Buzzfeed(!) profiles pioneering Catholic feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson. I blogged about Johnson’s book She Who Is back in 2009–see here, here, here, and here.
Nadia Bolz Weber preached a good Ash Wednesday sermon.
Rep. Paul Ryan thinks free school lunches are bad for kids’ souls. I take this a bit personally since I got free lunches when I was a kid and don’t think my soul is particularly worse off for it. You know what is bad for your spiritual and moral development? Being too poor to eat.
David Brooks wrote a great column about the evils of solitary confinement.
A wonderful essay from the New York Review of Books on the “secret life” of W. H. Auden. Apparently the great poet–who was also Christian, if a somewhat idiosyncratic one–did a lot of surreptitious charitable works, even when it made him look like a jerk in public.
The impending publication of some of his journals reignite the debate about whether philosopher Martin Heidegger was an anti-Semite.
The Democratic primary for D.C. mayor is next month, and the Washington Post has put together a helpful guide on where the candidates stand on various issues. I’m still undecided on this.
Political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. published an essay in Harper’s (not available online) about what he says (apparently; I haven’t actually read the essay) is the long decline of the American Left and its over-investment in the electoral fortunes of the Democratic Party. This garnered some push-back from various quarters (see here, here, and here, among others); Reed replied to some of these criticisms here. I’m probably less left-wing than most of the participants to this argument, but it’s hard to deny that conservatives have been more successful than the Left in recent decades in building a grass-roots movement that can drive policy changes. The GOP is far more beholden to the conservative movement than the Dems are to the Left. I don’t think, however, that investing in such a movement should prevent anyone from supporting the superior alternative (or lesser evil if you prefer) in a given election. And for left-of-center folks this will almost invariably be the Democrat.
On the situation in Ukraine, and the persistent demands that the U.S. “do something,” I found this helpful.
Music-wise, I’m still on a St. Vincent kick. Here’s a great live session from a couple of years ago.
This comes from her new album, which I’m loving.
I’ve had this song stuck in my head since I heard it playing at my local coffee shop the other day.
I think the music of STP, critically reviled as they were at the time, has aged pretty well. Particularly once they stopped trying to be a Pearl Jam clone and focused on writing catchy pop-rock.
Since it’s unlikely I’ll do much substantive blogging over the next couple of weeks, I want to wish you, dear readers, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Also, thanks to everyone who still reads this humble blog! 2013 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for my blogging, productivity-wise (or quality-wise you might add). Like a lot of people, I find myself more active on Twitter these days. But from time to time I still want a place where I can think out loud about things in more than 140 characters. Plus, we’ve had some pretty robust comment threads around here this year. ATR commenters may be few and far between, but they’re almost uniformly high quality.
I didn’t listen to a ton of new music this year, and probably listened to as much old music (old country, old jazz, old punk, lots of Elvis) as new. But there were a few 2013 releases I really liked. Here, in no particular order, are the albums I found myself returning to repeatedly.
Queens of the Stone Age, . . . Like Clockwork
Arcade Fire, Reflektor
Paramore (self-titled album)
Mazzy Star, Seasons of Your Day
Camera Obscura, Desire Lines
Wilie Nelson and Family, Let’s Face the Music and Dance
Robbie Fulks, Gone Away Backward
Shearwater, Fellow Travelers
Long-time readers may notice the absence of any heavy metal on this list. For whatever reason, 2013 was the year I almost completely lost interest in new metal. Particularly “extreme” metal. Maybe I’m getting old (maybe?), but I’ve gotten really tired of the cliched, cookie-cutter Cookie Monster vocals and the dearth of melody and effective songwriting that characterizes so much extreme metal.
This might cross the line into guilty pleasure territory, but I’ve been enjoying the heck out of this album.