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Dave Swindle

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.
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116 Articles Exploring American Culture by Chris Queen

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

With Herman Cain

(Chris with Herman Cain at Smart Girl Summit, which he wrote about here.)

Back in May I edited together “10 of Chris Queen’s Greatest Hits,” a collection featuring several of my favorite pieces exemplifying the output from one of PJ Lifestyle’s strongest contributors. Today I offer a broader survey of Chris’s work. Here are links to some of his best articles across many subjects. If you haven’t yet discovered Chris’s thoughtful writing and warm spirit then here’s your place to dive in. Here are pieces going back to 2011. Also take a look at my article from last weekend, an open list-letter to Chris offering ideas in our Walt Disney research: “Why Culture Warriors Should Understand the 10 Astounding Eras of Disney Animation’s Evolution.”

The South

  1. 10 Bands That Define Southern Rock
  2. What Do Southerners Think of Paula Deen?
  3. Hollywood’s Terrible Southern Accent Syndrome
  4. Smearing the South: First Honey Boo-Boo, Now ‘The Angry Ginger’?
  5. The Southern Tourism War of 2013: Enterprise, AL vs. Covington, GA
  6. Paula Deen’s Turnaround
  7. 3 Great Southern Novels You Probably Haven’t Read…Yet…
  8. Southerners Read The Bible More Than Any Other Area Of The Country
  9. 10 Things Everybody Gets Wrong About The South
  10. 14 Fascinating Inventors and Innovators from the South
  11. The 10 Most Overrated Destinations in the South
  12. The 10 Most Underrated Destinations in the South
  13. 10 Decadent Classic Southern Dishes

Disney: The Man, The Films, The Company, The Theme Parks

  1. The Ten Things You Must Do at Disney World
  2. Walt Disney’s 5 Greatest Innovations
  3. The 10 Best Disney Songs by the Sherman Brothers
  4. Disney’s Rich Ross: The Rise And Fall Of An Entertainment Mogul
  5. The Pixar Canon: 4 Misses And 8 Hits
  6. No Redheaded Stepchild: Brave Innovations Pay Off for Pixar
  7. It’s So Good To Be Bad: What Drives the Disney Villain Fascination?
  8. The Most Controversial Disney Classic You Probably Forgot
  9. 10 Must-Read Books for Disney Nerds
  10. Walt Disney’s Fascinating Political Journey
  11. 5 Examples of the Value of Faith in Disney’s Classic Films
  12. How Disney Culture Values Excellence
  13. 5 Disney Films That Define Key Family Values
  14. Patriotism, Disney Style
  15. Walt Disney’s Optimistic Futurism
  16. Horizons: Walt Disney’s Lost Futuristic Legacy
  17. Forgotten Walt Disney World: River Country
  18. Roy Disney: The Not-So-Silent Partner
  19. Forgotten Walt Disney World: Discovery Island
  20. Forgotten Walt Disney World: If You Had Wings
  21. Walt Disney’s ‘Boys’: Beautiful Music, Brotherly Disharmony
  22. How Interactive Lines at Disney’s Parks Make Waiting For Rides Not So Bad
  23. The 5 Most Underrated Walt Disney World Experiences
  24. The 5 Most Overrated Experiences at Walt Disney World
  25. Disney Parks’ Fascinating Running Subculture
  26. Has Disney World Fulfilled Walt’s Dreams For His Florida Project?
  27. Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!
  28. RIP, Diane Disney Miller
  29. The Top 5 Christmas Season Traditions At Walt Disney World
  30. The Disney Family’s Real Life Soap Opera
  31. 3 Ways Walt Disney World Can Improve Transportation Around The Resort
  32. Disney’s Tasty, Controversial Turkey Legs
  33. Debunking the Disney Disinformation
  34. 5 Attractions I Wish Were Still At Walt Disney World
  35. How Glenn Beck Wants to Shape the Culture
  36. 5 Underrated Disney World Attractions You Shouldn’t Skip
  37. 10 Books Every Disney Fan Should Read
  38. Disney and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, Part 1: ‘The Kind Of Service We Can Offer’
  39. Part 2: ‘Something No One Has Seen Or Done Before’
  40. Part 3: ‘I Won’t Open The Fair Without That Exhibit!’
  41. Part 4: ‘At The Intersection Of Commerce And Progress’
  42. Part 5: ‘It Says Something Very Nice’
  43. Part 6: ‘A Living Blueprint Of The Future’
  44. Mary Blair: Unsung Disney Artist
  45. 10 Free Ways To Have Fun At Walt Disney World
  46. The 10 Most Overrated Disney Animated Films
  47. The 10 Most Underrated Disney Animated Films
  48. 10 Ideas For How I’d Build A Star Wars Land At Walt Disney World
  49. The 10 Most Overrated Live-Action Disney Films
  50. The 10 Most Underrated Live-Action Disney Films

TV

  1. Recreating the ’60s: Mad Men and Its Pale Imitators
  2. Five Reasons Why I Love To Watch BBC America On The Telly
  3. Person Of Interest and the Paranoia of the Digital Age
  4. Forgotten Christmas: Five Lesser-Known Holiday Specials
  5. Five TV Shows That Didn’t Get the Chance They Deserved
  6. Reimagining Fairy Tales: Grimm, Once Upon A Time and Their Modern Spin On Fantasy
  7. ‘When The **** Hits The Fan’: The Eccentrics of Doomsday Preppers
  8. How the History Channel Transformed into Conspiracy Theory Central
  9. 5 Scenarios You Can Always Expect on Hell’s Kitchen
  10. Jack’s Back! 5 Reasons to Get Excited About 24: Live Another Day
  11. 6 Contestants To Watch On The New Season Of MasterChef
  12. The 10 Funniest Episodes of Seinfeld
  13. 10 Observations from Season 12 of Hell’s Kitchen
  14. 12 Questions with Monti Carlo, MasterChef Season 3 Star and Host of Make My Food Famous

Books

  1. Book Review: The Forest of Assassins by David Forsmark and Timothy Imholt
  2. Hope & Change… And Disinformation & Glasnost
  3. Book Review: It’s Kind Of A Cute Story, by Rolly Crump & Jeff Heimbuch
  4. Book Review: Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms
  5. A New Way Of Looking At The Civil War

Self-Improvement

  1. How I Lost 25 Pounds without Having to Run

Movies

  1. Essential Christmas: The 10 Best Holiday Specials And Movies
  2. 5 Reasons Why I Can’t Wait For Skyfall, The New James Bond Movie
  3. Oscar’s Only Human: The 10 Biggest Academy Awards Blunders
  4. The 5 Best and 5 Worst James Bond Theme Songs
  5. 4 Surprises from the Academy Awards
  6. Robin Williams’ 10 Best Performances

Music

  1. 5 Reasons Why I Always Say I’ll Never Watch The Grammys Again
  2. The Civil Wars: The Power of Music and the Hope of Restoration
  3. Meet The Least Likely Songwriter to Have A Top Ten Hit
  4. It’s Time For Christian Music Artists To Step Up Their Creative Game
  5. 4 Quick Observations from the Grammy Awards
  6. What’s Wrong with Country Music Today?
  7. 9 Questions On Music And Faith With Singer-Songwriter Melanie Penn

Exploring the Judeo-Christian Values in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania:

  1. The Spiritual Journey Of Billy Corgan
  2. Yes, There Are Judeo-Christian Values in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 1: The Seeker
  3. Yes, There Are Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 2: The Name
  4. Yes, There Are Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 3: The Dispenser of Wisdom
  5. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 4: The Unfaithful Lover
  6. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 5: Hope From Despair
  7. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 6: Unfailing Love
  8. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 7: Repentance
  9. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 8: The Way
  10. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 9: Faith
  11. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 10: Contentment
  12. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 11: The Lost Son
  13. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 12: In The Presence Of God
  14. Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 13: Freedom

Religion in America

  1. How Far Should Churches Go to Appeal to Men?
  2. The Difference Between Happiness and Joy
  3. Finding Mr. Righteous: A Single Christian Guy’s Perspective
  4. 15 Questions About the Challenge of Finding Mr. Righteous
  5. Sean Astin Opens Up About His Faith
  6. 5 Idols that God’s Followers Allow to Get in the Way of Their Relationship with Him

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The 50 Greatest Counter-Culture Films of All Time, Part I

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Dear Adam Bellow,

I’d like to congratulate you on building and launching Liberty Island. You’ve assembled an extraordinary team of writers — 25 so far profiled at PJ Lifestyle – with several of them beginning to contribute blog posts and freelance articles here. I’ll call them out, these are some really great writers and fascinating people: many thanks to Pierre Comtois, Jamie Wilson, Roy M. “Griff” Griffis, Michael Sheldon, Clay Waters, David Churchill Barrow, and  David S. Bernstein. And Karina Fabian too is about to make her debut shortly with a wonderful piece that I’m scheduling for tomorrow. Updated: don’t miss “10 Excuses For Why We Don’t Get More Done (And Why They Are Excuses).”

I can’t wait to get to know more of the Liberty Island writers and continue collaborations.

I appreciated your recent manifesto, “Let Your Right Brain Run Free,” at National Review and really only took mild issue with what seemed to me your overemphasis on the novel and pooh-poohing of film’s greater power to hypnotize viewers:

What about Hollywood? Many conservatives talk about the need to get into movie production. I agree this is very important, but it requires a massive investment of capital, and more to the point, I think people on the right are over-impressed with the power of film. To hear some conservatives talk you’d think movies were the Holy Grail, the golden passkey to the collective unconscious. This gets things precisely backwards. Sure, a successful Hollywood movie can have a major impact. But as a vehicle for political ideas and moral lessons, movies are simplistic and crude compared with the novels on which many are based.

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis both produced big-budget movies that reached millions of people with what most of us would probably agree is a subtly conservative message. Yet both of these successful movie franchises ultimately pale in comparison with the impact of the books. Even at their best, movies are essentially cartoons and their effects are superficial and fleeting. Books engage the reader much more deeply, at a level of identification with the characters and plot that can instruct the soul and edify the mind. A hundred years from now, moreover, these classic books will still be read all over the world in dozens of languages when the films on which they are based are long forgotten or superseded by new forms of entertainment.

In short, conservatives should remember that mainstream popular culture is still largely driven by books. Fiction therefore is and will remain the beating heart of the new counterculture. This is not just my bias as a publisher. It is a practical reality — and a fortunate one for us, since there are hundreds if not thousands of conservative and libertarian writers out there today producing politically themed fiction. The conservative right brain has woken up from its enchanted sleep and it is thriving. Instead of banging on Hollywood’s front door, a better approach is to go in the back by publishing popular conservative fiction and then turning those books into films.

I will write novels someday. And I still enjoy reading good ones. Recently my wife pushed on me her newest obsession, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

Here's the new book my wife has been obsessed with lately.... I'm going to try reading it. Americanah, a novel about a Nigerian #woman coming to #America. She says that it has a lot to say of value on the subjects of racial identity and cultures, which I am researching for my book.

The vivid narrative is a fictionalization of the author’s life and tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to America and develops a career blogging about her discoveries among races and cultures. A wise excerpt from Page 273:

"What I've noticed being here is that many #English people are in awe of #America but also deeply resent it," Obinze said. Page 273 of #Americanah, a knock-you-on-your-ass great novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. #literature #culture #Africa #England #UnitedStates

The movie rights have, of course, been acquired, with Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt starring. I can’t wait to see it.

So real life inspires blogging, blogging inspires a novel — the highlights of which are the blog posts in it — which in turn inspires a movie. I wonder how they’ll depict blogging in the film. Maybe they’ll update it and make her a vlogger on YouTube instead? Part of my wife’s enthusiasm for the novel was because the character was also part of the online “natural hair community,” black and mixed race women who share YouTube tutorials about methods for giving up straightening their hair with destructive chemicals and switching to natural styles and products instead. From page 13:

No wonder my wife loves the hero of this book so much. She's a #naturalhair #counterculture activist too. Page 13 of #Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, a Gen-Xer from Nigeria who is an astonishing writer. Almost done with first chapter. She also writes like my wife does with long, flowing sentences and wry observations...

My wife in her art has called them a counterculture:

My interdisciplinary work concentrates on the Ebony woman, Gen-X leaning Millennials, and our hair. Social media and video-based tutorials have influenced many Millennial women to embrace natural representations of their ethnic hair. These young women have become pioneers of the Millennial Natural Hair Movement, an expanding and informed counterculture responding to painful trends that date back to the early twentieth century.

Here’s an example of a video she made depicting the kinds of tips that circulate on YouTube amongst Natural Hair vloggers (she gave it an artsier spin):

I think this is an expression of the paradigm for today — that the various mediums of novels, film, and online media are blending back and forth together and the line between fiction and non-fiction blurs more too.

Recently when April and I made our move to South LA this summer in our packing and unpacking I had the opportunity to go through the DVD collection I’d accumulated over the last 15 years and assess the titles that still had the most value to me. As we’ve discussed and you know I’ve written about, so many of the movies and filmmakers that I once loved as a nihilistic postmodern college leftist I now regard with varying levels of disdain, disgust, and embarrassment.

But these are ones that I continue to regard with affection, that I still return to, and that I think can offer inspiration for your growing team of counterculture crusaders looking to change the world with their art. Some of them I’m a little bit more critical of than I once was, but they all still have some usefulness in some capacity or another…

(Note: this is a version 1.0 of this list, future editions will incorporate newly discovered films and suggestions from readers…)

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100 Compelling Health and Medicine Questions Answered by Theodore Dalrymple

Monday, September 8th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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For several years now the inimitable Theodore Dalrymple has provided PJ Media and PJ Lifestyle with erudite, witty commentaries on controversies in the worlds of health, drugs, and disease, as well as their impact on culture. Here’s a collection featuring links to many of the questions he’s addressed, often in response to some shaky thinking in a new study or an ideologically slanted medical journal article.

What health and medical questions would you like to see him and other writers explore in the future? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

2011 and 2012

  1. Is Salt Really Bad for Your Heart?
  2. Are There Health Effects Due to the Financial Crisis?
  3. Should the ‘Morning After’ Pill Be Available to All Ages?
  4. Can Children Be Manipulated into Eating Their Veggies?
  5. Should We Be Worried about Bird Flu?
  6. Is Surgery Not Always Necessary for Appendicitis?
  7. Genomic Medicine: A Great Leap Forward?
  8. Aspirin: The Elixir of Life?
  9. Do Nicotine Patches Actually Work?
  10. Does ‘Good Cholesterol’ Really Help Prevent Heart Attacks?
  11. Should Women’s High School Soccer Be Banned To Reduce Knee Injuries?
  12. Is Grief Always Depression?
  13. Does Fish Oil Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
  14. Do Proactive Measures by Doctors Aid in Smoking Cessation?
  15. Can Dark Chocolate Reduce High Blood Pressure?
  16. How Come People Rarely Die of Dementia in Poor Countries?
  17. Should You Take Antibiotics?
  18. Is Obesity a Disease or a Moral Failing?
  19. Are Obese Kids Victims of Child Abuse?
  20. Need A Few Arguments Against Tattoos?
  21. Are the Treatment and Prevention of Obesity Different Problems?
  22. Why Are Psychiatric Disorders Not the Same as Physical Diseases?
  23. Do Today’s Medical Ethics Prevent New Breakthroughs?
  24. Should We Be Worried About Parasites from Cats?
  25. Do Doctors Turn Their Patients into Drug Addicts?
  26. Should Doctors Lie to Their Patients About Their Survival Chances?
  27. As Life Expectancy Increases Will the Elderly Become a Greater ‘Burden on Society’?

2013

  1. What Is the Best Way to Treat Diabetes?
  2. What Can Be Done to Reduce Post-Hospital Syndrome?
  3. How Can a Mammogram Kill You?
  4. Human Feces as Medicine?
  5. What Will Happen if I Consume Too Much Calcium?
  6. Is Marijuana a Medicine?
  7. Why Is Immunization so Controversial?
  8. Is America at the Point Where HIV Testing Should Be Routine?
  9. Is Physical Therapy Overrated?
  10. How Many Smokers Could Quit If Someone Paid Them $10 Million?
  11. Is Nutrition Really the Key to Good Health?
  12. Is It Even Possible to Accurately Measure Physical Pain?
  13. Can Doctors Determine Who Should Be Allowed to Carry a Concealed Gun?
  14. Does Practice Really Make Perfect for Doctors?
  15. Should Doctors Be Allowed to Choose Not to Treat Fat People?
  16. Should Pre-Term Infants Receive Risky Oxygen Treatments?
  17. We Mock Prudish Victorian Euphemisms, But Are We Really Any Better?
  18. How Often Do Medical Emergencies Occur on Flights?
  19. What Is the Safest Day of the Week for Surgery?
  20. Are Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases Mother Nature’s Revenge?
  21. How Dangerous Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea During Surgery?
  22. Can Advances in Medical Technology Make Us Less Healthy?
  23. Does Badgering Patients to Exercise and Eat Better Actually Work?
  24. Should an Alcoholic Be Allowed to Get a Second Liver Transplant?
  25. Can Living With Chickens Protect Against Face-Eating Bacteria?
  26. Does the Sleep Aid Zolpidem Impair Driving the Next Day?
  27. Does Too Much Sugar Increase the Risk of Dementia?
  28. Men: Need Another Excuse to Put Off That Prostate Exam?
  29. Is Drug Addiction Really Like ‘Any Other Chronic Illness’?
  30. How Many Doctors Support Suicide for the Terminally Ill?
  31. What Are the Dangers in Screening for Diseases?
  32. Was Sir Winston Churchill Right About Exercise?
  33. Should Doctors Relax the ‘Dead-Donor Rule’ to Increase Organ Transplants?
  34. Is Living Near an Airport Dangerous for Your Health?
  35. Can Money Become Medicine?
  36. Gastric Bypass or Laparoscopic Gastric Band?
  37. How Do You Measure a Good Doctor Vs a Bad One?
  38. Should You Eat Lots of Nuts?
  39. As More People Live Longer Why Are Rates of Dementia Falling?
  40. Should Treatment of Obesity Begin Before Birth?
  41. Why Is It So Difficult to Translate Genetic Breakthroughs into Clinical Benefits?
  42. Can Scientists Create a Cure for Pain From Scorpions, Spiders, and Centipedes?

2014

  1. Should the Age to Buy Cigarettes Be 21?
  2. Should You Vaccinate Your Children?
  3. Is Your Heart Attack More Likely to Kill You at Night or During the Day?
  4. A Cure For Peanut Allergies?
  5. Should Taxpayers Pay for the Junky’s Substitute Smack?
  6. Who Pays for Illegal Immigrant Tetraplegics’ Treatment?
  7. How Much Would You Pay to Survive Four Months Longer with a Terminal Disease?
  8. Euthanasia for the Insane?
  9. Does Valium Increase Your Chances of An Early Death?
  10. Are Diet Supplements Dangerous?
  11. Did Flu Drug Companies Perpetuate a Billion Dolllar Scam Around the World?
  12. What is One of the Most Dangerous Ideas in All of Medicine?
  13. Why Do Some Mothers Induce Illness in Their Own Children?
  14. Why Might a Doctor Be Relieved When a New Study Fails To Reduce Deaths?
  15. Should Prisoners Receive Better Health Care Than the General Population?
  16. Is Ebola the World’s Most Terrifying Disease?
  17. What Can Happen to Your Lungs if You Smoke 20 Cigarettes Every Day for A Decade?
  18. Is This the End of Mammograms to Screen for Breast Cancer?
  19. Do Medical Experiments on Animals Really Yield Meaningful Results?
  20. Will Legal Marijuana Be a Bonanza for Trial Lawyers?
  21. Should You Get Your DNA Tested to See if You’re More Likely to Get Cancer?
  22. What to do when the Risk of Treatment Outweighs the Benefits?
  23. Why Must We Take One Step Forward, Two Steps Back in the Battle Against Tuberculosis?
  24. Is Ignorance Really Bliss? What Is the ‘Nocebo’ Effect?
  25. What Does Moral Narcissism Looks Like in the Medical World?
  26. Why is Treating Statistical Markers of Disease Is Not the Same as Treating Disease Itself?
  27. Heterochronic Parabiosis: Reversing Aging With Young Blood?
  28. Should Everyone Consume Less Sodium?
  29. Does a Popular Antibiotic Raise the Risk of Heart Attack?
  30. Do You Really Need That Colonoscopy?
  31. Is It ‘Unjust’ for Doctors to Die from Ebola?

****

image illustration via shutterstock /  Sherry Yates Young

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Why Culture Warriors Should Understand the 10 Astounding Eras of Disney Animation’s Evolution

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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To my fellow Disneyphile Chris Queen,

You might recall that in January I offered up seven New Year’s resolutions that others could burgle from me Bilbo-style:

Usually when I’m working I have some combination of talk radio and Songza/Pandora on in the background. Now I’m going to replace the music with Disney films, cartoons, and documentaries, immersing myself in everything until I feel like I’ve really gotten a handle of the repeating themes and style.

New year's resolution 5: to intensity my study of #disney culture, for the next 2 weeks I will have #Disney films and documentaries and #cartoons on in background the whole time I am working. This is experiment that I will then apply to others. I need to train myself to dig deeper into the history of media and culture to find old gems and new realizations. So much that is old can be made new again.

This spring I utilized the PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon feature to pursue this project, so far blogging through all 75 of the experimental Silly Symphony series, noting themes and cultural references. I’ll have more lists in the future explaining the significance of the series and its artistic depth but for now thsese first two are a good place to get started:

In March I responded to a Roger L. Simon column with an approach for “How Conservatives Can Conquer Hollywood.” The Walt Disney method of becoming a billionaire? Depict the battle of Good Vs. Evil with innovative technology:

Conservatives should be looking to the future and to new mediums of entertainment. Humans are not going to amuse themselves by sitting around staring at screens forever. I still believe in the Breitbartian idea that the battle for the culture is more important than the fight over political ideology. Where I’ve changed is in realizing that there’s actually a force more important and powerful to affect and control. Culture is driven by technology. Movable type came before the Gutenberg Bible. Edison’s film camera came before Hollywood. The techniques of animation had to be discovered by Disney and his animators through years of experimenting with Silly Symphony and Mickey Mouse shorts before Snow White could be achieved.

So yeah, politics is downstream of culture. But technology has the power to carve the shape of the river itself.

Chris, as we start to think in a bigger picture direction with our continued research into Disney history and ideology, here’s my attempt to sort of lay out a broad look at the territory. How does this sound as a way to think of the different periods that run across the company?

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The Most Comfortable Chair For Writers On the Go?

Sunday, August 31st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

So back in February, I reviewed an extraordinary product from Sumo: the Gigantor, a premium beanbag large enough for the whole family, a replacement for a sofa. (Star Trek-obsessed household that we are, it was soon dubbed “The Tribble.”) Now Sumo has a new, portable product that also intimidates and challenges expectation:

Is this new product as successful as the Gigantor? Will it become a daily seat for me? I try and read every morning in the Gigantor — the ideal chair to lose oneself in a book. Will the Omni Reloaded become the writing chair that I’ve been needing? (I’ve come to accept that siting at the desk in front of the laptop is no longer a conducive environment to writing. Typing on a keyboard isn’t writing. And likewise we can’t all be Winston Churchill and work in bed or in some equivalent mass of comfort. For my ideal writing environment I need comfort but also to be in an up-right position)

Last week I decided to take Maura for a walk to the park and give the Omni Reloaded a field test. How does this portable beanbag hold up in the real world?

Maura and me at the park, testing out the Sumo Omni Reloaded... More pics coming that I just shot.

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109 Classic Cartoons from the ’30s and ’40s

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

All 75 of the Silly Symphonies, the Gold Standard of the Era:

  1. Walt Disney’s First Silly Symphony: ‘The Skeleton Dance’
  2. PETA Would Hate This 1929 Disney Cartoon…
  3. Nature Animated to Life
  4. A Disney Cartoon Set In Hell!
  5. Getting Drunk With Disney’s Merry Dwarfs
  6. Summer: The Sixth Silly Symphony, A Sequel to Spring
  7. Corn on the Cob as Musical Instrument
  8. A Cannibal-Version of Carmen With Clicking Human Skulls… Made By Walt Disney
  9. Frolicking Fish Almost 60 Years Before The Little Mermaid
  10. Mickey Mouse As a Polar Bear
  11. Toy Story‘s Great Grandfather?
  12. A Bug Flying Too Close to the Fire In the Darkness
  13. Innocence Incarnate: These Smooching Monkeys Will Make You Smile
  14. Goodbye Winter! Disney’s Playful Pan Emerges to Call In Spring (two cartoons)
  15. Birds of a Feather Flock Together
  16. A Cartoon First Released April 17, 1931: Disney’s Mother Goose Melodies
  17. Dora the Explorer’s Politically Incorrect Cameo in a 1931 Disney Cartoon
  18. Apparently Beavers Invented the Wheelbarrow Before Man
  19. A Sweet & Spooky Silly Symphony for Cat Lovers
  20. Egyptian Melodies Vs. Father Noah’s Ark
  21. Geppetto’s Original Workshop And Cogsworth’s Great-grandparents?
  22. When A Cavalry of Horseflies Goes To War Against the Spider
  23. Drinking Tea Before the Fox Hunt
  24. How Much Can an Ugly Duckling Grow Up Over a Decade?
  25. The Marx Brothers As Cartoon Birds
  26. A Primordial Winnie the Pooh
  27. A Dog Jail Break at the Pound!
  28. The First Technicolor Cartoon: Disney’s Still-Amazing ‘Flowers and Trees’
  29. It’s Amazing What Kinds of Cartoons Were Considered Family Friendly in 1932…
  30. Bugs In Love Battle a Blackbird in Black and White
  31. ‘Babes In the Woods’ Vs. The Witch In The Candy Cottage
  32. What Secrets Do You See Inside Santa’s Workshop?
  33. The Snake Hypnotizes His Prey
  34. The Disney Version of Noah’s Ark
  35. An Oscar-Winning Cartoon That Defined the Depression Era
  36. Who’s Ready to Open Pandora’s Box?
  37. Enter Sandman? Where We Go When We Sleep
  38. If You Don’t Pay the Piper He’ll Just Take Your Children Instead…
  39. When Walt Disney Imagined Santa Claus In Alliance With The Robot Toys
  40. The ‘Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil’ Monkeys In Cartoon Form
  41. ‘Oh, the World Owes Us a Livin’…’
  42. Among the Easter Bunny’s Secrets: Scotch-Colored Paint!
  43. Practical Pig Saved Little Red Riding Hood From the Big Bad Wolf
  44. Donald Duck’s First Appearance
  45. The Lesson of the Flying Mouse: Sometimes A Blessing Is Actually A Curse…
  46. Chill Out Today With These ‘Peculiar Penguins’
  47. Compare and Contrast: The Goddess of Spring With Snow White
  48. Slow and Steady Wins the Race?
  49. What Would You Do If Everything You Touched Turned to Gold?
  50. A Cartoon To Teach Kids About the Danger of Celebrating Crime
  51. Dreaming of an Innocent Unity With Nature
  52. A Fantasy Land Where Everything Is Made of Candy…
  53. How Did Disney’s Mae West Bird Caricature Compare With Real Life?
  54. VIDEO: If Romeo and Juliet Were A Saxophone and Cello
  55. Another 1930s Disney Cartoon with Creepy Racial Stereotypes…
  56. What Does It Take to Be the Cock o’ The Walk?
  57. What Is the Fate of Broken Toys?
  58. Elmer Elephant: Is This the Most Adorable Cartoon in the Whole Series?
  59. How Kids Can Learn To Defeat Bullies
  60.  ‘I Like a Man That Takes His Time…’
  61. The 3 Blind Mouseketeers Vs A Room of Traps
  62. A Country Mouse Discovers the Joys of Drinking in the Big City…
  63. This Very Cute Video of ‘Mother Pluto’ Parenting Chicks Will Make You Smile
  64. 3 Troublemaker Kittens Make a Mess in the Garden
  65. The Dark Secrets Hidden in the Woodland Cafe…
  66. What Is Animism?
  67. One of The Classic Breakthroughs In Animation History
  68. When Moths Fly Too Close to The Flame…
  69. 3 Babies Fishing For Stars In Dreamland
  70. Walt Disney Introduces The Farmyard Symphony on the DisneyLand TV Show
  71. Long Before Spongebob: The Underwater Circus of the Merbabies
  72. Katharine Hepburn As Little Bo Peep in Blackface
  73. Practical Pig Delivers a ‘Harsh Interrogation’ To the Big Bad Wolf
  74. This Ugly Duckling Abandond By His Family Will Melt Your Heart

12 Early Betty Boop Cartoons

  1. Betty Boop’s First Appearance
  2. Before Betty Boop Was Beautiful…
  3. Betty Boop as Snow White In A Cartoon For Jazz Lovers
  4. Your Initiation Into Betty Boop’s Secret Society
  5. ‘No, He Couldn’t Take My Boop-Oop-a-Doop Away!’ (2 cartoons featured)
  6. Why You Shouldn’t Try Robbing Betty Boop
  7. The Betty Boop Approach to Dealing With ‘Silly Scandals’
  8. Moving Day for Betty Boop!
  9. A Plus-Size Betty Boop As Kitty From Kansas City
  10. Playing Chess with Betty Boop & Taking a Mean Shot at Mickey Mouse
  11. Betty Boop’s Crazy Inventions

22 of Fleischer Studio’s Color Classics, a competitor to the Silly Symphonies:

  1. A Redheaded Betty Boop As Cinderella Debuted a New Series
  2. ‘Joy Like This Cannot Be Bought!’ A Cartoon Variation of Hansel and Gretel
  3. An Elephant Never Forgets
  4. Back When Cartoons Taught the Miraculous Power of Prayer…
  5. ‘Momma Don’t Allow No Music Playin In Here’
  6. Animal Newlyweds Take Their Honeymoon In Outer Space!
  7. Seduced By the Black Swan
  8. An Old Couple Reminisces On Falling In Love…
  9. Somewhere in Dreamland Tonight
  10. When a Chick Tries to Be a Duck
  11. Newlywed Flies Pick The Wrong Hotel For Their Honeymoon
  12. Greedy Humpty Dumpty Enslaves Nursery Rhyme Creatures To Build His Gold Wall to the Sun
  13. Two Lovebirds Take a Hawaiian Honeymoon
  14. Dreaming of a Big Train
  15. An Eccentric Inventor Saves The Orphans’ Christmas
  16. The Wedding of Jack and Jill Rabbit
  17. The Rooster and His Harem…
  18. Animal Symphony Chaos: ‘The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Astray…’
  19. VIDEO: A Family of Peeping Penguins Finds a New Home
  20. A Little Fish Has to Learn His Lesson The Hard Way
  21. Cute: Little Lamby Eats His Grass With Sugar
  22. The Vegetable Children Don’t Want to Play With the Little Onion Kid

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10 Provocative Perspectives on the Death of Robin Williams

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

1. Matt Walsh at his eponymous blog: “Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice

I’m not normally one to write a blog post about a dead celebrity, but then I suppose there is no such thing.

There are only living celebrities, not dead ones. In death, wealth and prestige decay and we are brought into a new reality, the only reality there is or ever was — one which, for much better or much worse, doesn’t care at all about our popularity or our money.

The death of Robin Williams is significant not because he was famous, but because he was human, and not just because he left this world, but particularly because he apparently chose to leave it.

Suicide.

A terrible, monstrous atrocity. It disturbs me in a deep, visceral, indescribable way. Of course it disturbs most people, I would assume. Indeed, we should fear the day when we wake up and decide we aren’t disturbed by it anymore.

….

We tend to look for the easiest answers. It makes us feel better to say that depression is only a disease and that there is no will and choice in suicide, as if a person who kills themselves is as much a victim as someone who succumbs to leukemia.

2. Jim Geraghty at National Review: “Robin Williams and Our Strange Times: Does our society set the stage for depression?”

The constant online presence would lead to a world of nonstop instant reaction, where everyone could immediately transmit the first thought that popped into his head in response to news. Everyone’s first reaction would become his defining reaction, particularly if it’s dumb or knee-jerk. If it was racist, sexist, hateful, or obnoxious, even better. Those horrified would then share and retweet it to their friends and followers, spreading the perception that the world was overpopulated with hateful idiots, and that average Americans — or average human beings! – were rather nasty, ignorant creatures unworthy of respect or affection. Many people would quickly and easily forget that the people who comment on Internet websites represent a small slice of the population, a fraction predisposed to getting pleasure from posting shocking, obnoxious, or hateful material.

The widespread perception that almost everyone else was a moron — why, just look at the things people post and say on the Internet! – would facilitate a certain philosophy of narcissism; we would have people walking around convinced they’re much smarter, and much more sophisticated and enlightened, than everyone else.

3. Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler responding to Walsh: “Chasing Shadows in the Death of Robin Williams”

Anyone who has seen true mental illness up close knows that the idea of choice gets bent and blurred.

I’ve seen Alzheimer’s Disease up close. It’s not depression, but it is a different disease of the same organ, the brain. Alzheimer’s sufferers do not choose to lurch from the present to three decades into the past in an instant. They don’t choose to forget who you are, what your name is, who they are, where they are, everything they have ever known and everyone they have ever loved. They don’t choose to become hostile to those they love who are caring for them. They are not choosing any of that. Yet what is happening in their brains impacts their behavior and can be incredibly frustrating and crushing for their loved ones. It’s heart-breaking, one of the most heart-breaking experiences a person can experience.

There is no more choice in that than there is choice to come down with cancers unrelated to behavior. There is no more choice in that than the choice to grow old, see your organs wink out one by one, as you approach the end. Did the boy who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, an organ disease which will probably kill him in his 20s, choose that? Depression, like Alzheimer’s, is a disease of an organ, the brain. Where choice begins and ends in the mind of someone with clinical depression is quite blurry. I don’t pretend to know where it is. Depression is the ultimate mind game, only your own brain is working deviously against itself.

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15 Authors Who Can Help Men and Women Better Understand Each Other

Monday, August 11th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

a5bf2fb0abc011e38e04127d69c3cd5e_8 (1)

Last week I presented an exploration of many popular beliefs that can disrupt our lives and undermine our relationships: “30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace if They Want to Destroy Themselves.” The list utilized books from gifted writers exploring concepts across culture, history, and religion. Here are links to their books and where you can read more of their writing in the series:

1. Lisa De Pasquale with her memoir Finding Mr. Righteous

The seven men from Lisa’s book were each explored throughout the series starting with Chris the Atheist and ending with Brandon the Non-denominational Believer.

2. David P. “Spengler” Goldman with his essay collection It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You

3. Leora Batnitzky with her scholarly study Idolatry and Representation: the Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered.

Goldman’s books are great introductions to the tools of Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig for understanding the impact of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity on modern thought. Batnitzky’s book provided an opening for understanding the differences within Christianity as relative to their attitudes to Judaism.

4. Camille Paglia with her essay collection Sex, Art and American Culture and magnum opus Sexual Personae

Discussed to illustrate points here and here.

I just finished a first-rate, 150-page primer in idolatry: Elizabeth "The Anchoress" Scalia's Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. Great book! #religion #God #Bible #secular #idolatry #idols my wife's #Beyoncé #goddess painting in background (art with a comparable message...)

5. The super-blogger the The Anchoress Elizabeth Scalia with her very accessible introduction to idolatry, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

My list discussed Scalia’s perceptive insights on technology addiction and workaholism.

6. Five Feet of Fury Blog Empress Kathy Shaidle with her great culture critique and memoir e-book Confessions of a Failed Slut

Kathy points to the future that’s coming and how technology is transforming the way men and women relate.

7. Robert M. Hoffstein with his revealing A Mystical Key to the English Language

Exploring the word Love here.

8. PJ Columnist Dr. Helen Smith with her important manifesto Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters 

Here in the list I explained where I agree and disagree with Dr. Helen.

9. Harvey C. Mansfield with his book Manliness

This and the next two books are useful for understanding men and women who have fallen into a nihilistic ideology

10. Allan Bloom with his classic The Closing of the American Mind

11. Andrew Breitbart with his memoir Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! 

12. Douglas Rushkoff with his introduction to a more mystical, “open source” Judaism, Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism 

13. Franz Rosenzweig with his The Star of Redemption 

The series concludes with an author Goldman has inspired me to dig deeper into understanding.

In two of the posts preceding the series I also suggested these authors and their books as important for understanding humanity’s fallen nature and marriage’s ability to raise us upward:

14. Michael Ledeen with his Machiavelli on Modern Leadership

15. Shmuley Boteach with his integration of Eastern and Western mysticism, The Kosher Sutra

Need more books that’ll transform the way you understand the world?

For the next big list coming I’m planning on naming some great movies and explaining how they can inspire us….

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30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace if They Want to Destroy Themselves

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Two of my favorite recent books - I recommend reading these together in tandem for added insight... #culture #religion #relationships #marriage #god

See the previous parts of this ongoing series exploring culture, relationships, and religion through books:

April 11: Men Should Read Lisa De Pasquale’s Sexy Memoir

Lisa’s book provokes many questions and this post is the beginning of a series to host and encourage a discussion about them. Lisa organizes her book around 7 different men — Chris the Atheist, Joe the Catholic, John the Evangelical, Preston the Quaker, Ryan the Preacher, Adam the Jew, and Brandon the Nondenominational Believer — and how her pursuit of them shaped her own religious journey. I’m going to give each one at least one blog post excerpting from her book and raising a question for debate…. Lisa’s memoir is an inspiring journey through her own struggles with the idols she’s worshiped. In future posts I’ll consider an idol-based reading of her book in juxtaposition with other texts and the stories of the day. Recognizing the idol we’re worshiping that’s keeping us enslaved is the first step to picking it up, smashing it, and finding the free life God wants us to have. Lisa’s book collects the fragments of seven of her smashed idols and there’s much we can learn from her. Stay tuned, in future posts I’ll also consider Lisa’s insights alongside two related books I’ve read recently, Kathy Shaidle’s Confessions of a Failed Slut (which Ed Driscoll interviewed her about here today) and Dr. Helen Smith’s Men On Strike

April 17: The Normal Way Godless Men Treat Women (A discussion of Chris the Atheist’s sexual violence against Lisa and its ancient cultural roots.)

June 26 at the PJ Tatler: 30 Books For Defeating Valerie Jarrett’s Cult of Political Criminals.

That Sunday, June 29, excerpting a section of it at PJ Lifestyle: 5 Deep Books For Overcoming Our Addiction to Idol Worship

Here are links to round 1 of a debate at PJ inspired by the “spreadsheet husband” that ran July 20-24:

This extended list article (see the original publication of the 3 parts here, here, and here) draws from the debate’s comments and juxtaposes them with excerpts from Finding Mr. Righteous, 3 of the 5 books on idolatry, and a few more related titles.

This can be understood as opening up Round 2 and and inviting others to participate. Send submissions in response to these subjects to DaveSwindlePJM {@} gmail.com or please leave comments below or feel free to get in touch on Twitter: @DaveSwindle (We should start featuring more Twitter discussions at PJ Lifestyle…)

*********

Dear Lisa,

I hope your last few months have been less tumultuous than mine. After almost a month in our new apartment in South L.A., April and I are starting to get comfortable and settled — we finally tested out the pool yesterday. (Siberian Husky Maura remained skeptical and chose not to go in even though our landlord said she could. Someday we hope to get her swimming. She does enjoy going to the beach.) Here’s a picture of her exploring the new town, I’m going to try to collect more sunrise pictures of her:

A great #sunrise in #socal this morning as the #siberianhusky and I try and wake up today...

After the first two posts in the series on your book I ran into a writer’s block, a challenge that I’ve now at last overcome: how best to explain the difference between Judeo-Christians and pagan Christians, one of the phenomena your book illustrates so vividly. This is my way of trying to contribute to understanding the wide range of religious relationship experiences you had over the years and why they varied so much amongst men who were supposedly committed to the same holy book, worshipping the same God. Illustrating the paganism of your first failed Mr. Righteous, Chris the Atheist, was easy enough. Camille Paglia is probably the most perceptive writer today analyzing the cultural blend of secularism and amoral neopagan values.

But in analyzing the varieties of Christianity in the context of their ratio of pagan to Jewish influences, there’s another writer — who’s exhibited an even stronger influence on my views the last three years — who I want to encourage you to consider both for future writings and for his insights on life in general.

David P. Goldman is a PJ columnist with a diverse background and a knowledge base ranging from economics and finance to history, philosophy, art, music and culture, to religion and theology. I read his book How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too) a few years ago and make it a point to try and edit as many of his pieces here at PJ as I can. I’ve just recently acquired and read his essay collection It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations.

Among Goldman’s unique insights is to apply the theological writings of Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig and his magnum opus The Star of Redemption to understand demographic and cultural trends today, particularly why it is that so many nations and people around the world choose to destroy themselves. Goldman’s answer: secularism produces hopelessness and does not inspire people to marry and reproduce. There is a big link between religiosity, family size, and happiness. Goldman lays out the data to both show that it’s there and then, through explaining Rosenzweig’s analysis of pagan, Jewish, and Christian cultures, explain how to fix it.

And it starts with applying it to our own lives — his ideas are just as useful at the macro level as they are for understanding ourselves and interpersonal relationships. The same techniques the West needs to use for defeating the sex-and-murder worshipping barbarians on the global stage we can use for overcoming these challenges in their smaller manifestations in the people around us and in our own unruly, jealous hearts.

So here are some of the bad ideas that your book does a great job of exposing — warning signs for both men and women — and some related ideas too that will yield further insights into the challenge of overcoming the stumbling blocks preventing us from being the righteous people our friends and family need us to be.

What does it mean to be a righteous man in America today? Question of the day. #manhood #masculinity #God #men #women

For this compilation I’ve assembled an index for easier browsing:

1. Drunken, Chain-Smoking Cynicism

2. Racial Nationalism

3. Pauline Christian Apocalypticist Paganism

4. Catholic Paganism

5. Theological Idolatry

6. Secularist Sex-Worship

7. Evangelical Idolatry

8. Secularist Nature-Worshipping Paganism

9. Right-Left Political Idolatry

10. Technology addiction

11. Internet Porn Idolatry… and its coming Spawn of Virtual Reality Sex Addiction

12. Christian Protestant Pagan Sadomasochism

13. Worshipping Our Own Ugliness

14. Apollonian Radical Pagan Materialism

15. Buying Love Through Excessive Gift Giving

16. The Jesus Wannabes

17. Atheist Anarcho-Capitalist “Libertarianism”

18. Catholic Christian Objectivism

19. Arminian Christian Paganism

20. The Idol of Self-Reinvention

21. Hedonism

22. Obama Worship

23. Blatant Ignorance of Female Nature

24. Political Science Idolatry

25. Politically Correct, Man-Child Cowardice

26. Permanent Adolescence

27. Workaholism

28. “Marriage is the only voluntary relationship that is fundamentally about sex.”

29. Nihilism: The worship of nothing

30. Narcissism

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5 Art Images That Capture the Fun and Silly Wit of Boomer Humor

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

bamuserscover

Dear Bruce,

It was so wonderful having the opportunity to reconnect last month. I enjoyed getting to know you better and coming to understand more of the parallels in our political and spiritual journeys. I look forward to many more deep discussions in the future.

I also really appreciate the book recommendations. These titles on the harmony between religion and science by Gerald Schroeder I put on hold at the library right after getting back from our lunch:

Two books reconciling #Science and #religion by Gerald L. Schroeder that I'm looking forward to reading. Hat tip: Bruce

I look forward to exploring these subjects in pieces more soon and think we should continue brainstorming together; let’s definitely plan on collaborating more in the future on ways to explore these concepts in articles, perhaps with some of your delightful artistic illustrations?

I want to congratulate you for your invention of the Bamusers, as showcased in your new collection of sketches that straddle the line between art and humor.

We’ve already talked about a few directions you might want to consider exploring using the Bamusers style of quick, simple illustrations accompanied by short titles. Today, I wanted to encourage you to consider another that could have some potential, both as a way to make perceptive cultural commentary and connect with new audiences: generational theory. Here are two books I’ll throw back your direction:

Two of my favorite books laying out the evidence for #generationaltheory one of the concepts I'm expanding for my book.... #millennial #genx #babyboomer #generations #howestrauss

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30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace If They Want To Destroy Themselves, Part III

Friday, August 8th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Two of my favorite recent books - I recommend reading these together in tandem for added insight... #culture #religion #relationships #marriage #god

Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2 of this list-letter to Lisa De Pasquale in response to her memoir. Also see here for Hannah Sternberg’s contribution to the discussion, “5 Life and Relationship Lessons from Finding Mr. Righteous.”

21. Hedonism: “It is perfectly possible for entire peoples to live only for their own pleasure and feel nothing for their prospective obliteration.” – David P. “Spengler” Goldman, page 351 of It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations.

"It is perfectly possible for entire peoples to live only for their own pleasure and feel nothing for their prospective obliteration." - David P. "Spengler" Goldman, page 351 of It's Not the End of the World, It's Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations. #God #religion #culture #spengler #history #tragedy #immortality

Dear Lisa,

I concluded part II with this question:

What does it mean to love someone? How do we learn to do it?

Amongst my book piles, I stumbled across this excerpt from page 141 of A Mystical Key to the English Language by Robert M. Hoffstein which points to the linguistic similarities between LIVE, LOVE and LEAVE as a clue:

"This is the essence of love: to be able to sacrifice, give up, and abandon the self for the sake of the other, or for the sake of God." Page 141 of A #Mystical Key to the English Language by Robert M. Hoffstein. #siberianhusky #cutedog #maura #god #religion #narcissism #secular

I think the concept of what it means to “worship” someone, something, or God is no longer understood by most people. Do you think there’s a significant difference between love and worship? Are the series of patterns that you identify throughout the men in your book indicative of links between the way humans’ interpersonal relationships mirror their intellectual relationship with transcendence? Does the way in which we try to love others mirror the way in which we have learned to love God? Is worship a kind of training for loving others?

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10 Classic Disney Cartoons For Introducing Mythology & Morality to the Next Generation

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

My New Year’s Resolutions this year:

Last New Year's #Resolution: write down your days more. Write what you want to make happen. Write how you want your #soul to transform. Then set about reprogramming yourself with the mass of word possibilities in front of you.

Dear Spencer Klavan,

I’d like to congratulate you for your first PJ Lifestyle piece that we published today, ”10 Movies Stolen Right Out of The Odyssey.” Editing it and talking with you inspired me to finally get around to finishing a list that’s been on my mind lingering for a few weeks now. But I’m also going to twist things up a bit to really start pushing this list business further. I wrote my previous list post in letter format to Lisa De Pasquale in response to her book Finding Mr. Righteous, and I think it’s a style I’m going to continue and encourage for others as a way to, borrowing a phrase from my wife, kill two stones with one bird. This month I’m going to start focusing to try and write more lists myself but they’ll be with the increased goal of trying to encourage dialogue between writers and readers and to inspire ideas for more articles.

Over the course of several months this spring I watched through and featured all of the Silly Symphony Disney cartoons from the 1930s in the PJ Lifestyle Cartoon at Noon feature. They’re all available on YouTube and are filled with insights into the period’s culture, fashions, racial shortcomings, and technological developments. In studying them and now in comparing to other studios’ generally less impressive releases, it’s clear how Disney dominated: he continually pushed the technology further and he used it to develop meaningful art drawing from deep, substantive mythological sources to promote positive moral values. I believe cinematically these efforts reached their peak with Fantasia, what has become my favorite film of late, and whose pieces can be seen in some of these earlier efforts.

Spencer, with your background in classics and your interest in bringing out some of the dark, hidden aspects of Greek and Roman mythology and their relation to our culture today I’m really excited about the ideas you’re going to start developing. Here are some of the ideas that I’ve been considering courtesy of some of the mythology, folklore, and fables Disney drew from in making his shorts.

CCing some of the other Lifestyle writers exploring pop culture and moral value themes on occasion too: Chris Queen, Susan L.M. Goldberg, Kathy Shaidle, and Hannah Sternberg, I’d invite you to consider these subjects too in your own writings. (And if anyone else would like to submit a blog post responding to these ideas DaveSwindlePJM @ gmail.com or lets talk on Twitter: @DaveSwindle. I’d like to start featuring more Twitter discussions at PJ Lifestyle.)

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30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace if They Want to Destroy Themselves, Part II

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Two of my favorite recent books - I recommend reading these together in tandem for added insight... #culture #religion #relationships #marriage #god

Click here for Part 1 of my list-letter to Lisa responding to her great memoir of her journey searching for relationships with both men and God.

11. Internet Porn Idolatry… and its coming Spawn of Virtual Reality Sex Addiction: Men who expect real-life women to behave as their porn star goddesses do, that is, if they’re still interested in flesh and blood women at all.… As noted in Kathy Shaidle’s must-read e-book culture critique Confessions of a Failed Slut, a compelling exploration of the last four decades’ sexual confusions:

An excerpt from Kathy Shaidle's ebook memoir/culture critique Confessions of a Failed Slut on the strange sexual world emerging out into the open today...

That porn could warp young men’s sexual expectations was a commonplace talking point during the feminist ‘porn wars’ of the Eighties. The notion was roundly dismissed, but now it looks like the ‘anti-s’ were onto something.

Dear Lisa,

In the previous part I already highlighted how some New Testament-centric theologies provided rather inadequate answers to questions of love, marriage, and sex. In the Evangelical Christian youth culture of my teen years it was abstinence until marriage and each lustful thought was morally equivalent to actually cheating on your future spouse. Jesus supposedly knew every bad thought that popped into our heads and each one was responsible for pounding those nails into his innocent flesh.

Just as I showed in point 3 how some Christians snip out a verse from Paul like some kind of biblical bandage to justify their demands for a wifely hooker performing on demand, the end of the sex discussion for those not yet married was Matthew 5:27-30:

27 You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Is it any wonder that sex and violence seem so joined at the hip when it’s ingrained in so many Christians that lustful thoughts should be banished with thoughts of self-mutilation?

None of the commenters responding to my posts even bothered to acknowledge the alternative solution to the Pauline Christian approach to sex that I’d put up in the beginning:

282616 Kosher-Lust-Cover-jpeg-251x369

Just as Christians and secularists would feel better physically by adopting a food diet closer to Kosher, so too the ideals and approach toward a Kosher sexuality in marriage is also the attitude to pursue.

And part of that comes in recognizing what junk food and porn sex have in common: they’re both the products of an emotional, feelings-based pagan culture that we indulge in because of our inability to develop self-control through finding a higher pleasure than the escape of orgasm and the endorphin rush of the tasty food.

This great video of John Piper that Walter Hudson shared in his article “10 Barriers to Healthy Relationships Explored in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon” is worth considering again:

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30 Bad Ideas Men Should Embrace if They Want to Destroy Themselves, Part I

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Two of my favorite recent books - I recommend reading these together in tandem for added insight... #culture #religion #relationships #marriage #god

See the previous parts of this ongoing series exploring culture, relationships, and religion through books:

April 11: Men Should Read Lisa De Pasquale’s Sexy Memoir

Lisa’s book provokes many questions and this post is the beginning of a series to host and encourage a discussion about them. Lisa organizes her book around 7 different men — Chris the Atheist, Joe the Catholic, John the Evangelical, Preston the Quaker, Ryan the Preacher, Adam the Jew, and Brandon the Nondenominational Believer — and how her pursuit of them shaped her own religious journey. I’m going to give each one at least one blog post excerpting from her book and raising a question for debate…. Lisa’s memoir is an inspiring journey through her own struggles with the idols she’s worshiped. In future posts I’ll consider an idol-based reading of her book in juxtaposition with other texts and the stories of the day. Recognizing the idol we’re worshiping that’s keeping us enslaved is the first step to picking it up, smashing it, and finding the free life God wants us to have. Lisa’s book collects the fragments of seven of her smashed idols and there’s much we can learn from her. Stay tuned, in future posts I’ll also consider Lisa’s insights alongside two related books I’ve read recently, Kathy Shaidle’s Confessions of a Failed Slut (which Ed Driscoll interviewed her about here today) and Dr. Helen Smith’s Men On Strike

April 17: The Normal Way Godless Men Treat Women (A discussion of Chris the Atheist’s sexual violence against Lisa and its ancient cultural roots.)

June 26 at the PJ Tatler: 30 Books For Defeating Valerie Jarrett’s Cult of Political Criminals.

That Sunday, June 29, excerpting a section of it at PJ Lifestyle: 5 Deep Books For Overcoming Our Addiction to Idol Worship

Here are links to round 1 of a debate at PJ inspired by the “spreadsheet husband” that ran July 20-24:

This extended list article today, tomorrow, and Wednesday Friday draws from the debate’s comments and juxtaposes them with excerpts from Finding Mr. Righteous, 3 of the 5 books on idolatry, and a few more related titles.

This can be understood as opening up Round 2 and and inviting others to participate. Send submissions in response to these subjects to DaveSwindlePJM {@} gmail.com or please leave comments below or feel free to get in touch on Twitter: @DaveSwindle (We should start featuring more Twitter discussions at PJ Lifestyle…)

*********

Dear Lisa,

I hope your last few months have been less tumultuous than mine. After almost a month in our new apartment in South L.A., April and I are starting to get comfortable and settled — we finally tested out the pool yesterday. (Siberian Husky Maura remained skeptical and chose not to go in even though our landlord said she could. Someday we hope to get her swimming. She does enjoy going to the beach.) Here’s a picture of her exploring the new town, I’m going to try to collect more sunrise pictures of her:

A great #sunrise in #socal this morning as the #siberianhusky and I try and wake up today...

After the first two posts in the series on your book I ran into a writer’s block, a challenge that I’ve now at last overcome: how best to explain the difference between Judeo-Christians and pagan Christians, one of the phenomena your book illustrates so vividly. This is my way of trying to contribute to understanding the wide range of religious relationship experiences you had over the years and why they varied so much amongst men who were supposedly committed to the same holy book, worshipping the same God. Illustrating the paganism of your first failed Mr. Righteous, Chris the Atheist, was easy enough. Camille Paglia is probably the most perceptive writer today analyzing the cultural blend of secularism and amoral neopagan values.

But in analyzing the varieties of Christianity in the context of their ratio of pagan to Jewish influences, there’s another writer — who’s exhibited an even stronger influence on my views the last three years — who I want to encourage you to consider both for future writings and for his insights on life in general.

David P. Goldman is a PJ columnist with a diverse background and a knowledge base ranging from economics and finance to history, philosophy, art, music and culture, to religion and theology. I read his book How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too) a few years ago and make it a point to try and edit as many of his pieces here at PJ as I can. I’ve just recently acquired and read his essay collection It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations.

Among Goldman’s unique insights is to apply the theological writings of Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig and his magnum opus The Star of Redemption to understand demographic and cultural trends today, particularly why it is that so many nations and people around the world choose to destroy themselves. Goldman’s answer: secularism produces hopelessness and does not inspire people to marry and reproduce. There is a big link between religiosity, family size, and happiness. Goldman lays out the data to both show that it’s there and then, through explaining Rosenzweig’s analysis of pagan, Jewish, and Christian cultures, explain how to fix it.

And it starts with applying it to our own lives — his ideas are just as useful at the macro level as they are for understanding ourselves and interpersonal relationships. The same techniques the West needs to use for defeating the sex-and-murder worshipping barbarians on the global stage we can use for overcoming these challenges in their smaller manifestations in the people around us and in our own unruly, jealous hearts.

So here are some of the bad ideas that your book does a great job of exposing — warning signs for both men and women — and some related ideas too that will yield further insights into the challenge of overcoming the stumbling blocks preventing us from being the righteous people our friends and family need us to be.

What does it mean to be a righteous man in America today? Question of the day. #manhood #masculinity #God #men #women

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‘Man Is More Inclined to Do Evil Than to Do Good’ – Machiavelli

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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See the first five parts of this ongoing discussion and you are invited to leave your ideas in the comments or submit via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT gmail dot.com

Dr. Helen Smith: Would You Want a Wife This Clueless About Sex and Your Emotions?

Dave Swindle: Would You Want a Husband This Incompetent at Turning You On?

Dr. Helen Smith: A Classic Example of White Knighting

Dave Swindle: Deeply Religious Marriages Are Better Than Secularist Civil Unions

Francis W. Porretto: Some Thoughts on Sex and the Bonded Couple

Dear Francis,

I very much appreciate your contribution to the discussion about sex and marriage yesterday. As I made explicit in my answer to Dr. Helen Smith’s reply, I think these disagreements about marriage and sex are really expressions of more fundamental philosophical and religious conflicts. These comments of yours in particular jumped out, indicating that our worldviews start from very different places as I already knew from these years of enjoying your great comments and occasional pieces. Emphases mine:

Male orgasm — his spasmodic release of tension and seminal fluid — is not the reason a decent man cherishes his lover’s body and access to it. That there are a fair number of “indecent” men roaming about need not cloud the central issue.

Indeed, a mature, self-assured man, properly reared and past the urgings of adolescence, is less concerned with his own physical pleasure than with bringing pleasure to her. Her desire for his desire, with all that follows from that, gives him what he most wants: the opportunity to bring her pleasure, even if he gets little or none for himself. This has often been dismissed as merely a form of politeness, but in fact it’s the source of his greatest sexual fulfillment and, apart from progeny, his principal reason for wanting her to want him.

Yes, there are men so self-absorbed that a woman’s sexual desire is merely an opening through which to seek their own fulfillment, including the evanescent and essentially trivial pleasure of orgasm. Yes, there are men who never bother to learn “what she likes.” But in any decent society these will be a minority.

I’ve written over the years about my ideological shift from Nation-style progressivism to Tea Party conservatism. I’m not the person today that I was a decade ago at 20, in the middle of my undergraduate days when I expanded my studies from English to political science. Amongst the many shifts that I’ve made gradually over the years as life experiences and new philosophical influences chipped away at the ideology I was indoctrinated in from K-12 through college, one of the most fundamental has been my change in understanding human nature. It’s a change from what Victor Davis Hanson has described as the “therapeutic view” to the “tragic view.”

When I was a progressive who supported big government programs and a dovish foreign policy it was because I naively assumed that most human beings wanted the same things, were decent people at heart, and could be trusted not to deceive others. Multiculturalism taught that all cultures were equal and all religions expressed the same basic, universal moral values. Anytime someone did something wrong it was because they were ignorant or mentally unbalanced in a way that was distorting their perception of consensus reality. Sure, occasionally nature would make a mistake and burp out serial killers, child molesters, or Hitlers but in general such people were aberrations. Thus it was possible — and necessary — and moral to move forward with trying to reason our way to a perfect, peaceful world by convincing everyone else what was best for them to do.

But I don’t believe that at all anymore. Now I believe the exact opposite. The state of nature from which humanity escaped is chaos, cruelty, hatred and selfishness. More people in the world are evil than good, more of the cultures in the world will die through suicide rather survive. It’s more normal for humans to worship death than for them to pursue eternal life. And the pimp-prostitute, promiscuous, polygamous sexual culture is more natural and universal than monogamous marriage. The absolute nuclear family that powers American prosperity is an aberration that we take for granted — see James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus’s amazing America 3.0 for more on this. And in failing to understand and defend this culture today it’s slipping away.

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Deeply Religious Marriages Are Better Than Secularist Civil Unions

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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Dear Helen,

Thank you so much for your provocative, engaging reply to my post challenging you on the issue of who is ultimately to blame for sexless marriages:

I have a few questions for you, Dave. What if the man does all of the things you suggest such as put her in the mood, goes through all of the rituals etc. you suggest and then ends up with nothing? Then what? The man should then continue in a sexless marriage? Bask in the glow of his “self-control” as he wonders where the sex went? According to you, he alone (the loser!) is to blame. It takes two to tango, if you blame him alone for their lack of sex, you see women as having no responsibility and no agency in sex. Isn’t this a little sexist?

In framing the question this way, you’re kind of understating the degree of our disagreement. What I advocate for in my post goes far deeper than just rituals and more foreplay. I put the philosophy embedded in Shmuley Boteach’s three books on Jewish mysticism and Biblical marriage on the table. It’s not that this is just some magic trick that will result in more sex, it’s that I’m advocating that both husband and wife together choose to embrace a religious attitude toward sex and marriage instead of being secularists.

A sexless marriage is not an actual problem — it’s just one outward symptom of a deeper disease. In focusing on fixing sexlessness in a marriage we miss the source of what’s driving it. In any marriage — apart from where physical illness prevents partners from performing — when either husband or wife all of a sudden isn’t interested in sex the reason is so obvious and simple it seems silly to point it out: something else exists that is more important to them than their marriage. They have found a new idol and their devotion to it will destroy their lives as a result. They are engaged in self-sacrifice in service to their new deity.

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Would You Want a Husband This Incompetent at Turning You On?

Monday, July 21st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle
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There are plenty of Biblically-based books on the market for men serious about inspiring their wives to want to have more (and better!) sex.

Yesterday, Dr. Helen blogged about a viral story of a husband who compiled a spreadsheet of every time his wife turned down his requests for sex (24/27 over 7 weeks) and who responded by posting it on the internet: “Would You Want a Wife This Clueless About Sex and Your Emotions?“:

And she seriously wonders why the guy is mad? She has sex three times in seven weeks and he has probably been angry and boiling for some time before that. Why is she posting their problems on Reddit? She mentions his immature behavior; is hers any better? She says he wouldn’t talk to her about the chart etc., so maybe during this quiet time, she should stop and think about her behavior.

But more importantly, the husband should reflect on his marriage and ask himself a few questions. So far, there are no kids. If she lets her job interfere with her sex life, what about the kids? Will he have an eighteen year chart of excuses and pain? If kids are involved and he wants to get out of the marriage then, he is going to have a much harder time. Perhaps he simply needs some quiet time to reflect on what to do, whether this is going to work in the long run and why his wife would turn to strangers on the internet and post his chart on a Reddit site instead of sitting back and giving him some breathing room. This does not reflect well on how things will go for him in the future if they stay married.

What do you think?

I’m actually going to take the wife’s side in this dispute. I have absolutely ZERO SYMPATHY WHATSOEVER for this loser. Why?

Because it’s not a wife’s responsibility to be her husband’s happy whore, eagerly providing him with his orgasms on demand.

Dissatisfied husbands, want to know the secret to having sex with your wife whenever you want? It is not your wife’s responsibility to be ready to go on command, it’s YOUR responsibility to know your wife so well that you are capable of seducing her anytime. When you want to have sex with her you don’t ask her, you put her in the mood yourself. It’s really that simple: know you wife well enough so you can push the right buttons, say the right things, and create an environment where sex just naturally happens.

Unfortunately, that’s more work than most men are used to for getting orgasms. Twenty or thirty minutes of close attention, massage, and foreplay first? Taking the effort to really get to know your wife’s unique preferences and turn-ons? Learning how to read her moods? That’s effort — and energy.

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4 Incredible Cult Films Coming to Criterion Blu Ray In August, September, and October

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

4.  Y Tu Mama Tambien on August 19, 2014

Special features of note:

  • Two new pieces on the making of the film, featuring interviews, recorded at the time of production and in 2014, with actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú; Alfonso Cuarón; cowriter Carlos Cuarón; and Lubezki
  • New interview with philosopher Slavoj Žižek about the film’s social and political aspects

This 2002 coming-of-age comedy-drama from Mexico was one of my favorites during my high school and college years working at an art house movie theatre. It starts with the American Pie premise but infuses it with amazing, artistic photography and then deeper insights about life and death, philosophy, friendships, and relationships. Looks like it’s on Netflix streaming… I should probably give it a re-watch…

And what’s the deal with this trendy neo-Marxist, postmodernist “philosopher” Slavoj Žižek showing up all over the place? His documentary The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is also on Netflix and while I’ve tried watching it a few times I have yet to succeed in completing it… So silly and boring, but, alas, rising in influence and popularity in the culture such that he’s probably in need of a dissection soon in list form…

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Depressed? Here Are the 20 Best Shows & Movies on Netflix for Mood Improvement

Sunday, July 13th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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Dear Hannah,

I’m so sorry for your troubles this week. I hope this list can help. Here’s some streaming sunshine with potential to provoke more positive moods via a variety of genres.

20. New Girl

I was very shocked at just how effective, funny and likable this sitcom was. Starring Zooey Deschanel as a perky, klutzy young woman moving in with three guys, the show has a sense of lightness and Deschanel is immensely sympathetic and entertaining. I don’t really watch sitcoms these days, but New Girl is done so well and is so consistently funny episode-to-episode that it’s worth checking out.

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The 10 Most Obnoxious, Overrated Alien Cultures in Star Trek

Friday, July 11th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

10. The Romulans

What exactly do the Romulans have that justifies their defining quality, their arrogance? They’re among the most boring species in all of Trek, the kind of evil twin to the Vulcans, known for their deceitful and warlike nature.

Their only redeeming feature seems to be how cool and genuinely intimidating their warbird ships are:

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The 17 Places and Things We’ll Miss Most About Living in the San Fernando Valley

Saturday, July 5th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

When I was a kid they went to a little more effort to disguise the fact that it was just a toy commercial... What is this Lego movie crap? April and I about to see "Her". Date night.

17. The ArcLight movie theater at the Galleria.

Where: 15301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA

Our theater attendance tended to drop the last few years as my wife’s graduate school workload increased, but when we really wanted to see something projected well and make a nice date of a movie this was our preferred indulgence.

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8 Great Movies and 1 Rotten TV Show You Can’t Watch on Netflix Anymore

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

8. Live And Let Die

Is the first Bond movie with Roger Moore the best one in which he starred? Was it all downhill from here? I tend to think so. Moore took over the series from Sean Connery with this fun 1973 spy thriller set in New Orleans and featuring a blaxploitation and Black Panther-inspired villains. My friend Chris Queen included the theme song on his list of best Bond songs in 2012:

Paul and Linda McCartney banged out a unique title tune for 1973’s Live And Let Die. While previous 007 themes fell into more of an easy listening vein, “Live And Let Die” blends bracing rock and intense orchestration by Beatles producer George Martin, who scored the film.

According to The Billboard Book Of Number Two Singles, Wings almost missed out on the chance to record it, and subsequently the producers almost missed out on the song itself. Martin recalled that when he played the Wings track for producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli, they complimented Martin on the song and asked who should record it.

The producers suggested future disco diva Thelma Houston, and otherwise insisted that a black woman perform the song because of the film’s New Orleans setting. Martin and McCartney held firm that there would be no song if Wings couldn’t perform it. Looking back nearly 40 years later, it’s hard to imagine anyone but McCartney belting those immortal words, “Live And Let Die.”

Did the Bond films just get too silly with Moore? Are they better when there’s more of a balance between tough spy action and the occasional jokes and clever gadgets?

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65 Movies & Shows Come to Netflix in July. Here Are 10 You Should Watch

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

10. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

I suppose in one sense, Netflix serves the same purpose as Facebook: perpetual high school reunion and never-ending nostalgia fests, reminders of a time before adulthood and the weight of responsibilities.

Nowadays when I go back and watch some film that was fun or memorable from childhood or adolescence I tend to see it more from the parents’ perspective, relating to those characters, rather than the kids. I wonder how Honey, I Shrunk the Kids will hold up when rewatching it. Rather than experiencing it as a child wandering through the grass and inner-tubing in a cheerio, I’ll consider it as the father searching for his lost children…

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5 Deep Books For Overcoming Our Addiction to Idol Worship

Sunday, June 29th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Over at the PJ Tatler last week I unveiled my newest e-book size, giant list post: “30 Books For Defeating Valerie Jarrett’s Cult of Political Criminals.”

I organized the list into eight different sections by either theme or author, the second to last being a subject I’ve been preoccupied with perhaps more than all the others the past few years: “5 on cults, idol worship, and the origins of religion.” Here are numbers 21 through 25. I intend to eventually do a much longer, more in depth list devoted specifically to this subject. What other books do you think I should include? I’m now taking suggestions… Also related from earlier this month for those looking for more: ”Is God a Noun or a Verb? 6 Great Books Introducing Jewish Mysticism

"Idolatry comes from the way in which an image is worshiped, and not from the image itself." Leora Batnitzky, page 23 of Idolatry and Representation: the #Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered. #God #Religion #Bible #Judaism

21. and 22. Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered by Leora Batnitzky and The Star of Redemption by Franz Rosenzweig

From PJ Media columnist David P. Goldman‘s articles and books I’ve developed a fascination with Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig. This book provides accessible insight into a core component of his thought very much of relevance to those wanting to better understand and overcome the powerful personality cults dominating America today. Leora Batnitzky focuses the discussion of Rosenzweig on idolatry, the primitive religious practice Judaism evolved against. For Rosenzweig idolatry is not based in the images or in the “foreign” customs of competing religions. It’s based in an incorrect apprehension of how to worship. Rosenzweig argues that the postmodernist, Nietzchean, truth-is-relative philosopher engages in the same practice as the ancient idolaters, self-worship, from page 47:

"Rosenzweig's suggestion is that the point-of-view philosopher's worldview is one of self-worship." - page 47 of Leora Batnitzky's fantastic #Idolatry and Representation: The #Philosophy of #FranzRosenzweig Reconsidered

Once I finish reading Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed this year it’ll be time to focus on The Star of Redemption. As Goldman’s first essay book demonstrates, Rosenzweig’s ideas provide piercing analysis of our culture today…

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