Is America In A Culture A War? Yes — No — Sort Of

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Abortion clinics are firebombed; Planned Parenthood workers are murdered; an art gallery owner is arrested for exhibiting Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs; a rap group is arrested on obscenity charges; the civil rights — or “special privileges” — of gays and lesbians are the subject of controversial referenda; and issues of multiculturahsm, freedom of expression and “political …

Paying Attention to Youth Culture

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BOOK REVIEWS: >Youth Leadership: A Guide to Understanding Leadership Development in Adolescents, by Josephine A. Long and Carl I. Fertman. Jossey Bass, 243 pp, $25.00 Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country, by William Finnegan. Random House, 481 pp., $26.00. Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X, By Tom Beaudoin. Jossey …

Playboy’s Doctrine of Male

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Sometime this month over one million American young men will place sixty cents on a counter somewhere and walk away with a copy of Playboy, one of the most spectacular successes in the entire history of American journalism. When one remembers that every copy will probably be seen by several other people in college dormitories …

Remembering the 50’s

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Pass it on. Dan Wakefield is one of us. His autobiography Returning: A Spiritual Journey gave it away, but secular critics, always nervous with anything that smacks of the "spiritual," prefer to think of Wakefield as either an evocative novelist with a special talent for describing the struggles of a midwestern kid who made it …

Speaking of Religion

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Biblical scholars have long debated the historical reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Though there was not that much new to report on the topic, the three major news-magazines decided anyway to feature Jesus on their Easter week cover and report on recent arguments about whether Jesus actually said what the New Testament says …

The Church and Electronic Culture

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  1. Background Perspectives 1. One of the most influential factors in cultural understanding and organisation is the communication patterns within that culture. The technological, social and power characteristics of the dominant media of communication in a society will have a strong influence on how the society organises, interacts & thinks about itself. 2. Different …

The Cyborg: Technological Socialization and Its Link to the Religious Function of Popular Culture

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  In science fiction films and novels cyborgs are technological golems that haunt dystopic and utopic chimerical worlds. Futuristic fabrications, cyborgs in this subgenre of the arts are imaginative admixtures of humans and machines that mimic human life but remain outside it. The replicants of “Blade Runner,” the T800 of “The Terminator,” Data in Star …

The Free Play of Thought

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Matthew Arnold, the 19th-century British poet and critic, aimed, in Morris Dickstein’s words, "to direct a free play of thought onto subjects that had become petrified by received opinion." Arnold believed that the critic should, in his memorable phrase, see life steadily and see it whole. Indeed, for Arnold, the welfare of the nation depended …

The Need to Remember

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Elie Wiesel says that the hardest part of writing a novel is getting the first sentence right. Once that is accomplished, the rest falls into place. Here’s the first sentence of The Forgotten: “The shock was so violent that he lost his balance and almost fell to the damp soil; the name on the tombstone, …

The Pictures Inside Our Heads

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Richard D. Heffner recently examined the explosive response to Oliver Stone’s movie JFK and concluded that what really disturbs Stone’s critics is that he represents a new and powerful kind of historian, one who is "fully determined to have his own way with the pictures inside our heads." Stone’s "mind-boggling special effects, his rapid cuts …

The Theology of Pac-Man

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The younger of our brilliant, honors-division daughters returned from her university at Christmastime with a big, red, raw blister on the palm of her right band. In the solicitous manner of fathers, I demanded to know what had happened to her. She muttered something about some man. “What?” I cried. “A man did this to …

Zeal Without Understanding: Reflections on Rambo and Oliver North

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Twice during this summer’s joint congressional hearings on the Iran-Contra affair, Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D., Md.) used the words of Justice Louis Brandeis, particularly in connection with the testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. The words are engraved in the Capitol Building itself: "The Greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men …