Saturday, April 18, 2015

some more links for the weekend

Do smart people worry more?  Here's an old rumination on that.
Ecclesiastes 1:18
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

To keep the weekend on a scholastic note and stay briefly with Slate, turns out adjunct faculty can end up on assisted living programs.

I.e. your prof may be on food stamps while you're flipping burgers at a local fast food chain.  The libertarians may be wondering how any of this adds up to future economic prosperity for anybody.

In other realms, David Frum over at The Atlantic took issue with Garry Trudeau's proposal that satirists and journalists should "punch up" rather than "punch down" and that by extension, well, basically it looked to Frum like Trudeau was kinda saying the people killed over at Charlie Hebdo had been "pnnching down" on people who are part of marginalized minority groups.  Frum's objection to this approach is that we know in historical terms those who were on the down and out in one millennia can end up running everything in another.  Frum sums it up at one point this way:

On first reading, then, Trudeau is presenting us with a clear and executable moral theory:
1. Identify the bearer of privilege.
2. Hold the privilege-bearer responsible.
Trudeau famously put this theory into practice in his December 29, 2014 comic strip on Rolling Stone’s notorious coverage of the University of Virginia rape case. The strip—which accepted Rolling Stone’s inflammatory allegations as true—was published more than three weeks after Rolling Stone itself admitted that the story could not be supported. Trudeau’s editors explained that the timeline of publishing cartoons did not allow the strip to be corrected in light of the facts. Trudeau himself, however, offered a more robust defense. The facts of the case did not matter. What mattered was … exposing privilege:

In other words, Trudeau's satire doesn't have to be retracted because he wasn't making a point that depended in any way on whether or not Jackie was telling Rolling Stone the truth. 

Frum went on to point out that for people in Confederate states they saw themselves as the underdogs dealing with the unfair elements of Reconstruction and that this merited the kinds of reactions that came up in response to that.  Or, as Roy Baumeister pointed out in a section dealing with the dynamics of domestic violence, abusers tend to themselves as the victims of emotional and verbal and social aggression and resort to physical responses to, in their understanding, level the playing field.  We live in a world in which anyone who we think we're "punching up" to is going to feel like they're being "punched down" on. 

We live in the age in which there can be a thing as the haterbrag, for instance (something that gets noted over at Mockingbird this week):
... Weiner is a master of what I’ve taken to calling the haterbrag. Think of it as the humblebrag’s evil (but funner) stepsister, a bit of social media sleight-of-hand that turns an insult into an asset. When Weiner cast the “Weiner-ish” line out to her followers, she jiu-jitsued his scorn, presenting herself not as the victim of a withering putdown by the great American novelist of our era, but as the accessible everywoman who stands in opposition to a stuffy highbrow jerk. She’s not the only one who’s learned to manipulate a foil for fun and profit. Heather Armstrong, who writes funny, no-holds-barred dispatches about her family life on her blog Dooce, has distilled a decade of rude comments into her short, sweet Twitter bio: “I exploit my children for millions and millions and dollars on my mommyblog.” Bloomberg Politics reporter Dave Weigel takes the most foolish comments aired about him on Twitter and retweets them to his own audience of 150,000. A popular Jimmy Kimmel Live segment invites celebrities to read mean tweets about themselves on the air; somehow, the exercise always manages to confirm the hater’s insignificance and accentuate the celebrity’s easygoing cool.

For regulars reading Wenatchee The Hatchet you may have noticed that a narrative rolled out this year about Mark Driscoll is how times have been tough for him and the media and bloggers just would not let him be.  William Vanderbloemen seems to have gone so far as to have talked about "death by a thousand cuts" or a resignation in the face of a steady stream of criticism from popular bloggers.  But during Mark Driscoll's actual tenure as lead preaching and vision pastor at Mars Hill the best he could muster up with respect to bloggers (while, ironically, being one himself) tended to be breezy, dismissive contempt.  The notion that mere bloggers somehow ascended to some position of being able to "punch down" with respect to Driscoll is something that could only happen in the imaginations of the man's more devoted fans. 

Two years ago Rachel Held Evans was on about Driscoll and now it seems to be her turn to get puff piece coverage

Thanks to star-making as usual, it seems, Rachel Held Evans gets to pick up at a stage Mark Driscoll long ago left of.  To go by the continued use of the phrase "Pastor Mark" by select individuals and the promise of forthcoming content it would appear that even though Mark Driscoll voluntarily resigned from being any kind of pastor to anyone he's planning on some kind of return to the public sphere. 

In the age of the pastorpreneur we witnessed the passing of Robert Schuller and so doing witnessed an age in which the entrepreneurially motivated pastor can spend a lifetime laboring to develop a legacy that can't even live as long as he did in institutional/movement terms.

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