How do we determine if cockfighting is acceptable? Matt Bevin, a Senate candidate in Kentucky who is vying to unseat Mitch McConnell, has made contradictory assertions after speaking at a rally to legalize cockfighting. While he has apologized for speaking at the rally, asserting that he was not aware of the rally’s cause, he has balanced his denunciation of cockfighting with reference to claims that it is part of America’s heritage. Continue reading “Heritage and Cockfighting”
There’s a few pop songs that strike me as containing some great nuggets of social theory, and so they stick with me — such as a line about nostalgia from Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” (that I once blogged about here). Another is Semisonic‘s 1998 hit “Closing Time.”
Don’t know it? Give it a listen, below, while you’re reading. You’ll remember it. Continue reading “Every New Beginning…”
The approach to identification advocated here at the Edge puzzles some readers since it troubles the usual notion that we have of the individual who does things for certain reasons. We talk about interests and purposes, yes, but we don’t presuppose the usual sort of agent doing things in the world.
Is that a contradiction?
I don’t think so. Continue reading “Secret Agent Man”
History is a funny thing — we think it’s removed from us and somewhere in the past, yeah, but inasmuch as we know about it, it’s in the present, right in front of our eyes. In fact, if it isn’t in the present — some tattered artifact settled into our context and far removed from whatever setting it might have once been in — then it might as well be that proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one aware of the crash. Continue reading ““This is a New Song…””
A graduating senior in our Department recently wrote a very nice blog post, for our Department’s site, on how disappointed a friend of hers, whom she had met while traveling in India, was when discovering a Buddhist monk using a cell phone. (Read her blog post here.) I posted a link to the article on a Facebook group devoted to the History of Religions — a group that, despite being some people’s preferred technical name for our academic discipline, has attracted a diverse membership. Someone in the group, having read the post, soon commented on how a monk with a cell phone was evidence of decay in religions. Continue reading “In the Eye of the Beholder”
Have you heard of the recent HBO TV series “Family Tree“? It’s a creation of Christopher Guest, one of the people behind a series of successful mockumentaries, such as “Best in Show” — although he’s better known, perhaps, as the lead “This one goes to eleven” guitarist in “This is Spinal Tap.” Continue reading “Horse’s Ass”
“You have to admit, this is exactly what America would utilize cloning technology for.”
So said a food tester about Burger King, one of the major fast food chains in the US, which has recently introduced a new burger, the Big King, which is suspiciously like the Big Mac at McDonald’s — see for yourself. Continue reading “What About Bob?”
In a recent post I mentioned an upcoming paper I was presenting at a panel in Baltimore on explaining the causes of early Christianity’s origins. My concern in that paper, which I delivered a few days ago, was to draw attention to problems with attempts to account for the origins and development of any social movement — a critique that, for some in this one field, has already invalidated such things as quests for the historical Jesus. However, serious scholars yet persist in trying to account for the originary conditions of this thing we call Christianity.
The goal, of course, is to find out “what really happened,” as phrased by one person during the Q&A. Isn’t it? Continue reading “What’s Really Happening”
Some Thanksgiving thoughts for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Despite various corrections and critiques (e.g., here and here), schoolchildren across the U.S. often learn and even reenact the story of Pilgrims and Native Americans joining together for a meal to celebrate the first harvest for the Pilgrims. When considered from the perspective of the study of processes of identification, the reenactment of this origin story perpetuates the position of dominant groups, despite the narrative of cooperation built into the origin story. Continue reading “Perpetual Pilgrims and Indians”