The AV Club has a great primer on the music of Elvis Presley, presumably in honor of the anniversary of his death this week.
You may wonder why arguably the most famous pop/rock star in history needs an introduction, but the article hits the nail on the head, I think:
While Presley’s fame continues unabated, his musical legacy is a different story. Presley’s many hits still get played on the radio every single day, but actually hearing those songs for what they are requires unpacking a lot of baggage and addressing many of the same prejudices that haunted Elvis’ career back when he was alive.
It goes on to identify the recordings from the different phases of Elvis’s career that merit revisiting. I wholeheartedly endorse this top 5 list of essential Elivs:
2. Suspicious Minds: The Memphis 1969 Anthology
3. Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old)
4. Elvis 56
5. Memories: The ’68 Comeback Special
I’d include as an honorable mention Ultimate Gospel. I also have a soft spot for Aloha from Hawaii
What makes “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” interesting, to the extent that something that’s so fundamentally idiotic and soul-deadening can also be “interesting,” is what you might call its aesthetic and ontological ambivalence.
From Andrew O’Hehir’s review at Salon.
–Marvin on the Presbyterian Church’s decision to allow congregations to call non-celibate gay and lesbian pastors.
–Libraries are part of the social safety net.
–“I hated vegans too, but now I am one.”
–On anti-Semites and philo-Semites.
–Mark Bittman asks, “Why bother with meat?”
–Jesus and eco-theology.
–Jeremy discusses Herbert McCabe and Gerhard Forde on the Atonement.
–Your commute is killing you.
–Rowan Williams’ Ascension Day sermon: “The friends of Jesus are called … to offer themselves as signs of God in the world.”
–Grist’s “great places” series continues with two posts on the industrial food system and its alternatives.
–Keith Ward on his recent book More than Matter?
–Russell Arben Fox on the Left in America.
–The Cheers challenge. My wife and I have already been rewatching the entire series. We’re on season 6 now, which replaces Shelley Long’s Diane with Kirstie Alley’s Rebecca. It’s one of my all-time favorite shows, although the earlier seasons are probably the best ones.
–Ozzy’s first two solo albums, which are generally considered classics, have gotten the deluxe reissue treatment. Here’s a review.
–Ta-Nehisi Coates on Moby-Dick.
–Amy-Jill Levine: “A Critique of Recent Christian Statements on Israel”
–From Jeremy at Don’t Be Hasty: Why the church can’t take the place of the welfare state.
–A discussion of “summer spirituality” with Fr. James Martin, S.J., author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.
–A review of Keith Ward’s recent book More than Matter?
—Lady Gaga: “Iron Maiden changed my life.”
–Grist’s David Roberts has been writing a series on “great places” as a reorienting focus for progressive politics: see the first installments here, here, and here. Also see this reflection from Ned Resnikoff.
–Four different demo versions of Metallica’s early tune “Hit the Lights” (with some, ahem, interesting vocal experimentation by a young James Hetfield).
–Ludwig von Mises versus Christianity.
–20-plus years of Willie Nelson’s political endorsements.
–The media has stopped covering the unemployement crisis.
–The Stockholm Syndrome theory of long novels.
–An interview with Edward Glaeser, author of Triumph of the City.
–Why universal salvation is an evangelical option.
–A debate over Intelligent Design ensares an academic journal of philosophy.
–Goodbye birtherism, hello “otherism“?
–Chain restaurants try to adapt to the classic-cocktail renaissance.
–Everything you need to know about the apocalypse.
–A challenge to libertarians on the coecivene power of private entities.
–A.O. Scott on superhero movies as a Ponzi scheme.
–Richard Beck of Experimental Theology on why he blogs.
–A political typology quiz from the Pew Research Center. (I scored as a “solid libera.l” Although I’d take issue with the way some of the choices were presented.)
–An end to “bad guys.”
–Def Leppard’s Hysteria and the changing meaning of having a “number 1” album.
–The folks at the Moral Mindfield have been blogging on the ethical implications of killing bin Laden, from a variety of perspectives.
–Ta-Nehisi Coates on Abraham Lincoln and slavery.
–Marvin had a good post earlier this week on the death of bin Laden and Christian pacifism.
–Christopher has a post on problems with the language of “inclusion” and “exclusion” in the church.
–I don’t always agree with Glenn Greenwald, but I’m glad he’s out there asking the questions he asks. He’s been blogging up a storm this week on the circumstances surrounding bin Laden’s death.
–Brandon has a concise summary of the history behind Cinco de Mayo.
ADDED LATER: How do you feed 10 billion people? By eating less meat for starters.
–On Christianity, the Holocaust, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
–Recent posts on what’s apparently now being referred to as the “new universalism” from James K.A. Smith, Halden Doerge, and David Congdon.
–Does having a monarchy lead to greater equality?
–Redeeming the “L word.”
–Appreciating both N.T. Wright’s and Marcus Borg’s views of the Resurrection.
–Why liberals should embrace classical (small-r) republicanism.
–Love and service are more fundamental than “rigorous theology.”
–Was the Civil War a “tragedy“? (More here and here.)
–Hiding the truth about factory farms.
–Kate Middleton for the win.
ADDED LATER: What’s going on with the Canadian election?
—What Makes Life Good? An excerpt from Martha Nussbaum’s new book.
–Johann Hari makes the case against the British monarchy.
–How progressive are taxes in the U.S.?
–Ten teachings on Judaism and the environment.
–Marilyn of Left At the Altar reviews Laura Hobgood-Oster’s The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals.
–A very interesting New Yorker article on the love-hate relationship between fantasy author George R.R. Martin and some of his fans.
–The fantasy of survivalism.
–Intellectual disability and theological anthropology.
–Do we need “Passion/Palm Sunday?” Seems like this comes up every year, and I’m not sure there’s a good solution.
–Mark Bittman on the cost of “lifestyle” diseases.
ADDED LATER: On Dutch efforts to ban traditional Jewish and Islamic practices of animal slaughter.
ADDED EVEN LATER: The spiritual benefits of headbanging, riffing (pun intended) on this Atlantic piece: How Heavy Metal Is Keeping Us Sane. (Thanks, bls!)
ONE MORE: It sounds like the movie version of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is every bit as bad as you’d expect.
I spent the day hanging out with my family, so these are coming a little late…
–Why Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is neither brave nor serious.
–Free-range meat isn’t necessarily “natural.”
–A case for universalism from the Scottish evangelical preacher and biblical scholar William Barclay.
–A review of a recent book called What’s the Least I can Believe and Still Be a Christian?
–The WaPo reviews a local prog-metal band called Iris Divine (here’s their MySpace page).
–Do Americans love war?
–Speaking of war, April 12 marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter and the onset of the Civil War. I’m thinking of marking the anniversary by finally tackling James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom this spring.
–As I write this, it looks like the two parties are getting close to a budget agreement that will avert a government shutdown. But I still wanted to note that a shutdown would have a major impact on the District itself, shutting down a number of basic city services. This is something that hasn’t gotten much attention.
–The AV Club continues its feature “Loud”–a monthly review of the latest in punk, hardcore, metal, and noise.
–John Cohn at The New Republic on the end of “compassionate conservatism.”
–Should life be more like a game?
— The rise of white identity politics in DC?
–From Book Forum, a collection of links on how we treat animals. (I guess that makes this a meta-link?)
–How Pearl Jam went from being the biggest rock band in the world to a niche act.
–The Thomas Paine-John Adams debate about economic equality in the early American republic.
–I’m not sure the Ramones were the best candidate for an AV Club “Gateways to Geekery” feature. What band could be easier to get into? Just start listening with the first album–it pretty much establishes the template for everything else.
–Joe Klein is shrill.
–More on the flap over Elizabeth Johnson’s book from Daniel Horan, OFM, here and here.