Hello. A slow week? Of sorts. A lot got done, just not much output. Is that so wrong?
I am re-reading Hannah Arendt’s essay on Bertolt Brecht in Men in Dark Times, and it seems especially pertinent to the world we live in today—how powerfully we are all tempted to not tell the whole truth, to deny reality, and the expanse of our vision in our felt need to pick sides. There's a lot to say about this essay, but just consider this, as Arendt’s final reflection on her old acquaintance:
“We always forgive somebody, never something, and this is the reason people think that only love can forgive. But, with or without love, we forgive for the sake of the person, and while justice demands that all be equal, mercy insists on inequality—an inequality implying that every man is, or should be, more than whatever he did or achieved.” (Men in Dark Times p. 248)
I recommend it.
Anyway, here's some links.
Good piece to think with about international relations in the wake of Covid:
“Based on their reading of the period between 1918 and 1939, Wright and Kahl see the present as a decisive moment. They have sounded the death knell of the international order, not only writing that the post-1945 order collapsed, but also referring to our present moment as the “post-covid era.” This opinion is representative not just of the increased attention on a shifting international order, but of executioners itching to drop the analytical guillotine. The reality, however, is that such changes, absent a major great-power war, are often more subtle and more chaotic than the mental imagery of a cohesive, identifiable order might depict.”
This seems very, very fair to me:
"the sense of surprise that continues to confront evangelical zealotry for Trump might be Noll, Marsden, and Bebbington’s greatest legacy, because the absence of discussions about race, gender, or nationalism in the collection’s reprints is made all the more glaring by their abundance in the book’s newer pieces. And the willful ignorance to these features of American evangelical life suggests that the study of evangelicalism has for too long selectively drawn from the past in order to craft a supposedly true or right version of the faith that may never have existed."
Further evidence of the crisis in white evangelical Christianity, this time in a prominent media outlet.
This is an interesting piece with some data from Christianity Today, which is a very prominent evangelical magazine.
Good discussion with Mark McGurl.
“when radicals chanted “Power to the People” (a slogan coined by the Black Panthers but adopted by activists of many stripes), they did not really mean a majority of them. After all, most Americans at the time either had turned cynical about politics or favored using power to do things leftists abhorred. Half a century later, a broad coalition that would represent working people of all races remains to be built, by progressives inside and outside the Democratic Party. The leftists of half a century ago never really tried; their successors must and can.”
There are still possibilities of learning, and teaching, and discussing, the humanities. This feels like only one example. (Others are still available in college classrooms, and some high school classrooms, around the world.) But it's a good enough example.
“We all have ugly. But that doesn’t mean we are ugly.” A thought-provoking piece, for me anyway, maybe for you too.
Have I shared this thing about Bach with you? Please read this thing about Bach, and then listen to the pieces. Oh what splendors.
Be well, everyone.