The Tragedy and Comedy of Whitney Houston

There are three things I know about Whitney Houston:

  1. Whitney Houston was incredibly talented, possessing probably the best voice in the history of recorded popular music.
  2. Whitney Houston had a fervent desire to know god, love god, and serve god, to paraphrase the Baltimore Catechism.
  3. Whitney Houston was a complete mess.

Thus, we have the elements of the tragedy and comedy of Houston’s life and career.

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Why People Are Angry About Joshgate 2.0

Earlier today, I was on the Wartburg Watch site, reading the comments for a post on the fallout from Joshgate 2.0:

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/08/19/another-duggar-disaster-josh-tantalized-by-forbidden-fruit/

The Wartburg Watch takes a critical look at the trends in evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism, particularly in the Southern Baptist world. Nonetheless, many of the commenters were complaining about how Josh Duggar was being unfairly demonized for having an Ashley Madison account, when there are liberals out there doing the same thing, without anyone complaining about it. While I’m sure there are people all across the political spectrum cheating on their significant others, there’s a very good reason why Josh Duggar in particular is being raked across the proverbial coals.

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The Duggar Scandal, Part Trois: Two Sex Scandals and Counting

Another day, another Duggar scandal:

http://gawker.com/family-values-activist-josh-duggar-had-a-paid-ashley-ma-1725132091

http://gawker.com/is-this-josh-duggars-okcupid-profile-1725202825

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/20/us/josh-duggar-ashley-madison/

As you probably recall, Josh Duggar also admitted to molesting his sisters and a family friend about four months, making this his second sex scandal in less than six month, which could be a record; even Jimmy Swaggart waited a couple of years before re-visiting prostitutes’ row.

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The Language of Art, Then and Now

My trip to the Louvre roughly two weeks ago was a very interesting experience, not the least because I discovered that Chinese tourists have become what Japanese tourists were in the 1980s. Looking at the many famous works of art caused me to reflect again on the role of the arts in modern religion, particularly Christianity. I recently found out that Thomas Day, author of the famous book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing” wrote another book entitled “Where Have You Gone Michelangelo?” about the supposed loss of beauty in the Catholic tradition. Like many religious conservatives, Day’s remedy appears to involve simply resurrecting what worked in the past and doing more of the same, but I don’t think that it’s that simple.

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Has the New York Times Uncovered A True “Doctor Death” ?

Guest post by Myristic Mystic:
First, I don’t want to disparage the intentions of this individual (Dr. William J. Lewinski ) in any way in this post – he may be the most well-intentioned person who has ever lived, for all I know (just as Dr. Jack Kervorkian seemed to be, IMO), but of course we all know what road is paved with good intentions!  And as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have police officers (or former ones) in the family, and many friends of my parents were “cop families”.  I understand the fear involved, and I can’t say that I’d want to be an officer, even if I could (being too old now, among other things), because of all the issues that are often in play (such as the “politics” of the department).  However, something is clearly wrong in the USA because there are just too many shootings of unarmed civilians relative to any other “civilized” nation, and probably the Somalia-type excuses for nations as well.  What is it?

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On Monarchy

About two weeks ago, Helen Mirren appeared on Fareed Zakaria 360 to discuss her acting career, which includes playing Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film The Queen and in a stage play called The Audience that recently ended in New York City. Zakaria noted that it was ironic that Mirren had become so well-known for playing the queen, given that she is an outspoken small-r republican (i.e., opponent of the constitutional monarchy and proponent of a republic). Mirren replied that while she respects the queen as a hardworking women driven by duty to family and country, she can’t get behind the idea that the Windsor family is somehow special in a way that justifies putting them on such a huge pedestal. I suppose my sentiments on the House of Windsor could be summed up in this quote from the wonderful out-of-print book BAD TV by Craig Nelson, in which he criticized the 1992 documentary Elizabeth R that was intended to “humanize” the monarch during her infamous annus horribilis:

What the film shows in agonizing detail is that the UK is spending a fortune to have a family dress up in expensive gowns and crowns, appear in public, and make lots of small talk — and they can’t even manage these minor tasks.

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“Good White” Characters

Last week, I wrote about the negative reaction to the revelation that Harper Lee’s new book Go Set a Watchman portrays former hero lawyer Atticus Finch as a racist segregationist. Upon further thought, I think that much of the dismay revolves around the need and desire to have “good whites” in stories about racism.

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