By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
CJ: Absolutely the Bible is a dangerous book if you do what God commands you to do. For example, if my daughter says, “God damn it!” I’m to take her to the edge of the town and bash her brains out with large rocks. If I wish to sell my daughter into sexual slavery, not only does the Bible not say there’s anything wrong with that, it gives commercial terms and conditions for doing such a thing. When we look at places like tribal Pakistan, for example, there they routinely execute people for blasphemy, a victimless crime. Now, are they barbaric, evil people? No they’re not. In fact, according to biblical law, of which the Koran is based, they’re more pious and pleasing to God than those who ignore that command. When people become cognizant of these kinds of issues, people realize this ancient book has no relevancy in today’s times.
By James F. McGrath, Exploring Our Matrix….
Perhaps the most important contribution of this “new perspective on history” is its emphasis that the earlier quests for uninterpreted facts was misguided. When we consider something or someone significant, we interpret it. And unless we find something significant, we do not remember it. Therefore, all memory is interpreted. This should not surprise anyone, and yet the modern quest for certainty has trained many of us to desire more, even if such desires can never be satisfied.
Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
Given the complex and sometimes sordid blending of religion and sexuality in this culture, the debate morphed significantly in late November 2010—just after the elections, be sure to note—from sex to religion. That is to say, from a debate about the virtues of exhibiting a show devoted to gay and lesbian sexuality, into a debate about obscenity, blasphemy, as well as varying perceptions of religious offense in a religiously diverse democracy such as our own.
By Hannah Spadafora….
On November 27th, 2010, protesters in Sacramento, CA gathered outside musical artist Capleton’s reggae-dancehall concert to oppose the violent gay-bashing ideas his lyrics promote. This isn’t the first protest against reggae artists calling for violent homophobic acts in their music. Other reggae artists criticized and boycotted over the last decade for anti-homosexual lyrics include Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Elephant Man, T.O.K., Bounty Killa and Vybz Kartel. A major leader in the campaign against the homophobia found in dancehall music (the reggae spinoff popular in United States and western Europe) is Stop Murder Music, who eventually initiated the “Reggae Compassionate Act”.
By Louis A. Ruprecht Jr., Georgia State University….
No, this year the story really was in the game. That seems relevant to anyone interested in the curious and complex trajectories of the sacred in contemporary American culture. As Gary Laderman has argued, in his book Sacred Matters, professional sports, to the degree that they contribute to our contemporary cult of celebrity, are bearers of profound spiritual resonance. But they are also highly complex choreographed events, what the student of religion is trained to see as ritual.
By J.F. Sullivan….
What Jones points out is that in the attempt to respond to the Orientalism that Said illuminated, we may have thrown the baby out with the bath water. While Jones treats Said more harshly than I think he deserves, the point is well taken. Does romanticism play a role in cultural understanding which helps to alleviate phobias and stereotypes? I would argue that it does. Romanticism is not history and was never intended to be taken literally or understood to be historically accurate. What it does do is inspire. Many who would go on to become some of the greatest of Orientalist scholars were raised on a diet of travel writing, art, and fantastic and exotic stories about the oriental world (again primarily the Middle East)
Louis A. Ruprecht Jr….
In short, Enrique Celaya is deeply interested in the realm of the sacred. Hence his creation of “Whale & Star” as a place where scientific enquiry and contemplative community mutually inform and inspire.
An essential part of Celaya’s studio is a library-and-lounge where he conducts most of his interviews. He reads widely in Continental philosophy and literature. Nietzsche and Heidegger, Thoreau and Melville, William Blake and Anton Chekhov, are all central interlocutors and inspirations for the work. And always, always, there are echoes of central biblical paradigms, never quite raised to the level of explicit
What do you get when you cross a group of drug-addicted thugs with some musically inclined angels, a gang of corrupt cops, a soon-to-be pregnant actress, an astronaut, and a Golem? According to Matthew Ritchie, you get the Big Bang, or the beginning of the universe as we know it. Or not. It could also bring Armageddon or the Apocalypse. It is a fall from the heavens (one might choose to say ‘grace’); it is a simple event that gets the universal ball rolling. It all depends on the button pushed- the character chosen (who chooses is still a question up for debate)
Today, the apple, although not specifically mentioned in Genesis, is believed by many to be the ‘forbidden fruit’ from the mythic Garden of Eden. The image of Eve’s eating and presenting Adam with an apple was introduced during the Renaissance period as many Renaissance artists incorporated Greek mythological imagery into their biblical works of art. The golden apples of immortality from the Garden of Hesperides or the apple from the Judgment of Paris were, most probably, the apple myths that Renaissance artists embraced, reimagined, and incorporated into Old Testament narratives.
The World Ended: Didn’t You Get the Memo?: AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Allegorical Zombie, Part II
By Kate Daley-Bailey….
Kate Daley Bailey continues her exploration of AMC’s The Walking Dead, “the latest embodiment of the apocalyptic zombie phenomena in American popular culture.” In Part I of The World Ended: Didn’t You Get the Memo?, Kate explored rapid globalization, economic anxiety, cultural and religious pluralism, and moral relativism. In Part II, Kate explores the American zombie phenomena as symbolic of the realities of physical decay, mortality, and the ethics of war.
The World Ended: Didn’t You Get the Memo?: AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Allegorical Zombie, Part I
By Kate Daley-Bailey….
To my pleasant surprise, the series appears to be driven by character development, and, while still maintaining a decent amount of gore, highlights many social and moral concerns. While not explicitly stated, the series continues to investigate key issues which dominate the Postmodern American cultural consciousness such as: rapid globalization and economic anxiety, cultural and religious pluralism, moral relativism, the brutal reality of physical decay and mortality, and the ethics of war.
By Louis A. Ruprecht Jr.
Deren was born in Kiev, but was raised in Syracuse, New York. She studied literature, especially the Symbolist poets, first at Syracuse University, then later at NYU and Smith College. It was in New York that she got involved both in radical politics and in modern dance. Even then, it would seem, Maya Deren understood art to be a form of radical politics and an experiment in radical religious vision. She eventually landed on film as the medium best suited to her own expansive visions, and she began making a number of important short films in an explosively creative period that began in 1946 and lasted until roughly 1951.
The Harry Potter series lure readers into their pages with promises of adventure and fantasy, all the while covertly educating us on how to live well. Disguised as pure entertainment, these children books instruct both children and adults on how to make good choices in difficult situations. This is not the first time fantasy has acted as a vehicle for conscious or unconscious moral instruction. One need only think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s tiny hobbit’s duty to face unbearable odds and evil in order to save Middle Earth or the inspiring words of Gandalf the Grey to see elements of moral education or mentoring in many faerie stories.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision, is most commonly practiced in various African nations, the Middle East, and Asia and is an unusual issue to encounter in a small southern American town. We need to explore the phenomena of FGM and the motivations behind this brutal cultural practice.