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Selections From The Journal of Religion And Popular Culture
November 27, 2005 11:02 AM   Subscribe


 
Fabulous! I'm a double major in Religious Studies and Sociology, and this is exactly the stuff I thrive on.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:10 AM on November 27, 2005


A great site, but somehow I think this thread may not go well.
posted by caddis at 11:12 AM on November 27, 2005


Hey! Something good came out of Saskatchewan? Neat!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:20 AM on November 27, 2005


I see someone else has noted that whatever the hell it is that Dr Phil does, it definately isn't real psychology. Shame they didn't cover his use of "throwing money at the problem" as a technique for solving, well, just about anything.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on November 27, 2005


That last link quotes Cotton Mather, Donald Hall, Dan Shaughnessy, Homi Bhabha, and René Girard, among others. Gotta love interdisciplinary studies.

somehow I think this thread may not go well

I know what you mean, but Optimus Chyme has convinced me to be patient with religion threads, and the last one went pretty well, and that was a y2karl post as well, so I'm crossing my fingers.

posted by languagehat at 11:41 AM on November 27, 2005


.... religion threads ....

If a thread like this is ever inappropriate simply because of it's subject matter, then Metafilter will have become quite useless. Threads are good or bad based on what they are, not what they might be. Posts are good or bad based on what they are, not what they might be.

This is a pointer to a journal covering a contentious area. Someone here could almost certainly find a paper that offends him/her; that's got nothing to do with this post unless that person shits in the thread by making an issue of it.
posted by lodurr at 11:48 AM on November 27, 2005


Ah, yes. Graduate studies in the humanities/social sciences.
posted by availablelight at 11:49 AM on November 27, 2005


The essay on translating the religious significance of LotR to film missed the central issue, I think. Middle Earth is a monotheistic world but the central god isn't actually worshipped. There are no churches. There is no clergy. The creator-god sends his servants to the temporal world and these servants treat with the mortal and immortal (elves) alike. Only Sauron, the fallen one, demands worship.

It seems impossible to me to discuss the issue without actually talking about the themes found in the work, and yet that's what the essay has done. Really, really poorly written.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:56 AM on November 27, 2005


The LotR essay reminded me of this Chomsky parody.
posted by bardic at 12:10 PM on November 27, 2005


caddis: I don't see why, after all it's about the treatment of religion in popular culture, it's not about arguments over religion itself.
posted by funambulist at 12:10 PM on November 27, 2005


Thanks for the post y2karl.

For more on religion in the US, go to the mojo site with this month's great articles. Or better yet, subscribe to Mother Jones. Come to think of it, Harpers has been doing lots of great stuff on religion lately too. I don't feel so alone anymore.
posted by nofundy at 12:42 PM on November 27, 2005


Have only seen a couple episodes of doctor phil. It is a fascinating phenomenon. What interests me is the overtone of large group awareness training and grilling a la' the landmark forum. Bet that doctor phil reads the same manuals the landmark folks do. The guy is definitely tapping into something subconscious; of that I have no doubt at all.

Many religious folk do this as well, but I don't think you should really describe it as religious just because many religious folk do it. If I were to include it under just one encyclopedia article title, that article would be MARKETING.
posted by bukvich at 12:57 PM on November 27, 2005


The Dr. Phil article is great, a terrific deconstruction. But I'm really looking forward to the death of postmodernism, let me tell you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:03 PM on November 27, 2005


Thanks a lot Karl!!
posted by wheelieman at 1:05 PM on November 27, 2005


Ah, Cult. Stud., the future of the humanities (sigh). I'll sometimes read this stuff when I need a distraction -- there are always back issues of Continuum floating around my office at uni -- but it always leaves me feeling worse off than when I started. I mean, is it really necessary to cite Durkheim, Debord, Foucault, Geertz, and Baudrillard for an essay on day-time talk shows?

There's something really depressing and airless about the academy's obsession with the most inane aspects of pop culture. It's like listening to bad hip-hop, where there's one lazy, unimaginative sample looped over and over again. Shift, already. There is no anything there, anymore.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:45 PM on November 27, 2005


But I'm really looking forward to the death of postmodernism, let me tell you.

Postmodernism is over!
(If you want it.)
posted by ford and the prefects at 2:05 PM on November 27, 2005


Some very odd articles here, but the oddest must surely be Shiva on the Durham Coalfield, a Hinduist interpretation of Billy Elliot. ('Impecunious, meditative, and disregarding appearances, Billy indeed resembles the passionate and compassionate Shiva, supreme ascetic yogi and master of eroticism'.) I thought at first this must be an ingenious hoax à la Alan Sokal, but no, it seems to be written in all seriousness.
posted by verstegan at 2:09 PM on November 27, 2005


Religion threads on Mefi are actually (knock on wood) some of the best of the web imo. We just need some way to filter out the vitriolic "[Christians|Atheists] are [Delusional|Damned], and anyhow, [The Crusades|Stalin|The Inquisition|Hitler] killed lots of people" comments.
posted by verb at 2:26 PM on November 27, 2005


There's few enough of those kinds of comments, I think, verb. I suspect that people think that there are more of them because they get offended all out of proportion when they see one that hits close to home.

It is, I think, a much better idea to filter out the vitriolic "we need to filter out any thread that offends my delicate [Religious|Atheistic] sensibilities" comments. I love threads about religion and philosophy, even when they get heated.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:36 PM on November 27, 2005


Whoo doggies, that Dylan essay takes the long way to getting to its point -- which is that Dylan kinda more or less sometimes wants to be identified with Jesus in his songwriting persona, and that he sometimes uses biblical sounding phrases or imagery to gussy up his poems. Great post, though. The Dr. Phil paper is worth the price of admission.
posted by Faze at 3:47 PM on November 27, 2005


From my perspective, it looks like postmodernism is over.
posted by stet at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2005


From a Girardian perspective, it is violence and its mystification that impart to baseball its numinous character. Like any other sport, baseball draws its appeal in large part from the way it evokes aggression from a local fan base and diffuses it towards the rival team, which is symbolically sacrificed in the ignominy of defeat. But baseball typically effects such a catharsis more bloodlessly than other modern games. As a rite of sacred violence in American culture, its aggressive ends are muted by pastoral idealizations of its origins–and once upon a time in New England, by biblical explanations of its meaning.7 In keeping with Girard's analysis, this denial or "misunderstanding" of baseball's essential rivalry is what allows it to diffuse impure violence from a community without triggering further acts of retaliatory or mimetic violence.

Great post, y2karl.

I suspect that people think that there are more of them because they get offended all out of proportion when they see one that hits close to home...I love threads about religion and philosophy, even when they get heated.

And good point, solid-one-love.
posted by jsonic at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2005


"For more on religion in the US, go to the mojo site with this month's great articles. Or better yet, subscribe to Mother Jones. Come to think of it, Harpers has been doing lots of great stuff on religion lately too. I don't feel so alone anymore." - Well, I do.
posted by troutfishing at 7:33 PM on November 27, 2005


"...redeems, and purifies him [sic]; it unburdens him [sic] of his [sic] wrongs, liberates him [sic], and promises his [sic] salvation.”40

This hurts my mind.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:58 PM on November 27, 2005


All are selections from The Journal Of Religion And Popular Culture.

Isn't religion popular culture?
posted by semmi at 9:21 PM on November 27, 2005


"What a Difference a Gay Makes": Queering the Magic Negro

best. title. ever.
posted by LimePi at 12:12 AM on November 28, 2005


is it really necessary to cite Durkheim, Debord, Foucault, Geertz, and Baudrillard for an essay on day-time talk shows?

Wha? Who else should one cite when writing a serious essay about day-time talk shows? Debord seems spot on to me. Or is the problem simply that writing serious essays about pop culture topics is somehow not worth doing? Aside from sighing loudly over The State Of Things Today, what exactly was the point there, Sonny Jim?
posted by mediareport at 12:40 AM on November 28, 2005


Nice post. I enjoyed the Dr. Phil essay, which, while it wasn't groundbreaking, seemed to have the guy's number.
posted by OmieWise at 5:31 AM on November 28, 2005


Aside from sighing loudly over The State Of Things Today...

That about sums it up. :)
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2005


is it really necessary to cite Durkheim, Debord, Foucault, Geertz, and Baudrillard for an essay on day-time talk shows?

Wha? Who else should one cite when writing a serious essay about day-time talk shows?


How about people that someone besides grad students might have actually read?
posted by jonmc at 6:28 PM on November 28, 2005


Durkheim ? The man often credited with making sociology a science ? Durkheim is a name a college bound high school student should know. Foucault was a literary celebrity who wrote, among others, Discipline And Punish, The History of Madness and the Archeology of Knowledge. Geertz, Debord and Baudrillard should not be unfamiliar names to any one who has read more than a half dozen issues of The New York Review of Books. You set low standards for what it takes to be a well read graduate student.
posted by y2karl at 8:18 PM on November 28, 2005


jonmc, not everything has to be written for the guy in the corner bar. You might as well say "Why do people have to write books in foreign languages? Me and my buddies can't read 'em!" Different strokes, you know?
posted by languagehat at 6:29 AM on November 29, 2005


Great point languagehat.
We can get that from Fox News or Rush and talk radio.
More pablum we don't need, give me something substantial and don't chew it for me.
posted by nofundy at 9:29 AM on November 29, 2005


How about people that someone besides grad students might have actually read?

Oh, please. Quick checks reveal that the first mentions of Durkheim, Debord and Foucault in the Dr. Phil piece clearly explain (esp. with regard to Durhkeim) how the authors' views are relevant to the discussion, in ways any smart layperson can understand. Did you even read the thing before posing in that tired know-nothing stance?
posted by mediareport at 9:48 PM on November 29, 2005


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