Saturday Ramblings: November 26, 2016



Tomorrow marks the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for Christians. During this year, we here at Internet Monk will be exploring many of Bach’s cantatas on Sundays. I thought it fitting, therefore, that we honor Johann Sebastian Bach as our Rambler of the Week today in preparation for our posts.

The following information about Bach’s cantatas comes from a Classic FM article.

leipzig-st-thomas-church-grangerDuring his time as concert master at the Weimar court (1714-16) and again in his years as Cantor at Leipzig’s St Thomas Church (1723-29), Bach was expected to supply short, multi-movement choral works to accompany regular and occasional church services. He raised his already superior game to produce cantatas for Sundays, feast days, weddings and funerals, stamping his particular genius on a new form of dramatic religious music popular with Germany’s Lutheran congregations. The church cantata took its lead from Italian models, which in many ways amounted to sacred mini-operas.

…Devotional poetry, biblical quotations and verses from Lutheran hymns, all strong on emotion and vivid expressions of mankind’s suffering, were used by Bach as cantata texts. The published sources of words provided scope for choruses, solo songs, dramatic recitatives and congregational hymns. For his second cantata cycle (1724-25), Bach broke with convention to invent a unified form of cantata based on the words and music of seasonal hymns. He used the first and last verse of the appropriate hymn for the opening and closing movements, arranging and paraphrasing the words of the middle verses to suit setting as recitatives and arias.

…It is the sheer variety of Bach’s writing that catches the ear. One could listen to six or seven of his cantatas and never tire of the inventive brilliance of his music….

…the music sounds fresh and alive to modern ears in ways that so many compositions completed only last year do not. Above all, the essential humanity of Bach’s genius touches his entire cantata output and turns each work into a sacred offering in sound.

We’ll be “Baching” through the Church Year in the days to come, and in preparation for that, we award J.S. Bach our Rambler of the Week award today.

• • •


U.S. President Barack Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey during the 68th annual presentation of the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House in WashingtonWhy should people extend the practice of giving thanks beyond the Thanksgiving table?

What’s behind the U.S. “turkey pardoning” ritual?

Is Thanksgiving constitutional? (and those who said “no” long ago)

Why are most Christmas TV specials so bad?

Can anything be called “racist” without controversy?

Scientists are beginning to understand the relationship between aging and disease, but can they do anything about it?

What can we learn from this Orthodox nun?

Can our children tell the difference between “fake” news and “real”?

Are pastors discarding the ‘Evangelical’ label?

Is France the next country to experience a populist election upset?

• • •


Kicking off a “joyous” Christmas season…


The New York Post reports:

An Atlantic City man was fatally shot and his brother was wounded in the parking lot of a New Jersey mall – one of at least two fatal Black Friday-related shootings nationwide, officials said.

In Reno, Nev., a Walmart customer was gunned down during a fight over a parking spot just after doors were opened Thursday night.

And in Tennessee, a person also was shot Thursday at a Memphis mall while shoppers were taking part in early Black Friday sales.

Finally, our country is returning to a traditional Christmas.


And then there’s these communists…


While some people acted like true Americans and attacked the stores Friday, USA Today reports that some Scrooges were commemorating “International Buy Nothing Day.”

International “Buy Nothing Day” falls on the day after American Thanksgiving each year. Celebrated since the 1990s, the day is meant to inspire worldwide action against mass consumerism, according to Adbusters, a not-for-profit anti-consumerism magazine. 

“Buy Nothing Day isn’t just about changing your habits for one day it is about rediscovering what it means to live freely,” according to Adbusters. “Join millions of us in over 60 countries on November 25, 2016, for Buy Nothing Day and see what it feels like to take a stand against corporate domination.”

The magazine encouraged people to organize a credit-card cut up or a zombie walk through a mall to boycott mass spending during the holidays.

I bet they voted for Bernie Sanders too.


Then, from the other end of the spectrum comes this advice to businesses…


At Forbes, William Vanderbloemen strongly encourages businesses not to participate in Black Friday or other such “bottom-end” sales. To build a strong business, one should instead focus on quality, excellence, and not appealing to customers’ baser instincts.

Do good work, deal with others responsibly, sell quality products, build customer loyalty, offer your clients items or services they can view more as an investment in long-term satisfaction.

When you’re deciding what to do about your business plan for Black Friday this year, keep a clear focus on what you want to achieve. Chances are, you’ll find that the most business-sustaining and customer-satisfying work won’t be found in a glossy Black Friday advertisement with the lowest prices. Excellence comes at a high price, but the chances you’ll regret that decision are low.

Pretty good advice, I’d say.

Now, let’s begin to more effectively address how more of us can access those kinds of goods and services.


From the great gifts for Christmas dept…

hipster-nativity-setThe Hipster Nativity Set

With gluten free feed for the animals, and Joe and Mary preparing to post their selfies to FB, of course.


Troubling reports about Tullian…


Here we go again. Another celebrity pastor in the crosshairs of his critics. I had hoped better for Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson) when he became the Sr. Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where D. James Kennedy had been a general in the culture wars for the Christian Right for many years. I thought it was “a ray of hope in South Florida” at the time, but the trajectory has been downward from there.

In particular, I thought his teaching on grace from a more Lutheran perspective might help set some people free, but it may only have covered for his own abuse of freedom.

After losing his church and wife last summer to an adultery scandal in which he admitted to having at least two affairs, Tchividjian has re-emerged in the pulpit and with a possible new book, as well with a new wife and a message about God’s “magnificent intervention.”

Here is a timeline of Tullian’s alleged abuses.

Nate Sparks has called Tchividjian a “master of manipulation” and has written several articles exploring how he “groomed” various women in inappropriate ways and manipulated others in his churches to cover up his abuses.

Another sad day in evangelical Christianity.


Inside a “Fake News” creator’s world…


An NPR reporter tracked down Jestin Coler, who creates fake news for a living, and did an interview with him recently. Coler’s company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites — he won’t say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake news businesses out there, which makes him kind of like a godfather of the industry.

He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.

“What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana, based on something that had just never happened,” Coler says.

But it was during the recent presidential election season that Coler’s work really expanded. However, he says this isn’t just about Donald Trump; it has been a long time coming, especially with regard to the world of conservative politics.

Well this isn’t just a Trump supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin’s famous blasting of the lame-stream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn’t something that started with Trump. This is something that’s been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters. When we were coming up with headlines it’s always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.

We’ve tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You’ll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.

Though Coler says he will be getting out of the fake news business, he thinks it is even going to grow bigger and will be harder to identify as it evolves.

• • •


Finally, forty years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, 1976, The Band gave its farewell concert at Winterland in San Francisco. On hand to help say goodbye to this influential rock group were some of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 1960s and ’70s.

The event was turned by Martin Scorcese into what many think is the greatest rock concert film of all time, The Last Waltz. In honor of that night and the magnificent film that continues to help us enjoy it today, here is a stage full of some of the best rock musicians of that era singing “I Shall Be Released.”

97 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: November 26, 2016

  1. In the last election I heard a lot about the “angry” white Trump voters and even saw an article about the “white rage” of Trump voters.

    You didn’t read my brother and his family’s postings on facebook. Plenty of rage.


  2. that so many people just don’t care about the truth.

    For many people the end totally justifies the means. Christians / Evangelicals included.


  3. I find almost all news reminding me of the amateur news casts of high school and almost never better. Those blondes on Fox want to make snow angels. Spoiled to the utmost never realizing what a hardship snow is to business and the old. I have to walk away always after only a few minutes. Sad to me.


  4. I won’t scream ever, Instead I will smile, Put nails in my hands and feet and I will embrace this pain. The pain I can’t stand is in the meanness of Men”s hearts. I’ll stick to feeding cats they run to say hello no matter what vehicle I’m in they seem to know.


  5. There is the issue of more diversity on the Left. This Will Rogers quote is still particularly applicable.

    “Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.”

    However, I will note that the few instances of left-ish “fake news” I did see were quickly debunked by someone and the person who had originally shared it also shared the correction and apologized for spreading something fake. Is that actually common with right wing fake news after it is initially shared or does it have a greatly likelihood of going viral instead?

    Any particular individual, myself included, can be fooled into thinking something fake is real. But that’s not really the question. The issue isn’t whether or not any given person believes it, it’s whether or not it quickly gets identified as fake and corrected at the group level. Lack of homogeneity on the left probably accounts for at least some of that resistance at the group level.


  6. In the case of this election, multiple experts point to Russian deliberately injecting or escalating fake news. So state-sponsored or state-promoted propaganda would actually be the accurate way to report it. And, unsurprisingly, Russia appears to have been pretty effective at the propaganda game. And we are much more susceptible to propaganda than many people have been willing to admit.

    Curiously, I saw fairly little of the propaganda, but then I don’t do Facebook at all and I tend to prune nonsense (through muting, blocking, or simply not following) out of what I see on twitter.


  7. If both sides are susceptible, what are the examples on the left? On the right, not just a few people say at home, but mainstream, high level politicians get caught up by nonsense stories like Jade Helm 15 is an Obama attempt to take over Texas. I think it comes from the same sort of place as the rejection, mainly by the right, of the idea of a value in expertise
    So a guy with no scientific training who holds a snowball knows as much about the global climate as thousands of people who study it for a living and some guys Facebook stream knows as much about politics as trained and well resourced journalists.


  8. 🙂

    I’m very fond of the OLD film with Loretta Young and Celeste Holmes, called
    “Come To The Stable”

    I watch it curled up in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket, and drinking hot cocoa. I always cry at the ending. So beautiful.


  9. Reading about Saint Skobtsova lifted my spirit. She was and is a light to our times. May many more like her appear and live among us.


  10. I like most of The Last Waltz, the various artists and bands, in their various degrees, as individual musical acts and performers. Some of them I love, like Neil Young and Dylan.

    But I don’t care for the singalongs. The voices of these artists were (and some still are) very unique, often very unmusical when measured by any objective standard, and only listenable within definite constraints, when they’re interpreting and delivering songs in their particular way. Put together, they do not sing well in unison, and let’s not even talk about harmonies. Much cacophony.


  11. I have heard that of the Castro brothers, Raul was the one more open to compromise and accommodation but he was overruled by Ideologically Pure Fidel (whose name appropriately means “The Faithful One”).


  12. Forgive me, Chaplain Mike – a gentle reminder. Eastern Christians have an Advent of 40 days, beginning on 15 November, and the liturgical new year for us is 1 September, which was the beginning of the Romano-Byzantine civil year from about 500 AD. This was connected to collection of taxes at harvest-time, and Christians saw the connection to the Jewish harvest-time festivals marking the Jewish new year as well. The most important thing about this approach to the calendar is that Holy Week and Pascha end up pretty much smack dab in the middle of the church year, which is fitting for “the Feast of Feasts” – everything, including the calendar, points to it and draws meaning from it.

    I have such good childhood Advent memories; I grokked the symbolism of it all even as a youngster.

    A blessed Advent to all!



  13. One of the many reasons for Bach’s greatness. Two other things that make him the Rambler of the Week:

    When Bach was 20, he walked 280 miles one way, and then back again, from Amstadt to Lübeck to study with Buxtehude. The other thing is his music’s return from essentially being forgotten. While alive, he was highly regarded; after his death, his work was regarded as old-fashioned, and not all that much was actually published. The composers from 50-75 years after Bach’s death whom we now regard as “the greats” were the only ones who really studied his work. It was Felix Mendelssohn who was mostly responsible for the “Bach Revival” of the mid-19th century, when the broader public once again began to appreciate Bach’s genius.

    And that’s what is so impressive: the sheer magnitude of his creativity. Baroque music had very definite compositional rules that had to be followed, but most Baroque composers’ ingenuity within those limitations turned into reams of interesting individual works, not simply copies of other music. Of course, Bach was head and shoulders above most other composers in this regard. Yes, Bach broke the rules – as did all the great Baroque composers – but in truth, the rule-breaking didn’t occur that often, usually when there was no other solution to a compositional problem, and the great composers understand that a little edginess contributes to the interest. Most listeners don’t hear or know when those rule-breaks occur; they simply enjoy the beauty.



  14. Made-up news is simply the old grocery store tabloids transferred to online. When I was growing up, the only people that bought the tabloids were uneducated people, or those who were addicted to the sensational. A few others bought them for entertainment. Most people knew the articles were not real news. That’s back when we had mainstream journalists who had ideals – not all did, but enough of them who eschewed yellow journalism and tried to deliver news without slant. One reason so many people don’t trust mainstream media anymore is that those journalistic ideals have faded. It’s really tough to find basic reporting, attributions from real people instead of print sources, and news sources that allow reporters to investigate rather than editorial rooms deciding what stories are going to be written for “our kind of people” (the NYT is pretty blatant about the latter). I know every news source is slanted, but it seems like there are so few in the mainstream media who even attempt to deliver facts with at-least-not-very-biased background reporting. Sigh.



  15. Back in the day – the ’60s and ’70s – before there was any name for the day after Thanksgiving except the day after Thanksgiving, our family would leave are rural coastal town on the day after Thanksgiving and head to the largest city in the next county, where we would check in to a motel and spend Friday and Saturday doing most of our Christmas shopping. There were sales, but not the “bottom end” kind – just ordinary sales. My Dad did some shopping with us but also spent a lot of time in the motel room napping – he was often up during the night responding to ambulance calls, and relished the quiet sleep time. My mother would charge everything, and then go back home, withdraw the contents of her Christmas Club account from the bank, and pay off the bill – Christmas without debt. On Sunday we would go to Mass, have a big breakfast at Sambo’s (some of you may remember that chain) and head home. Ah, memories.

    I haven’t bought anything on Black Friday for a number of years. Yesterday I did purchase some sheet music, but it was not on sale – the composer got all of his fair share.



  16. Well said. Hugo Chavez tried to work himself into the Marxist Trinity and failed worse than Fidel. These guys never give up (Proverbs 27.22).

    Interesting how many world leaders laud him today. The only one who makes sense from former Sweden Prime Minister Carl Bildt:

    “With his revolution in 1959 Fidel Castro set up a still struggling Communist dictatorship. Neither a political nor an economic model. RIP”


  17. Of course, the Clintons have had a hand in every evil since the beginning of time, even in ones that never happened, as snopes well knows but is hiding (Conspirators!). Even to question this is strong evidence that one is part of their conspiracy, or a dupe of it, which amounts to the same thing. The Fall of Adam and Eve? Clintons. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? Clintons. The Rape of the Lock? Clintons. The defeat of the US in the Vietnam War? Clintons. The hoax concerning human-caused climate change? Clintons, and their ally Al Gore (Not the Chinese, except as they were dupes of the Clintons [and Gore]!).


  18. I must say, the idea of people doing “zombie walks” through malls on Black Friday appeals to me. Not enough to actually go into a mall on Black Friday and do it, mind you, but I like the idea of it. I wish the zombies well.

    And while I’m on the subject. . .

    . . . maybe zombie walks through hipster churches might be a good idea, or was the hipster nativity merely crass commercialism and not an “outreach”? Hard to discern, sometimes, despite protests and denials to the contrary.

    (There are so many intelligent, earnest posts on the Rambler. I feel it my duty to focus on the trivial and whimsical.)


  19. Regarding TT, both Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board have been on this story since it broke. Go there for more details.


  20. I was surprised that the majority of the people owning the fake news truth were people over 55 – baby boomers.

    Fake News is nothing new. I was involved in UFOlogy back in my teens. This was the 1960s, with the blood feud between the Nuts & Bolts UFOlogists of NICAP and the Contactees bringing Words of Life from The Space Brothers. Only thing both could agree on was the Air Force Coverup Conspiracy. High Weirdness with a LOT of Fake News and Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory, even back then.


  21. None of the problems (real and imagined) these people see have ANY solutions that fit those criteria. Some of them don’t have any solutions, PERIOD.

    I see it as a secularized Apocalyptism — Hal Lindsay without the Rapture. Everything’s getting worse, it’s all gonna burn, there’s nothing you can do, It’s All Over But The Screaming. (Where have we heard that before? Did Left Behind Fever actually split from the Christian Bubble and merge with other Grinning Apocalyptic Nihilism?)


  22. But Fidel had a LOT of fanboys and worshippers here back in the Eighties. The Social Justice Movement, whose Holy Trinity was Marx, Lenin, and Fidel against the Evil Empire of Reagan.

    Most of the fanboys were rich “Yuppie Puppies” from the Exclusive Gated Communities(TM), carrying on a tradition dating back to the “English Jacobins” — upper-class twits, minor sons of noble families, who cheered on the French Revolution from the safety of across the channel.


  23. You are being very generous with the bias of the mainstream media. This isn’t just a few people reporting on the same incident with different details. The news can be manipulated in such a way that they aren’t technically lying, but they aren’t really telling the truth either, and it gets done all the time, especially in an election season. It is about protecting the party line, not telling the truth and nothing but the truth


  24. Actually, if you say the word ‘orange’ really, really slowly, it sounds like the word gullible. At least here in central Alabama. It’s a relic of the etymological history of our Scots-Irish language. I saw it on a news site on facebook. Really.

    My kids’ friends always fall for that.


  25. Slanted news is 3 people that see a car accident and differ on the sequence of events or if ice on the road or driver inattention was the cause of the mishap . Or, if you will, the differences between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John reporting on the life of Christ.They each had their own idea of what was most important about it but agreed that Christ lived, died, and rose.
    Fake news is reporting an accident that never happened, or saying that an accident that did happen was caused by a gunshot to the head of the driver when there was no gunshot and the driver walked away from the scene uninjured. That is not a slant; that is a lie.


  26. No, because conservative vs liberal is NOT a linear spectrum; it is a branching tree. There are fewer branches in the right side of the tree than the left, so you can ‘exploit’ much more solidarity around particular themes. The Left is more bushy.

    And there IS identification with “conservative” issues on the Left;. If you mean particularly fiscal conservativism. Look at the Strong Towns movement for example, with a strong emphasis on fiscal issues in traditionally “blue” spaces, but generally Left on social issues. I am a Lefty with paid membership in Strong Towns and other organizations with one foot in “right” side fiscal conservatism. Some branches of the tree resemble vines. There are people on the Left who can laugh at Right side humor, for example.


  27. Both smarmy “knowingness,” and in-your-face “know-nothing-ness,” make one prone to deception, that’s true. What bothers me on the “know-nothing” side is how much of this attitude makes one susceptible to postmodernist habits of thought, which depend for their vindication on power as the arbitrator of truth: Might make right, and might makes one right.


  28. The coverage wasn’t biased IMO it was content-free. Heap all the blame on journalist you want, I won’t be there to defend them – only word I can thibk of is LAZY. Correct coverage of an issue is EASY – leed with the data, then report what candidates say rather than giving people air-time followed by some kibd of crappy fact-check. Ask anyone who has organized a civic debate – that is how it is done. You never give candidates control of the floor.


  29. You know if you say gullible without moving your lips with a southern twang, it sounds just like coon hound? Try it. You’ll be surprised.


  30. My three children all texted me this morning with the news.

    Excellent, informative, and well-written article at NYT:

    As for me, a Cuban-American who came here in 1961 at the age of 10, frankly, I am somewhat numb at this news. Unlike my compadres in Miami I will join no celebration of his death. There’s no logic in that. Nor do my emotions lean in that direction.

    In truth, however, his death will change little. Perhaps Raul will be less pressured now to advance his more progressive agenda. Perhaps he will keep his promise to retire in 2018. Perhaps a new generation of leaders will rise up to create a more democratic society committed to civil rights. Perhaps Cuban Christians will now be allowed to practice their faith without discrimination and repression. Perhaps they will stop arresting dissidents. Now that I will definitely celebrate!

    In years to come Fidel will continue to be venerated by a few and scorned by many. He once said, “history will absolve me.” Perhaps, but not in the way he believed. And as truth surfaces of his economic and political failures, not to mention, dominance and oppression over the people, he will go down in history as another Stalin.


  31. Propaganda is the intentional falsification of truth, based on and for an ideological agenda; biased news is the result of unbalanced interpretation of real events. The thing about propaganda is that it’s never open to dialogue, much less correction; bias, in its harder or softer forms, may be open to both.


  32. Agree,. Age certainly correlated to this – probably because age correlates to resentment and the sense – not entirely without validity – of being abandoned. Sadly, the sense of abandonment seems to drive counter-productive behaviour.


  33. I think that is because they grew up with strong news organizations with strong editorial staffs and fact checkers. They have no concept that “news” on the Internet is made by some guy in his bedroom in Macedonia. They assume, very wrongly, that if something is posted online with a logical sounding web name, someone has checked it over.
    They don’t understand the difference between a .org, .com. .net, site and how and why those designations are given. They don’t understand the technology, they don’t understand the revenue models of Facebook, Twitter, and the like, and they have been primed for years that mainstream news is full of lies. So they are ripe for the picking.

    I posted an article on Facebook (from a credible source!) about how to spot fake news. An elderly relative of mine liked it but she is one of the worst fake news posters on my Facebook feed! And then she proceeded to post more fake news.


  34. BINGO!!! Robert. What results is a smarmy “knowingness” exhibited by the disdainful sniff and the dismissive turn of the head. BOTH sides are susceptible!


  35. –? “I’d say there is a huge difference between slanted news and made up news. The Battle of Little Bighorn is going to look different from the viewpoints of Custer’s men and the Native Americans. The Roman Catholic Church presents the story of Martin Luther differently than Lutheran Churches. This is human nature.”

    Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon”, anyone?


  36. Robert, biased news IS propaganda when presented on a national scale because the presenters have an agenda, whether they are aware of it or not. What is the difference between fake and biased? Sure, one has a version of the true events, but it still removes the readers opportunity to make their own decision. I really don’t see much of a difference.


  37. So, right-tilting fake news works better, because many considered, or who consider themselves, liberal are more conservative than others or they think, and so the target audience is actually much larger than is commonly believed?


  38. Reporting news that really isn’t news, as though it WERE news, thereby MAKING it news, by those who say they are just REPORTING the news. THAT is the NEW news of this post election cycle. Who are complicit? Major news sources are not innocent either, but they hide behind refined images and words spoken in a measured and urbane manner by manicured and blow dried mannequins as though what they say is truth. What they report isn’t necessarily false, it was just incomplete.

    The coverage wasn’t so much biased as it was exclusionary. The loudest and most glaring images were shown, but the more subtle issues were ignored because the viewers are treated like children who are not yet ready for the real world.

    We should ALWAYS be skeptical about what we see and hear or we risk being led in a direction that we have not really chosen for ourselves. Many people and groups vote reflexively for one side or the other, even when “their guys” espouse views that are in contradiction to their interests.

    Basically I am a pessimist when it comes to media and politics, and throwing a political anarchist into the mix does not guarantee that things will change. The only thing we can do is to pray for our country and our “leaders”, even if we don’t like them.


  39. There is a difference. Made up news is done deliberately, while biased news is often done naively. Still, it has a corrosive affect, and news media will often refuse to publish stories that go against their ideology or their favored politician. This is done while claiming objectivity. People see the hypocrisy and lose faith in the regular media and will ironically turn to the fake news in hope of finding truth.


  40. I was surprised that the majority of the people owning the fake news truth were people over 55 – baby boomers. As much as they bash the slacking, whining generations under them, the boomers both slacked in the easy google to see if the story was real and whined when someone told them they were supporting a lie. They did it with gusto and refused to believe facts when it didn’t fit their narrative.


  41. I was surprised that the majority of the people owning the fake news truth were people over 55 – baby boomers. As much as they bash the slacking, whining generations under them, the boomers both slacked in the easy google to see if the story was real and whined when someone told them they were supporting a lie. They did it with gusto and refused to believe facts when it didn’t fit their narrative.


  42. It is different enough that the author is both right and wrong. It works differently on the Identity Left – largely because the IL, while vocal, is actually quite small. The simple issue of scale changes the problems, there isn’t really an IL major media channel. Outside of the IL the Left is a very fractured thing,. You just aren’t going to see a single meme grab all that much traction. Anything to do with housing affordability is probably one’s best bet – but that isn’t going to get much play outside the boundaries of a metro.


  43. And I’m very displeased to see that the word narrative has been co-opted by pervasive media and now popular usage rooted in postmodern understandings.


  44. Yeah, “You just have to suffer” doesn’t float well with any segment of the American populace, though some have more practice at it than others.


  45. We’ve tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You’ll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.

    When Coler says this in regard to creating fake news, I just don’t believe it. I think he’s flattering liberals to manipulate them (us?), floating a bit of false information, for whatever pecuniary purposes he might have in mind. I think that, if packaged correctly, it’s as easy to dupe liberals as conservatives with false new. I don’t believe Coler here; he’s being a con man in this.


  46. ” you really need to offer an alternative they can envision, in the near-ish future, and optimally take some kind of step towards.”

    None of the problems (real and imagined) these people see have ANY solutions that fit those criteria. Some of them don’t have any solutions, PERIOD. But saying so won’t win many popularity contests…


  47. “”” – believes this is no reason to drop evangelical. “That’s backwards,” he writes. “It’s not the label that supported Trump, it’s people – White…””””

    It does kinda continue to amaze me how Head Space many of these “leaders” are – IMO, they have an nearly juvenile understanding of how language Works. It is a label, that yes, identifies, a category of people… but, no, they cling to a historical and etymological way of defining works. Is it that the “Evangelical” label issue is not an Identity Politics issue – at least for these leaders – but evidence of a cognitive defect, that it betrays kind of magical thinking about words and language? These arguments read more and more like a form of dualism where there is realm of Language and then Reality which someone becomes more or less correlated to The True meaning of terms over time.

    That a word has many meanings and **changes** over time is a notion these biblical scholars should be intimately familiar with.

    If you want to ‘reach’ people, about anything, maintaining an inside and an outside language is something to be actively minimized; otherwise it will betray you, as there is so much habituation in human communication.


  48. The new thing is that the propaganda is being written by profiteers, who are tailoring the fictional news to their target audience’s biases for profit, rather trying to ideologically shape biases through fictional news.


  49. The decline, or galvanization, of “Evangelical” is a hopeful sign. People are finally accepting what the word has meant for years – it is defined by politics and social issues, full stop – a realization which is promising for substantive conversation rather than dancing around a truth everyone knows but lacks the courage to recognize.


  50. > People who don’t do Facebook or Twitter can’t seem to grasp how ubiquitous it is

    Yep. Facebook is a horribly depressing place.

    > would try to combat it when I could

    It was a hard lesson when I first became politically [re]engaged. How little a category of people cared about information – and that they won’t take something down, or even stop reposting the same thing in the future, after you, in person, show them the incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. It took me years to adapt to the reality of this; that so many people just don’t care about the truth.

    One thing I have learned is that it has so much to do with FEELINGS – expressed via News [false or otherwise]. Sometimes you get get past the shields *IF* you first listen actively to the blather – as it is an expression of what they FEEL – and if they believe you have listened to that, sometimes they will then listen to a substantive argument. But you really need to offer an alternative they can envision, in the near-ish future, and optimally take some kind of step towards.


  51. But racism in concert with populism has a uniquely virulent and longstanding pedigree on the conservative side. Whether on left or right, populism combined with antisemitism has resulted in the death of Jews: Jews in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were scapegoats of ideologically driven populist racism from opposite ends of the political spectrum, that’s true. But the populist racism we are seeing rise in Europe is a revival of the racism and antisemitism of traditionally Christian nations, and as such it is of the right and has a much longer pedigree than that of the left. The nations of Europe have had long practice in this kind of thing, well before leftist ideologies even came into existence.


  52. I’d say there is a huge difference between slanted news and made up news. The Battle of Little Bighorn is going to look different from the viewpoints of Custer’s men and the Native Americans. The Roman Catholic Church presents the story of Martin Luther differently than Lutheran Churches. This is human nature.
    What I see is completely faslified stories. One that springs to mind is a story about an arson attack on the house of a man somehow associated with Hillary Clinton’s email investigation. There was no fire, there was no death, the man in question does not exist, and the “story” was from a newspaper that does not exist. The guy who put together the article admits he totally and completely made it all up and made a lot of money off the number of people who clicked on and shared the story on Facebook. This is not bias but lies. Lies that can spread like wildfire.

    Tell a lie after enough and it becomes the truth….


  53. Thank you for kicking off a series on Bach’s liturgical cantatas. They’re truly the best of Bach’s music! I’ve been posting the appropriate cantata on my Facebook timeline every Sunday morning for years now. Heh, heh! The first place I visit every Sunday morning is the Lutheran Church Year page ( ) on the Bach Cantatas Website. The idea was inspired by the late Robert J. Lurtsema, radio host extraordinaire of Morning Pro Musica on WGBH Radio out of Boston, who played a Bach liturgical cantata every Sunday morning. Robert J played them in numerical order according to BWV number, but his successor Brian McCreath started the practice of playing them according to what Sunday in the liturgical year they were composed for, and continues to do so on his Bach Hour every Sunday morning. I just can’t think of a better way to start off the day than with Bach’s music!


  54. I don’t care if pastors discard the “Evangelical” label or not. We’ll find out soon enough, if that’s what they do as a group or not. Whenever it does (or doesn’t) happen, it will seem irrelevant to me. Don’t care.


  55. > ” But what they have done is present it with a slant to promote a narrative that isn’t necessarily true.”

    And the issue becomes when does “slant” become “tilt” become “topple”

    Maybe it’s all fake, just to what degree?
    Or for those of us more higher minded – It’s all truth, just to what degree?


  56. On the link “Are pastors discarding the ‘Evangelical’ label?”, I have always has the question, “What defines that ‘Evangelical’ means?” For Lutherans, we can point to the Book of Concord if you want to understand what Lutherans believe while those part of the Anglican Church can point to the Book of Common Prayer. If I asked “What does an Evangelical believe?” what answer or answers would I get?

    Is Evangelical better defined by its positions in terms of politics and social issues than its theology?


  57. The whole fake news interview has the feel of a bit of fake news itself. The problem however with the major trusted news sources isn’t that their news is fake, it is that it is slanted, it is an attempt to control the narrative more than just presenting what is going on. In the last election I heard a lot about the “angry” white Trump voters and even saw an article about the “white rage” of Trump voters. But those who have been protesting are always presented as peaceful, when clearly they are outraged, and not everything they are doing is peaceful. Are they presenting fake news? No, there are white Trump voters and I’m sure some were angry, and there were protests. But what they have done is present it with a slant to promote a narrative that isn’t necessarily true.


  58. When it comes to identity politics, populism is an effective and common weapon utilized across the full political spectrum. Progressive or conservative, right or left, globalist or nationalist – it’s the same strategy. Create a scapegoat, tribalize the landscape and energize the base. It’s worked for centuries and it works today. Everyone uses it. And sometimes the “wrong” candidate wins. Either way it’s the same tactic. And either way we continue to fall for it..


  59. The fake news thing is, in my opinion, one of the most frightening things to bubble up to the top during this election. I saw so much of it on Facebook and would try to combat it when I could. Usually it took me less than a few minutes to verify the untruth. I also discovered that many people would not delete the fake news post or even believe my sources when I pointed out that the fake news was from, for example, a newspaper that did not exist. Snopes,, etc are considered biased liberal (and thus unreliable) fact checking sources by far too many people I encounter. People who don’t do Facebook or Twitter can’t seem to grasp how ubiquitous it is and that it is not news with a liberal or conservative viewpoint or news that is reported before all the facts are known, but information that is simply & purposely not true. One former co-worker was called out on some of his many false Facebook posts and admitted he didn’t read the articles. He also did not delete the posts.
    Propaganda? I’m not even sure it rises to that level, but the results are the same. I find it incredibly frustrating and dangerous.


  60. Pastor Dave Miller takes a stand.

    :I am taking a prophetic stand against a great evil I’ve seen on several of my friends’ Twitter and Facebook posts. On lists of great Christmas movies, they include action classics like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon on the list. People, this evil must be banished from the land. We must agree with one mind that such movies – while interesting, exciting, and funny – are NOT Christmas movies.

    There will be no argument on this people. I have spoken, and after all, I am the president of the Pastors’ Conference.”


  61. And in other news, El Jefe Fidel FINALLY died yesterday. I should probably be sympathetic and sorry that that man has died… but I’m not there yet.


  62. CM, Marine Le Pen’s party is openly racist and white supremacist. Always has been. I would hardly call them “populist.”

    They are very scary. Her father, who used to run the party, was making gleeful statements about the Ebola epidemic in Congo and various other African countries formerly ruled by the French and Belgians, declaring that *that* lowered the number of potential immigrants to France. 😦


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