Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

The Problem with Parody

November 25, 2014

This article saying idolatry is OK is a parody. It isn’t hard to see the target. And while I think it makes a point, it highlights for me the limits of humor. First, it isn’t really an effective argument or persuasive. Even if you want to argue the analogy (relatively fair game), making it into the parody form probably means those who disagree won’t agree. And let’s be frank – the analogy has enough problems that I don’t think it’s a great argument. Humor just doesn’t normally work this way. Some types of mockery might work against some arguments, but not strongly held ones or ones with a good degree of popularity, I think. To be more specific…

Problem #1 – the relative frequency and clarity of teaching on idolatry in both testaments is far greater than for many other issues. And it is especially powerful in the clear contrast to the polytheism of other surrounding cultures for much of biblical history. Problem #2 – there isn’t the possibility of genetic or other arguments that might cause some (whether advisedly or not) to reconsider the idolatry question (e.g., no “gene” for idolatry; no way an ethic of expressing love as an integral part of humanness could require a response). Try to take the kind of arguments that the more sophisticated and careful arguments on homosexuality and plug them into idolatry and it just doesn’t work. Comparing with the case of slavery for example (which the Bible never explicitly condemns) shows there are some more complex issues here. I still uphold the traditional view, just not so sure this is helpful.

Bookseller lessons

October 21, 2014

Not exactly “scientific”, but kind of fun, for us book-selling types.

A bit of fun

October 6, 2014

From a few weeks back, a bit of fun to start the week.


May 1, 2014

I’m not sure how I missed this helpful bit of insight. The tweets of Jaden Smith are pretty amazing. Enjoy if you are interested.

Coffee and Theology

January 5, 2014

A funny comparison of various caffeinated drinks to theological heresies.


January 5, 2014

A few of these leaked over to Michigan where I grew up, but a fun list regardless.

Good News

December 21, 2013

For me. If I were in the online dating market (which I am not). Since I am precisely 6 feet, it did provide me with a brief moment of something.

Grade Inflation

December 16, 2013

Here’s a rubric from Harvard which illustrates the issue.

Some reflections on snark

December 15, 2013

A recent essay on Gawker opposing appeals to civility has provoked some response. Two interesting ones:

Malcolm Gladwell points out that Being Nice Isn’t so Awful.

And Megan McArdle adds some thoughts on why writing bad reviews might be a bad idea.

The responses seem closer to on target. I really don’t think our era is being overwhelmed by niceness; snark too often obscures real arguments. I can think of several recent examples (this is the stuff of in different ways Jon Stewart and Redeye [both of which I generally find funny when I watch]). It is easy to be critical; I sometimes see this in students. Being constructive is harder – and better on your soul (an insight from virtue ethics).



Cold Weather Humor

December 6, 2013

As the first possible winter event approaches DC (it’s about time to strip the grocery store shelves), some winter humor seems appropriate.