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Posts tagged "Self-Justification"


May My Virtue Signals Be Transformed Into Love

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, […]

Scrubbing the Guilt Away: Ramy and the Scales of Righteousness

“Religion can be kind of crazy,” comedian and actor Ramy Yousseff quipped during his monologue on the Colbert report back in 2017. Two and a half years later, the Egyptian American’s one-liner has found fertile soil in his self-titled Hulu original series, Ramy, where Yousseff plays a not-so-fictionalized character of himself navigating career, family, relationships, […]

The Evil Person I Become on a Bike

This one was written by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson. Yes, that’s me: mild-mannered theologian by foot, hate-spewing demon by bike. Note that when I say “bike,” I don’t mean a souped-up chopper bearing a Hell’s Angel in well-worn leather and a half-drunk can of Schlitz. I mean a dorky, human-powered eight-speed that I can’t even make […]

Right: An Unspoken Sermon

This one comes to us from Alan Jacobs. Anthony Trollope’s novel He Knew He Was Right is, like Shakespeare’s Othello, a story of jealousy. But not really. Its true subject is something far worse, and far more common, than jealousy. And if we understand the real point of the story, we’ll understand something about Christian […]

It’s Funny Because It’s True: Death, Resurrection, and Aziz Ansari

It’s been said before that standup comedians are the revered preachers of our day. They’re the ones who tell it like it is, who speak with authority; the ones who aren’t afraid to call us out for our collective wrongs, but who do so with such wit and humor that they somehow cut through our […]

From The Atlantic: Are McMansions Making People Any Happier?

Apple’s magazine and news service, Apple News+, served me up another parable of the little-L law from the Atlantic last week as I perused my News app. It’s a classic, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses type report about how we Americans are building bigger homes than everand yet our happiness tends to be inversely proportionate to the square footage of our new real estate. As usual, the dynamics of comparison, judgment, and self-salvation (AKA self-justification) are at play. A couple of takeaway quotes (emphasis mine):

To be clear, having more space does generally lead to people saying they’re more pleased with their home. The problem is that the satisfaction often doesn’t last if even bigger homes pop up nearby. “If I bought a house to feel like I’m ‘the king of my neighborhood,’ but a new king arises, it makes me feel very bad about my house,” Bellet wrote to me in an email. […]

Bellet sketches out an unfulfilling cycle of one-upmanship, in which the owners of the biggest homes are most satisfied if their home remains among the biggest, and those who rank right below them grow less satisfied as their dwelling looks ever more measly by comparison.

Ashley Horner is More Impressive Than You

Ashley Horner plans to complete 50 Ironman-distance triathlons (a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run) in the 48 contiguous United States (and Haiti) … in 50 days. Her story is detailed in this piece for ESPNw by Kelaine Conochan. She’s a “fitness celebrity” but has never completed an Ironman-distance triathlon in her life. Excuse me? Ma’am? […]

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 […]

When Joan Didion Cries into a Food Fair Bag

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I found myself infatuated with the likes of Joan Didion. Along with her recent Netflix documentary and her brief epigraph in Lady Bird, her recently resurfaced essay “On Self-Respect” was nothing short of a pleasant surprise (ht JR). Originally commissioned as a last-minute addition to a […]

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 […]

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. […]

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, […]