Ramona's picture

    The Story: Pentecostal Snake Handler refuses help and dies. My Reaction: Surprising, even to Me

     

    For days now, since I heard about the death of Jamie Coots, the snake-handling preacher from Middlesboro, Kentucky, I've been struggling with my own thoughts about it.  There is no reason in the world why I should be involved in any of it.  I didn't know him.  I had never before heard of his church.  And I didn't know before this weekend, when I read about his death, that he had been the star of a National Geographic Channel series called "Snake Salvation".

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    An Armed Society Is a Bloody Society

    Gun-rights advocates love to quote Robert Heinlein's line that "An armed society is a polite society." Heinlein argued that in a culture where many are packing lethal weapons, people are more careful with their manners because they're afraid of being killed over a minor lapse of etiquette. Heinlein is wrong on his facts; history makes it very clear that real armed societies don't work that way. But what's really ghastly is that Heinlein and his fans imagine his fantasy as a good thing.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Gay Athletes to the Rescue

    Michael Sam's brave decision to come out as gay before the NFL draft has been exactly the story that the NFL desperately needs. 

    Ramona's picture

    Why Self-Help Almost Never Is

    Here’s the thing about self-help:  If you’re reading a book or an article about how to fix your current miserable existence, or listening to a self-described “expert” tell you and hordes of others how to fix it, it’s not even close to being self-help.

    It’s not that these folks don’t want to help you.  They do!  They really, really do!  The goal is to help you to let go and try their tactics on your own. (But not to such a degree that you won’t be buying their next book or watching their next program.)

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Work Is Not Essential To Dignity

    The notion that work is dignity sure seems convenient for those whose fortunes depend on other people's willing labor.  Or, hey, I don't want to make my own sandwich, so grab yourself some dignity and a block of swiss, my friend.

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    Ramona's picture

    Ugly Politics: When the Meme is "The President Must Die" We Have To Pay Attention

     

    At a Town Hall meeting held last week in Oklahoma, an audience member raised her hand and said to Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from the First District,  “Obama is not president as far as I’m concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant.”

    Read that again:  "Obama is not president as far as I'm concerned.  He should be executed as an enemy combatant."  (Video here.)

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Woody Allen's Movies, Career and Me

    I'd love it if we could keep discussions of, um, current events to the other thread.  This one is about the movies...

    You can condition your tastes.  I believe that.  But what I love most about art, high and low, is that it gives us an opportunity to be honest about our reactions to things without the stakes getting too high.  What I love most about comedy is that as an audience member, you can't fake it.  Watching comedy is like having sex.  You can try to be polite but if the other person is paying attention they know whether or not they got a laugh.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    J. K. Rowling Is Wrong About Her Own Books

    So, J. K. Rowling has told an interviewer (the actress Emma Watson), that she paired off the wrong characters at the end of her Harry Potter series. Instead of marrying Harry's right-hand girl Hermione off to his left-hand boy Ron, Rowling has decided that she should have married Hermione to Harry himself. So, Rowling concludes, she was wrong when she wrote the books. In fact, she's wrong now.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Yes, You Can Still Watch Woody Allen Movies and Ignore Nick Kristof

    Nick Kristof is, by his own admission, friends with Mia and Ronan Farrow, two people who have been pursuing their vendetta against Woody Allen for years.  If you follow any of the coverage at all, that much is clear.  Mia and Ronan hate Woody Allen and say so in public, at every opportunity.  For his part, Allen says nothing about them.  Now, Kristof sees fit to publish Dylan Farrow's allegations of childhood sexual abuse by the filmmaker.  Laughably, Kristof covers himself by saying that Allen refused to give him an on the record interview.  He then references Allen's previous denials but

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Economy, Ecology, Efficiency, Catastrophe

    Flying during the winter months has become an increasingly dicey proposition in 21st-century America. I make a handful of work-related plane trips a year, but the ones I do make tend to be for things that can't be rescheduled easily and often can't be rescheduled at all. I'm sure this is true for travelers in other kinds of business, but it's certainly true for academics: if you don't get there on the right day, the thing you were traveling to do may simply never happen.

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