Philocrites : Scrapbook : April 2007 Archive

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Brand ghetto

Quoted 04.25.07:

Ghettonation"Ghetto is no longer where you live — it's how you live," [Cora Daniels] explains during an interview. "It's a mindset that embraces and celebrates the worst. . . . Behavior that shouldn't be acceptable has become acceptable and commonplace." . . .

Lately cultural critics have blamed hip-hop culture for the dominance of these negative stereotypes. But doing so, some academics say, fails to take into account the role of hip-hop consumers — predominantly white, suburban teenagers — and media conglomerates that capitalize on fetishizing it.

Vanessa E. Jones, Boston Globe 4.25.07; buy Ghettonation: A Journey Into the Land of Bling and Home of the Shameless by Cora Daniels from

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cruel ambition to kill

Quoted 04.19.07:

Not that gun control isn't a worthy issue, but 32 innocents didn't die only because there are too many guns in the world; they died because Cho decided to kill them. And if the cause wasn't too many guns, then there were plenty of other influences — and plenty of other sources for reporters to harangue: the violence-in-media people, the psychoanalysts, the criminal profilers, and the pharmaceutical companies (Cho was taking an antidepressant). But these are just aspects of this melancholy crisis; they're quite different than the cruel ambition to kill. It is that wicked impulse we should be trying to figure out.

Sacha Zimmerman, TNR Online 4.19.07

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Postal increase will hit smaller publishers at up to 25 percent

Quoted 04.18.07:

[M]agazine publishers are facing whopping [postal] rate increases, at an average of 11.7 percent. But for many publishers, those rate hikes could balloon to a staggering 25 percent increase. Though this has been talked about for years, this really could be the final straw that breaks the camel's back for some publishers. . . .

"They're offering most of the discounts to very large circulation publications that have enough volume to sort to a minute level," said Willis. "That's just not the volume on 99 percent of publications in the periodicals class. It's excluding the majority of them from having a realistic opportunity to gain efficiency to participate in efficient programs."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hippy mom left him with Tibetan monks at age 6

Quoted 04.17.07:

Comes the PeaceWhen he was 6 years old, [Daja Wangchuk] Meston's American mother arranged for him to be ordained as a monk in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery monk in Nepal. Confused and unhappy, he left the monastery at age 16, knowing rudimentary English, and eventually made his way alone to the United States. He ended up in Boston, and only gradually unraveled the mystery of his origins.

Today, Meston and his Tibetan-born wife, Phuni, own a small import shop, called Karma, in Newton Centre. Now he has told his story, without any bitterness, in a new book "Comes the Peace: My Journey to Forgiveness."

David Mehegan, Boston Globe 4.17.07, reg req'd; buy Comes the Peace: My Journey to Forgiveness by Daja Wangchuk Meston and Clare Ansberry (Amazon)

Rowan Williams agrees to meet with US Episcopal bishops

Quoted 04.17.07:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, announced April 16 that he intends to visit the United States this autumn in response to the invitation from the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Speaking in a news conference in Toronto, Williams said he would make the visit together with members of the Standing Committee of the Primates, of which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is a member, and the Anglican Consultative Council. . . .

Williams said the meeting will take place during the House of Bishops' previously scheduled fall gathering in New Orleans September 20-25.

Mary Frances Schjonberg and Solange de Santis, Episcopal News Service 4.16.07; more

Monday, April 16, 2007

In decline, Jesuits will close gay Boston church

Quoted 04.16.07:

The Jesuit Urban Center, a predominantly gay Catholic congregation in Boston's South End, will close at the end of July, and the landmark church in which services are held will be put up for sale, the Jesuit religious order announced yesterday.

The Rev. Thomas J. Regan, the superior of the New England Jesuits, said in an interview that the rationale for the closing is purely financial. He said that the order, long associated with education, has become financially reliant on the salaries paid to priests who teach at Boston College, the College of the Holy Cross, and Fairfield University — all Jesuit schools — but that as many of those priests retire or die, the order is being forced to cut back on its activities.

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 4.16.07, reg req'd

Evangelical Gordon College welcomes SoulForce riders

Quoted 04.16.07:

Breaking with many fellow conservative Christian schools, Gordon College in Wenham will welcome to campus this week a busload of young adults who are sharply critical of the school's policies on homosexuality.

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 4.16.07, reg req'd

Sunday, April 15, 2007

End of progressive taxation for the rich

Quoted 04.15.07:

In 1960, adding together all taxes, Americans from the 95th to the 99th percentile paid 24 percent of their earnings in taxes. From there, though, rates soared: those in the top 0.01 percent paid fully 71 percent.

Today, from the 95th percentile on up, the total tax burden in America rises gently from 28 percent to 35 percent. For the top 1 percent, the authors write, "the current federal tax system is relatively close to a flat-tax rate" — a historically remarkable development. . . .

From the 40th percentile to the 60th, taxes have risen only a bit since 1960: from 15.9 percent to 16.1 percent. But from the 60th percentile to the 80th, they've climbed from 16.7 percent to 20.5 percent.

Christopher Shea, Boston Globe 4.15.07, reg req'd

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Benedict XVI vs. Cardinal Ratzinger?

Quoted 04.12.07:

Benedict may be right that the Catholic Church has a world-historic chance to transform Europe and bring about change. But the church's own strictures could work against that. The paradox may be that for all his stylistic softening as pope, Joseph Ratzinger's own labors through the decades, applying his life experience with such rigor to protecting and preserving the church, are precisely what prevent Europeans from reconnecting with their roots. "Think of the silencing of theologians in recent decades," said Father Reese, the former editor of the Jesuit journal America. "The suppression of discussion and debate. How certain issues become litmus tests for orthodoxy and loyalty. All of these make it very difficult to do the very thing Benedict wants. I wish him well. I want him to succeed. But it seems everything he has done in the past makes it much more difficult to do it."

Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine 4.8.07, reg req'd

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

College freshmen richer than ever; education gap widens

Quoted 04.10.07:

US college freshmen are wealthier than at any point in the past 35 years, and the income gap is widening between their families and the rest of the nation, a study shows.

This academic year's entering class came from families with income 60 percent greater than the national median, as tuition increases shut out lower-income students, the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a report yesterday. The gap was 46 percent in 1971, according to the study of more than 8 million students compiled over 40 years.

James M. O'Neill (Bloomberg), Boston Globe 4.10.07, reg req'd

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pat Robertson's 4th-rate law school staffs Justice Dept

Quoted 04.08.07:

Regent University School of Law, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson to provide "Christian leadership to change the world," has worked hard in its two-decade history to upgrade its reputation, fighting past years when a majority of its graduates couldn't pass the bar exam and leading up to recent victories over Ivy League teams in national law student competitions.

But even in its darker days, Regent has had no better friend than the Bush administration. Graduates of the law school have been among the most influential of the more than 150 Regent University alumni hired to federal government positions since President Bush took office in 2001, according to a university website.

One of those graduates is Monica Goodling, the former top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who is at the center of the storm over the firing of US attorneys.

Charlie Savage, Boston Globe 4.8.07, reg req'd; see also Regent's Christian bureaucrats (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate 4.7.07); plus: Mitt Romney is Regent's commencement speaker (Virginian-Pilot 3.2.07)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

'Into Great Silence' transforms cinema into a monastery

Quoted 04.04.07:

I always wanted to do this film because only cinema completely controls the time of the audience, no other medium can do that. It is the medium that comes closest to what religious rituals are. So I had the confidence even in 1984, although no camera in the world could have filmed at night then, that you can transform cinema into a monastery. Because all religion, by structuring time, can open up spaces in the viewer or in the participant. And this is exactly what you can do in a cinema. If you dare to do it, if you throw away all the additional construction and the supposedly helpful things like "follow one person." It's not about following another person. Then you don't think about yourself. It's just a waste of time.

Philip Gröning, interviewed by Angelo Zito, The Revealer 2.27.07; reviews

Monday, April 2, 2007

How Holy Week's texts root Christian anti-Semitism

Quoted 04.02.07:

Indeed, even beyond the way the Gospels portray the death of Jesus, their entire dramatic form consists in setting Jesus against his own people. "He came to his own home," the Gospel of John says in its very first chapter, "and his own people received him not." If the story that the Gospels tell is true to history, it is hard to see how Christians can let go of their essentially denigrating attitude toward Jewish religion, and, at least implicitly, toward Jewish people. The "Christ killer" charge remains embedded in texts that will be read in churches all around the globe this week.

That is why it is urgent that Christians revise their relationship to these texts, and their understandings of how — and when — they came to be written.

James Carroll, op-ed, Boston Globe 4.2.07, reg req'd

Easter doesn't hold a candle to Passover

Quoted 04.02.07:

[T]he ideas of Passover are easier to identify with in free, liberal, pluralistic America. The values of freedom, redemption, emancipation—the story about the slaved individuals who become a people—are all humanistic in nature. You don't have to be Jewish to celebrate those and understand their meaning. Easter, as significant as it might be for a Christian who believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death, can't overshadow the universal appeal of "let my people go."

Shmuel Rosner, Slate 4.2.07