Anti-Statism, Relativism, Prosperity Gospel, etc.

So I took a trip to Myanmar this week. I’ll blog about it later. In the meantime I have a bunch of tabs of stuff I’ve been meaning to share and I’ll have to just dump them w/o much comment because they’re slowing down Firefox.

  • The Atlantic: “Did Christianity Cause the Crash?” by Hanna Rosin. Short answer is No, it didn’t… but the name-it-n-claim-it prosperity gospel probably contributed a little at least.
  • “Who’s Afraid of Relativism?” by Carl Raschke – summary & review of the first two chapters from Merold Westphal’s book Whose Community? Which Interpretation? Raschke is expectedly excellent:

The term “relativism” nowadays is routinely and indiscriminately used as a handy synonym for “postmodernism” by Christian and cultural mossbacks in the same way that “deconstruction” is taken as the first thesaurus entry for nihilistic devastation of the entire legacy of Western culture.  Pondering the “relativity” of the symbolic order – Einstein’s special and general theories notwithstanding – is generally regarded in these same circles as akin to taking a puff of Ouachita Gold and then inhaling.  That is, it is the first tragic slip on the slipper of the slippery slope to reprobation and incurable insanity.

  • The A.V. Club is trying to sum up the past decade. One of their lists is “The Best TV Series of the ’00s” wherein Arrested Development is somehow not #1 and NBC’s The Office bribed someone to earn an entry. I remain unimpressed by Judd Apatow’s TV work (I did like most of Funny People though, fwiw).
  • They’ve also got a big 50-entry list of “The Best Music of the Decade” which I will say is not the worst list I’ve ever read. Arcade Fire got robbed, of course, losing out to Outkast and (FFS!) Kanye; “this is an outrage” “how dare they” et cetera. No My Morning Jacket at all. Zilch. Actually, with all due respect to Win Butler & Jeff Tweedy, I may have to give my vote to “Best Album of the Decade” to Mr. Lamontagne for “Trouble.”

Favorite Singles of 2008

Here are 20 of my favorite songs released in 2008. As usual, I’ve agonized over this list and have changed it numerous times. Like always, I only picked one song per album (otherwise artists like Bon Iver & Robert Forster would just completely dominate this list) and they’re only loosely ranked by preference.
So for better or worse:

1. MGMT – “Time to Pretend” from Oracular Spectacular

[audio:01 – Time to Pretend.mp3]
The first 60-ish seconds of this are irresistibly awesome.

2. Bon Iver – “For Emma” from For Emma, Forever Ago

[audio:08 for emma.mp3]
Possibly my favorite album of the year.

3. Langhorne Slim – “Rebel Side of Heaven” from Langhorne Slim

[audio:02 Rebel Side Of Heaven.mp3]
This dude isn’t always consistently great, but I dig a lot of this album and this song in particular.

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Jim James connection

This is all I’ve been doing for the last days before November hit us. I was trying to hit GoldStar (VIP club) and I did just 4 hours before the midnight deadline on the 31st. Now I’m on a bit poker’d out so I’m going to take it easy for a while and re-charge.

I did nothing but listen to music yesterday. I’m really into a lot of older stuff right now (Dylan, Van Morrison, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, etc) but if I had to recommend a few cds off the top of my head they’d all be from 2006 and they’d all be connected to Jim James: start with the live masterpiece of Okonokos by James’ My Morning Jacket; then hit up M. Ward’s Post-War which James plays on (he might’ve produced it too, not sure). Last is the undeniably MMJ-influenced disc by Band of Horses called Everything All the Time. Dig it.

  • RIP William Styron
  • Stephen Colbert Has America by the Ballots – a couple weeks old but still a good read.
  • Open directory full of Ray Lamontagne demos and live cuts
  • The Daily Drawing