She does love her cupcake treats.
"Have this year's negative political ads really 'taken dirty to a whole new level, as CNN's Anderson Cooper frets? Is a 'return to civility...a relic of a bygone era,' as President Barack Obama laments?
Er, not exactly.
...attack ads are as American as apple pie. If you fancy yourself a patriot or a history buff, you will most certainly approve this message, which is taken from statements made by, for, and against the nation's founders."
"If I had to encapsulate the politics of Inside Out, I'd say something like this: "Torture and endless war have made America less safe, not more, and America is run by a oligarchic web of media, government, military, and corporate interests who profit by keeping Americans afraid of an external enemy."
I don't deny that such a viewpoint is political. But now let's see if we can similarly encapsulate the politics of a more typical, ticking time bomb thriller:
"Alien, brown-skinned external enemy zealots seek to destroy us because they hate our freedoms, and through torture and a militaristic response, we can stop them and preserve our way of life."
For me, the second worldview is as political as the first (more so, in fact, for reasons I'll mention below). But my sense is that, for many people, only the first seems "political." If I'm correct, it suggests that the right has succeeded (at least in fiction) in establishing its own worldview as the norm, by comparison with which, other worldviews are suspiciously "political."
This success is striking for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that the "external threat is worst" view is contradicted by actual evidence. Multiple studies, including one commissioned by Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, have demonstrated that the majority of what causes terrorism isn't our freedoms, but rather our wars. To the extent a view is driven more by ideology than it is by facts, I would expect it to be recognized as more political, not less. In fiction, at least, this seems not to be the case..."
"Editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible Michael Coogan recently applied his thorough knowledge of Scripture to a universal and eternally relevant topic: sex. In God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says.
Your book begins with a discussion of the erotic Song of Solomon. Does its inclusion in the Bible mean there was a positive attitude toward sex back then?
I think there was a positive attitude toward sex in general, because reproduction was essential. Anything that led to reproduction was certainly viewed positively, and the idea of refraining from sex for religious reasons was something that was fairly unusual in Judaism in most periods. In many passages it's a highly erotic text, and it was a text that rabbinic literature tells us used to be sung in taverns. Yet when I was in seminary many decades ago, it was razored out of many of the Bibles that we had.
How important is it to read the Bible in its original languages?
It's essential for some of us to do it, if for no other reason so that translations can be made that are as accurate as possible. Often translators reflect their own views and their own biases just as much as the biblical writers do.
[I'd insert a smartassed 'duh' here, but I know many folks who believe it impossible for there to be mistranslations and misinterpretations in the Bible. The rationalizing mental gymnastics for that is quite astonishing. - Rob]
I was interested recently in this case that the Supreme Court had in the Westboro Baptist Church. I looked at their website, and he lists all the passages that he says the Bible talks about sodomy. Well, in most of them sodomy isn't discussed at all. The term sodomy is a translator's term to translate Hebrew words that never mean sodomy in the sense of anal intercourse between males.
Given all the examples of polygamy, where in the Bible is marriage sanctioned as a union only between one man and one woman?
There is no unequivocal statement in the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible, that says that monogamy should be the norm. For the most part, biblical characters we know well, if they could afford it, had many wives. Solomon, the greatest lover of them all — maybe why he's attributed with writing the Song of Songs — had 300 wives. So the fundamentalist Mormons who insist that polygamy is biblical are right, in a sense. If you're going to be a strict literalist, there's nothing wrong with polygamy."
"A federal indictment alleges that a group of traffickers sought to bribe the director of Liberia's National Security Agency to allow more than $100 million of cocaine to pass through the country. The Liberian official was cooperating with the Americans; he also happens to be the president's stepson, Fombah T. Sirleaf.
Operation Relentless has also focused attention on the ambivalent relationship between the much-lauded President (she was named to the TIME 100 in 2006) and her stepson, a West Point graduate she depends on for security in a Liberia deeply scarred by a horrific civil war."
"The 59-year-old teacher at Ogi Elementary School in Iruma, Saitama Prefecture, apparently had three dice, one with sides marked with the words “hug” and ” forgiven,” another marked with “kiss,” “snot” and “forgiven” among others, and the third marked with “snot” and “forgiven.” Students who forgot to bring something to class were forced to roll one of the dice. The teacher has apparently admitted to kissing one boy and acting as if he would put snot on one girl. He nicknamed the dice the “sexual harassment dice.”
“I made the dice while playing with the children. The first two dice were for boys, and the third was for girls,” the teacher has told the Iruma Municipal Board of Education. “I apologize deeply for my complacent teaching method.”"
"Five years ago, I had every reason to believe that my job as a history professor at Barnard College was secure. I had been teaching there for four years, I had published my dissertation with a major publisher, and because I had tripled the sizes of the introductory U.S. history course and the American Studies program, colleagues told me they "would be shocked" if I were not promoted to a tenure-track position.
But that was before my colleagues knew what I was teaching.
...I showed them that during the American Revolution drunkards, laggards, prostitutes, and pirates pioneered many of the freedoms and pleasures we now cherish -- including non-marital sex, interracial socializing, dancing, shopping, divorce, and the weekend -- and that the Founding Fathers, in the name of democracy, opposed them. I argued not only that many white Americans envied slaves but also that they did so for good reason, since slave culture offered many liberating alternatives to the highly repressive, work-obsessed, anti-sex culture of the early United States. I demonstrated that prostitutes, not feminists, won virtually all the freedoms that were denied to women but are now taken for granted. By tracing the path of immigrants from arrival as "primitives" to assimilation as "civilized" citizens, I explained that white people lost their rhythm by becoming good Americans. I presented evidence that without organized crime, we might not have jazz, Hollywood, Las Vegas, legal alcohol, birth control, or gay rights, since only gangsters were willing to support those projects when respectable America shunned them..."