'Meh'st Week Ever – Sunday, January 18

Part of a new weekly series on things that I find while perusing teh internets.
1. The Bush Years This fascinating graphic from The Atlantic magazine gives a visual comparison between data from 2000 and 2008: the Bush years. Some dramatic, but unsurprising contrasts (like Apple Computers market capitalization and GM market cap) as well as some that are relatively static, and therefore surprising (crime rate and number of active-duty military personnel).bush-map
2. Imitation of Life This one is a long one, but I find it fascinating. I first caught this as a passing reference in a discussion on Pam’s House Blend of Ken Blackwell, the black Ohio Republican who is trying to become chairman of the RNC. He publicly defended the controversial parody song “Barack the Magic Negro,”and more importantly to the readers of the Blend, he also supports the GOP’s standard issue homophobia. The Blend was taking down the argument that gay rights are not civil rights because gay people can choose to be in the closet. They referenced the practice of many light-skinned blacks of “passing” and how that was a contentious issue back in the day among both the black community and the wider society. Then they made a passing reference to Imitation of Life, a 1959 movie about the horrors that can happen when people deny their race. The end of the movie is a melodramatic scene in which the light skinned daughter of a black woman who has been passing as white (the daughter, that is) throws herself at her mothers coffin, knowing that it is too late.
When I watched it, I was tickled, because at the time, I thought the woman playing the daughter was unquestionably white. I looked her up, and found that Susan Kohner (b.1936) is the daughter of a Mexican actress and a Jewish film producer. That’s as far “ethnic” as Hollywood was willing to go at the time without actually hiring black actors. There are notable exceptional multiracial entertainers working in Old Hollywood, the late Eartha Kitt being a good example, but there has been progress since then. Maybe one day we will even see Latino actors and actresses that can go their whole careers without playing gang members, field workers or maids.

Clearly not black.
Clearly not black.

3. Mark Driscoll This profile of Mark Driscoll, the cussing pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA intrigued me. On one hand, I think that Protestant America needs to change, but I am not sure that this is the way to do it. It irritates me that he seems to walk back on a lot of progress of the last century (Do we really need another church that says that it’s the woman’s role to care for her husband and be obedient to him? Even if we tell her that it’s not demeaning, but the destiny of God’s strong woman?) while obliterating the good things about the church. Is it too much to ask that my spiritual leader be as clean living as he can? What is wrong with the idea that those who really hear the call must live by different rules than the people that they minister to? What separates Mark Driscoll and Greg Malia, the Partying Priest?
4. Mormon Gulag Holy Jesus, this site is scary. I highly recommend clicking around and learning the full story of this place. It’s basically Camp Green Lake out of Louis Sachar’s Holes, except with rampant sexual and physical abuse from peers and indoctrination by the Church of Latter-Day Saints. One thing that is ambiguous is whether this “ranch” is still in operation. I certainly hope not.
5. The top ten instances of Christian bashing in the United States, 2008. Immensely entertaining.

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