Wednesday Walk Around the Web – 05/01/2019

  • So last week was Pesach, one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar, because it commemorates the foundational myth of the exodus from Egypt as prologue to the revelation of the Torah at Sinai. This fascinating thread goes into great length about how we continue to find significance in biblical stories despite the lack of archaeological evidence that pretty much any of them actually happened. As the rabbi says, you have to transcend the Sunday school understanding of the stories, the simplified versions made accessible to children and palatable to parents. The story of the exodus is about the mistreatment of refugees and immigrants and the ruthless application of that mistreatment in the service of wider empathy; the fact that the rest of the Hebrew bible tells you this over and over again is only one way to know it. After reading some intriguing books about biblical authorship and other forms of academic context, I’ve come to consider the Tanakh in some respects the founding document of a system of ethics more than a religion, from a time when people wouldn’t have recognized a distinction — made deeper, wiser, and more subtle by the last several millennia of Jewish literature. For adults to continue to cling to simplistic conservative interpretations doesn’t only lead them to morally abhorrent conclusions, worse, it’s boring.
  • This Week in Oral Histories of Everything: The Bob Newhart Show.
  • Todd Weber brings word of an amazing find: the Catholic church has been holding its own Infinity Gauntlet in a convent in Mexico. The question is, what did Santa Teresa de Ávila do when she snapped her fingers?
  • Speaking of, the new Avengers was fun and all, but I kind of feel like Samuel Beckett’s script could’ve used some tweaking.
  • One more tidbit on Avenging: The fact that people are physically assaulting each other over spoilers for a piece of popular culture is as true a sign as can be found that Spoiler Culture needs to end. Way back in history times, Psycho trained moviegoers to get to the movies on time, Iron Man trained moviegoers to stay through the credits, and these Avengers movies should train us not to fall for spoiler frenzies that in reality are just desperate ploys for free publicity.
  • I have been told that there are areas of Reddit that are not the exclusive domain of neo-Nazis, MRAs, gamers, TERFs, or toxic fanboys. I was skeptical, but then I saw some comment sections on r/Relationships and r/AmItheAsshole, and I must admit that there are some pretty wholesome comments to be found, even if some of the folks on AITA don’t appreciate their awesome children.
  • Let’s check in elsewhere on this wide wonderful internet of ours. Over at Twitter, white supremacy doesn’t get banned the way that other terrorist movements do because the company refuses to ban white supremacist Republicans. Meanwhile, on Facebook black users get dinged for “hate speech” when trying to discuss the discrimination they face, and the chan boards keep pumping out murderers.
  • You can put art anywhere, big or small. You can make grand designs on the side of your house; you can put tiny impressionist paintings in Altoids tins.
  • If you happen to fit into the clothes you can find at thrift stores, they can be wonderful places to explore the boundaries of your gender presentation a little bit.

Leave a Reply