Tuesday, January 07, 2014

a linkathon with a theme or two

Bill Cosby used to have this cartoon in which he'd mention he'd be coming at you with music and fun and if you weren't careful you might learn something before you're done.  And so one of the themes is allusively introduced but won't be talked about for a bit.  We'll just jump straight through to the other.

HT Jim West: Fred Clark writes about John Howard Yoder's abuse of women

Teddy Roosevelt as advocate of eugenics.

Over at The New Criterion (no surprise) there's some discussion about the seediness that has burgeoned behind the mythology of Kennedys and Camelot and the potency of the mythology itself.

Alastair Roberts has linked this little piece about the dark side of emotional intelligence

Warren Throckmorton has a post up called Dreamweaver: The Visions of Mark Driscoll.  Some of the research documented here at Wenatchee The Hatchet is alluded to and Throckmorton mentions two variants of a single story as related by Mark Driscoll about an Asian man from Canada. Who that was would be interesting to learn.  Perhaps the man can comment at Throckmorton's blog or clarify who he is.  After all, if it's all legit and checks out the confirmation it would be for Driscoll's claims of supernatural abilities would be, well, restricted to a single case that might be explicable by intuitive cold reading ... ?

It looks like the Mozart effect is not so effective after all. I'd rather kids listened to Haydn than Mozart, personally, but that's a matter of personal taste.

In other reading, David Dobbs wrote a piece about the problem of the meme of the selfish gene. The essay is fairly readable for a lay level and opens with a fascinating introduction that discusses how the difference between a grasshopper and a locust is not so much in the genetic difference between the two (as in there isn't one in sheer genes) but in genetic expression in the genome (if memory serves, correct if mistaken).  Dobbs lays out a case that the role of the individual gene is overplayed in relation to genomics and that to say that how an organism comes across is in the DNA can be overstated.  Gene expression can change things.

Seeing as Wenatchee The Hatchet is a blog that's written by a moderately conservative evangelical Protestant ... let's play a game here.  Here and there are bloggers and writers who have attempted to boil down this or that pattern irreducibly to a set of dogmas and ideals.  It's particularly popular among some quarters to declare that Calvinism is an austere and unforgiving tradition or to say that "Calvinism fails the love test."  In other settings some have said that certain abusive tendencies are indicative of the DNA of the founding, the DNA, if you will, being the basic theological core of a particular movement or school of thought or church.

Well ... this may be risky and simplistic.  It's not like I haven't said for years that you can't reduce potential problems in Mark Driscoll's approach to Calvinism because he wasn't even always a Calvinist, particularly early on.  It's also not necessarily possible to reduce his problems to charismatic ideals or practices because if you were to set foot in a Mars Hill Church service you'd probably never hear anyone speak in tongues or have some word of the sort you'd almost inevitably hear in a Pentecostal or charismatic setting.  Yet Driscoll has talked about dreams and interpreting dreams and seeing sexual molestations in real time even though, somehow, he's claimed to not talk about this stuff.  We'll have to assume that was a rhetorical flourish to say he doesn't USUALLY talk about such things as he did in the spiritual warfare lecture from 2008 that Throckmorton's recently begun to discuss. 

Well, let's pretend for a moment that Calvinists and Reformed traditions just yield nasty ol' people who hate and aren't neighborly.  Well, uh, what about Fred Rogers?  You know, that Presbyterian TV show host of that childrens' program?  What if there's an application of the limitations of the DNA/gene meme that works out at multiple levels.  Gene expression may be something we must also account for, so to speak, in less directly hard-science domains.  There can be prejudices for and against ideas and streams of human thought and activity that are based on conceptions of a thing that are too simplistic.

Which leads inevitably (at least at Wenatchee The Hatchet) to ...

Shinichrio Watanabe (creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) is tackling another show

If you're a long-time reader of this blog then you'll know how much has been written here and there about cartoons.  Maybe you saw a post about the show Eureka Seven as an anime exploring child abuse through the set-up of the action/adventure genre.  Or maybe you saw that essay on different communal grounds for individual identity in the film Ratatouille.  Or in some other setting maybe you read about Toy Story as a trilogy of heroic repentance, or maybe you even read all of Batman: The Agony of Loss and the Madness of Desire.  Or not.  Point is, that animated narrative can be treated as seriously as an art form as live action is anything but controversial here at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  There are more essays about Justice League to eventually be written.  The Wind Rises will be seen by Wenatchee The Hatchet.  In the last month or so Avatar: The Last Airbender has finally been seen in its entirety. There's a fascinating episode of South Park about a hobbit that would be worth a blog post all by itself and a few links to some intriguing reading from 2013 that never took shape in the form of a post.

There's more that could be written but it's not a sure thing it will be written.  This is just to give you some idea of a small fraction of the reading that's been going on in the last month.

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