1) First, an article about Emojis from The Curator: Thumbs Down, Crying Eyes by Ashley Abramson. I quite enjoyed the article, there’s a lot of gems including this:
I’m a participant in the consumption of fast language. It is easy to choose comfort and convenience in a pinch, because cadent language struggles to keep up with an un-cadent life. There is little space to pause for beauty. A quick question demands a quick answer, hence the pre-packaged predictive iPhone text like “I’m on my way!” or “Can’t talk now!” It’s the difference between fast food and local, farm-to-table fare. One is lightning fast but leaves you hungry shortly after, while the other marinades and simmers a bit longer, but whose complexity of flavor both quenches hunger and dances on the palate.
Let me tell you about first novel I finished this year. It’s a classic post-apocalyptic story, except far more hopeful than something like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s, in part, the story of a Shakespear acting troupe who perform his plays in the small villages that have sprung up after 90% of the human population has died. Happy stuff. Check it out: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Anyways, there’s a scene where two characters are remembering before the fall of civilization where one quips to the other: “Can you remember we used to text eachother “thx” as if we were saving so much time not using the three extra letters?”
2) I’m so jealous of the East Coast’s snow storm last week, and apparently the Midwest’s this weekend. As one who enjoys doing nothing blizzards give a perfect excuse to do just that. Snow Days are the best. We don’t get much of that here in Southern California. Anyways my favorite on-line publication, Mockingbird, had this great write up on snow storm Jonas. It’s one of those posts I wish I had written – The Best Natural Disaster There Is?
All this to say, post-Jonas, I’ve been struck by how much guilt has come to play a role in the adult snow day, how many people have mentioned the freedom they connote with catastrophic weather. Freedom from what exactly is unclear, but I’m presuming some sort of accusation related to productivity and/or self-justification. Meaning, there are only a few sets of circumstances that can absolve us from the ‘fear of missing out’, performancism-wise, and a dramatic snowstorm is one. No one is getting any work done. No one is going to overtake us in whatever race we are running. They’re snowed in too. We can take a guilt-free day off. It’s revealing, yes, but also a relief. At least, it should be.
3) Kanye West got into a Twitter feud with Wiz Khalifa this week. Kanye being Kanye, both a narcissist and a genius, tweeted exactly how I feel about my 2016 New Year’s Resolution to – I quote, “Maybe try and loose some weight, I guess.” See below:
4) I spend a lot of time thinking and reading about the worship arts. You could say it’s my job. This article, “You Are the Lord, The Famous One” by Joshua Kalin Busman at The Avid Listener, raised up some interesting questions about the ubiquitous practice of applauding in “contemporary” services after the music is over. He asserts:
Rather, they are building rituals out of entire contexts of popular music performance and consumption. The musical and lyrical contours of popular music are not simply a source of new appealing “forms” in which to couch the “content” of religious orthodoxy; in fact, they amount to something like what ethnomusicologist Steven Feld has described as an “acoustemology.”1 That is to say, the truly meaningful gestures and moments of these “praise and worship” performances come from a melding of beliefs and practices from mainstream popular music and evangelical Christianity.
Regardless of your opinion of clapping in service, I’m of two minds, the article ends with a question for discussion:
Is it possible for religious communities to adopt “secular” music without becoming inextricably blended with the culture from which the music originates?
Football should not be played by babies, plain and simple. From the opening title card of this episode to the closing credits, I prayed the entire time, no breaks. As soon as it ended and I knew the babies were safe, I dialed 911 and collapsed on the floor. I was hospitalized for severe dehydration, but it was worth it. The babies were okay. And therefore, so was I.
I love a good absured Non sequitur. Cue Steve Martin.
I love a list of them all the more. Clickhole, The Onion’s satire of click bait websites like BuzzFeed, is a blessed font of weird humor. This particular article worked for me on so many levels. The prayer at the end… I’d love to use that in a service.