Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt
from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript
posted by audi alteram partem
on Sep 6, 2013 -
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -
Over a thousand monks and laymen are revered in Tibetan Buddhism as the incarnations of past teachers who convey enlightenment to their followers from one lifetime to the next. Some of the most respected are known by the honorific "rinpoche." For eight centuries, rinpoches were traditionally identified by other monks and then locked inside monasteries ringed by mountains, far from worldly distractions. Their reincarnation lineages were easily tracked across successive lives. Then the Chinese Red Army invaded Tibet in 1950 and drove the religion's adherents into exile. Now, the younger rinpoches of the Tibetan diaspora are being exposed to all of the twenty-first century’s dazzling temptations. So, even as Tibetan Buddhism is gaining more followers around the world, an increasing number of rinpoches are abandoning their monastic vows. Reincarnation in Exile. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 5, 2013 -
From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader.
Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working
to help others
who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 27, 2012 -
"A culture that does not possess this common store of image and allegory will be a perilously thin one. To seek restlessly to update it or make it “relevant” is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare."
-Christopher Hitchens stands up for the King James Bible
posted by beisny
on Jul 14, 2011 -
is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
Everybody knows TVTropes
is the best and most time
way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more
. Enter Useful Notes
. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 26, 2010 -
Stuff Christian Culture Likes
- A preacher's daughter marries another preacher's son and offers an insider's perspective about youth leaders
, sexual jewelry
, hot wives
, drama teams
, video games
, graphic design
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Aug 31, 2009 -
NickCaveFilter: Fifty years ago
this very day, Nicholas Edward Cave
] crawled from the womb and started to plot. At 16 he formed his first band which evolved quickly into the Boys Next Door
]. This in turn mutated into the Birthday Party
(1980) who terrorised the post-punk soundscape in Australia and the UK [Release the Bats
| Nick the Stripper
]. The Birthday Party
relocated to England and in 1984 the band imploded in an orgy of drugs and booze. Shortly after Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
were born [The Ship Song - video
& solo live
| The Mercy Seat - video
| Where the Wild Roses Grow
], and 23 years and 11 studio albums later (not to mention a best selling book
, a great screenplay
, some acting
and several soundtrack projects) he is still going strong. But, instead of sitting on his musical laurels he decided to get back to basics and, in 2006, grew a huge moustache
and formed Grinderman
– a four piece with a primeval hybrid Birthday Party/Bad Seeds sound [No Pussy Blues
| Honey Bee
]. Fellow Mefites, I ask you to raise a glass to Mr. Cave
… And, especially if you are not familiar to his work, don’t forget to “look inside” for my primer on the enigma that is Nick Cave, one of the finest song-writers on the face of this miserable planet
. [more inside]
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar
on Sep 22, 2007 -
"The Naked Truth"
This Google Video
is a documentary (pack a lunch, it's nearly two hours long) that systematically eviscerates the purported origins of the Old and New Testaments. Turns out, it's really all about astrology. Who knew?
The evidence is tremendously compelling, well documented, and sure to raise the ire of people whose minds are made up on the subject.
posted by wordswinker
on Jul 4, 2006 -
Soldiers of Christ : "Have you ever switched your toothpaste brand, just for the fun of it?" Pastor Ted asks. Admit it, he insists. All the way home, you felt a "secret little thrill," as excited questions ran through your mind: "Will it make my teeth whiter? My breath fresher?"
In this sharp article from Harpers Magazine, Pastor Ted Haggard
, head of New Life Church
and the World Prayer Team
, describes the delirious thrill of deciding upon which brand of worship is right for you. We also meet some of the members of his flock, including one lady with big, brown eyes, eyes with which she claims to have seen "gay sex demons." (A belief more common
than you might think.)
Who is this Pastor Ted, who speaks with the White House weekly? He writes books about "free market theology," he oversees the World Prayer Center
, and as head of the National Association of Evangelicals
, he leads the most powerful religious lobbying group in the United States.
posted by JHarris
on May 30, 2005 -
How evangelical churches are borrowing from the business playbook - "The triumph of evangelical Christianity is profoundly reshaping many aspects of American politics and society... This year, the 16.4 million-member Southern Baptist Convention plans to 'plant' 1,800 new churches using by-the-book niche-marketing tactics. 'We have cowboy churches for people working on ranches, country music churches, even several motorcycle churches aimed at bikers', says Martin King, a spokesman for the Southern Baptists' North American Mission Board... Many of today's evangelicals hope to expand their clout even further. They're also gaining by taking their views into Corporate America. Exhibit A: the recent clash at software giant Microsoft
posted by kliuless
on May 15, 2005 -
The Vagina Monologues
is, to the outrage of many, being staged at a cultural center in Kampala, Uganda, East Africa. For the past few weeks, the play has been a key topic of debate
, with many radio stations even refusing to utter the name of the play out loud, and shaming call-in listeners that do. Today, the local media council announced that “to the extent that the play promotes illegal, unnatural sexual acts, homosexuality and prostitution, it should be and is hereby banned
, citing the play as "a smokescreen for graphic lesbian pornography" and that the play's "graphic descriptions of masturbation, rape, and genital mutilation in a manner that is “abhorrent, outrageous and disgusting." Local NGOs
are even refusing to accept funds generated by the sale of tickets.
posted by Kololo
on Feb 17, 2005 -
concept of the sacred
phallus in spirituality
, and culture (that is, before moralistic taboos attempted to mute phallic representations with fig leaves for the geniality of civilization).
posted by moonbird
on Dec 13, 2004 -
A View from the Eye of the Storm.
An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 25, 2004 -
The new Islam.
Husam Tammam and Patrick Haenni in Le Monde
(English version) describe the new forms of Islamic culture taking shape in Egypt. I follow the Islamic world fairly closely, but this was news to me. Does it herald an Islam that can live with the rest of the world (and vice versa)?
This entry, both with the hijab [veil] and the nashid [religious chant], into consumerism and syncretism with non-Arab models, has led to an implicit questioning of the old puritanism of the 1970s and 1980s - and above all a questioning of the principle of the ideologisation of religion. The change is important: we could trace similar patterns in the Islamic economy, increasingly affected by the ups and downs of international finance; or in Islamic charity, which has been rethought, within a framework of neoliberalism, as a security net to replace the state's withdrawal from this area (a withdrawal the Islamists have widely supported).
(Via Path of the Paddle
posted by languagehat
on Oct 9, 2003 -
Police Boycott "Harry Potter"
Police in Penryn, PA (near Harrisburg) have refused to direct traffic at a YMCA event. The police claim that because the YMCA reads "Harry Potter" to local children that they are promoting witchcraft. Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn says "I don't feel right taking our children's minds and teaching them (witchcraft). As long as we don't stand up, it won't stop. It's unfortunate that this is the way it has to be."
posted by terrapin
on Jan 24, 2002 -
Do I make you h*rny, baby? [censored]
This is far from new, but I just stumbled on this hilarious review of the Austin Powers sequel written by ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP). I don't post this to bash Christians or to inspire a bazillion comments about religion or censorship. I just thought CAP's outrage over an essentially harmless film was fun to read.
posted by Karl
on Jun 27, 2001 -