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Thursday, December 2, 2004

Meet your fellow Philocritics, part 6.

Thanks to all the new links in November! Blogs that have added Philocrites to their blogroll in the past month include: Arbitrary Marks (short for "language games and miscellaneous arbitary marks," a Wittgenstein-inspired blog by CK in St Louis), Father Jake Stops the World ("the musings of an eccentric and sometimes heretical Episcopal priest"), Fundamillenium ("Welcome to the age of suck," says this despondent Utah UU — believe me, I know that feeling — but the copy editor in me asks, "Shouldn't there be another n?"), The Juggler (a pagan group blog), The Limited Modified Hangout (by Paul Deadman), Mere Sketches (featuring progressive politics and Torah study), Reading, Writing, and Ranting (by the blogger formerly known to me as "Spiritual Woman"), Where Left Is Right ("Catching liberals in the act of doing things right"), and Shadow of Diogenes (who dislikes cheese, France, and Michael Moore, among many other things). Thanks to each of you! I'm astonished.

Our Thanksgiving poll revealed that about two-thirds of all Philocritics agree with Mrs Philocrites. That's right: She prefers Sunny Philo to City Philo, too. (Did she pay you all to vote with her? Just asking.) The picture will soon appear on the front page until someone with a digital camera makes me look cooler.

Now for our next quiz:

I can't help myself: I'm loving the new U2 album and remembering how much a part of my life the band's music has been ever since I borrowed my friend Doug's tape of "The Joshua Tree" back in the tenth grade. I spent my high school graduation night watching a videotape of "Rattle and Hum" over and over and over with a group of friends. Later, at the University of Utah, I watched it again one day in the A/V lab to ride through the emotion of a new crush. The only pop album I purchased in four years of divinity school was "Pop." (I saw U2 perform live during the Pop-Mart Tour with a handful of Div School friends.) And I was delighted that the church youth group I advised for three years in the late 1990s always wanted music from "The Joshua Tree" when they led a worship service for the congregation. Somehow, that was just part of the tradition to them. I agreed.

So the poll asks when U2 became part of your spiritual life. I'm only half-kidding. Maybe you're just a fan. But perhaps you've pondered the religious dimension to their music because it seemed addressed to your soul. (On "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," the song "All Because of You" is just about the best praise song ever. That song starts and I'm lost in halleluias.)

If you — like me — were introduced to U2 midway into their career but then worked your way backward and found a lot to love in their earlier works, don't be ashamed — but do answer based on the album whose music first hooked you. In the comments, tell a story about your favorite song or album; bonus points for religious or quasi-religious connections!

Those of you who, for whatever mysterious reasons, find this poll outside your frame of reference, please feel free to discuss the pop music that has worked its way into your religious life.

Oh, yes: The traffic report. November was the site's busiest month. Searches for "Christians for Kerry" brought almost 1,300 visitors to the site. (I think we'd be living in a different political culture if some of those searches had been prompted several months earlier.) All told, there were 7,913 unique visitors and 19,028 visits in November. (Curiously, there were exactly 1,147 visits on November 1 and 1,147 visits on November 2.) The site's syndication feature (which allows digests like Bloglines or Kinja to pick up headlines from multiple blogs) was accessed almost 10,000 times last month — a little less than half of the site's traffic, in fact. All this is amazing. Thank you, everyone!

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 2 December 2004 at 8:27 PM

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Next: UU blogger in Iraq.





December 3, 2004 09:42 AM | Permalink for this comment

I was a freshman in high school when "Achtung Baby" came out. Immediately became a favorite of my UU youth group. (Nirvana's "Nevermind" and Pearl Jam's "Ten" were released days earlier - what a time for music.)

Probably the most spiritually/emotionally significant U2 song for me, before I went back and explored their earlier recordings, had to be "One". Nothing like a group of Unitarian teens singing around singing "One" with all the quasi-unitarian theological significance that was probably lost on us at the time. The Trinitarians were definitely not singing "Three."


December 3, 2004 09:45 AM | Permalink for this comment

ps. I also first saw U2 during the Pop-Mart tour at Foxborough Stadium.


December 3, 2004 10:00 AM | Permalink for this comment

I feel guilty about not liking U2. On the one hand, being a fan of theirs is a sort of political/social statement that I'd like to make. On the other hand, everyone who shares my musical tastes is into U2, so it feels like there's something wrong with me -- I'm apparently the only person in the world who can manage to love REM but hate U2. Unfortunately, I just can't stand their music.


December 3, 2004 02:04 PM | Permalink for this comment

Don't worry, Stentor: Mrs Philocrites doesn't really like U2 either. My REM fandom is much more limited — "Life's Rich Pageant," "Document," and "Automatic for the People" are the only albums I ever listen to anymore — but Mrs P is holding out for my eventual conversion to the joys of Belle & Sebastien. I've tried, but they're just too charming.


December 3, 2004 07:10 PM | Permalink for this comment

I'm with Stentor. Although really I haven't heard much I liked from REM or U2 since maybe "Document" and "Rattle and Hum".


December 4, 2004 05:19 PM | Permalink for this comment

A note on the new blog links: The missing "n" has been found! Visit Fundamillennium!


December 4, 2004 05:45 PM | Permalink for this comment

jfieldnerd: I like both REM's early period (up through Document) as well as their middle period, but I think their last decent album was New Adventures in Hi Fi -- their new phase just doesn't do it for me.

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