rumors of a sequel are legit!). And we all remember the rant that Bob Parr goes on in the middle of the film, when he objects to attending his son’s “graduation” from the fifth […]

Did Michael Jackson Xscape from His Own Face?

Sooner or later anyone interested in the subject of identity is going to have to reckon with Michael Jackson. You just can’t get around him, especially not this week, which brought the release of his second posthumous record, Xscape. No one has delved more deeply or compassionately into the questions of identity posed by the […]

Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

1. Next week, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene is slated to release a new book on behavioral morality, examining the everyday irrationalities and subconscious biases that Kahneman, Tversky and company have popularized over the last few decades (aside: are all titles/covers copying Malcolm Gladwell?). A common behavioral problem, the “trolley experiment”, asks people to make a hypothetical […]

You’re Just Too Good To Be True?

After his election, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously undertook a great experiment in improving humanity through the use of new laws, banning outdoor smoking, trans fats, and, most controversially, Big Gulps. Since some of us have serious doubts about any law’s ability to change human behavior, we might be more tempted to find solace […]

October Playlist

  1. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It – Stars
  2. From Here On Out – The Killers
  3. Cry for Judas – The Mountain Goats
  4. Scared – Albert Hammond Jr.
  5. If You Gotta Break Another Heart – Albert Hammond Sr.
  6. If You Change Your Mind – The Raspberries
  7. Eddie Walker – Ben Folds Five
  8. Way Back Into Love – Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett
  9. My Diane – The Beach Boys
  10. February Seven – The Avett Brothers
  11. Around Every Corner – Derek Webb
  12. The Man I Didn’t Know – Scott Weiland
  13. The Moon Is Calling – Nada Surf
  14. Ashes to Ashes – Faith No More
  15. What Deaner Was Talkin’ About – Ween
  16. Black Tears – Ian Hunter and the Rant Band
  17. Pay in Blood – Bob Dylan
  18. There Is A Valley – Bill Fay

Sorry pal, no mp3s found for your playlist.

Another Week Ends: Crimson Despair, Teacher Expectations, MJ’s Bad, Improvement Narratives, Neil Young, Neurospeculation, The Master, and Conf Update

1. An incredibly moving account of “Depression and Despair at Harvard” in response to the suicide of a classmate by Jordan Monge on The Harvard Ichthus. With real vulnerability, Monge touches on the crushing power of expectation, the vicious circle of shame and fear, the grace of defeat, even the toxic and tragic way Christians […]

Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager’s Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ’s Bad

1. We’ve given him a rest for a few months, but the break is over! David Brooks wrote an another incisive column for The NY Times this week, “The Moral Diet,” reflecting on Dan Ariely’s new book on dishonesty. Brooks isn’t afraid to cast the research in historical-religious terms; indeed, the shift in Western self-perception, […]

Another Week Ends: Zeitgeistlichkeit, Atheist Religiosity, Freakonomic Fathers, Ralph Erskine, MJ, Devo’s Paradox, Hunger Games, Deep Blue Sea, and Hoarders

1. A pair of terrific book reviews have appeared in The NY Times over the last couple weeks, the first being Generation X author Douglas Coupland‘s inspiring riff on Hari Kunzu’s opus, Gods Without Men, and the exciting new genre it epitomizes (“Translit”). Ironically enough, he makes a number of Twitter-ready observations: [We are living […]

Didn’t We Almost Have It All: Whitney Houston’s Life as Impasse

My wife and I were watching Saturday Night Live when NBC broke the news that Whitney Houston had died. Other than the time and place of her death, no other details were given. And, truthfully, we didn’t need any other details to have an inkling of what had happened. Just as with the announcement of […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Ecclesiastes Chapter Two Verses Twenty Through Twenty-Three

In light of all of tonight’s zombie-trolling, cheerleaders-from-the-dead, and bloody celebrities, a short word on the nature of identity, and the only hope we’ve got. This Monday morning’s devotional comes from one of this weekend’s speakers, David Browder: “So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my […]