popular culture

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Still Just a Comic Book

Asterios Polyp and the fate of life lived through modernism.

"Lost" season four promotional image.

Against Closure

Why television’s Lost should resist the urge to tell all.

"Westboro Baptist Church outside ADL offices" by k763 via Flickr

The Magnetic Poetry of Fred Phelps

How a onetime civil rights lawyer learned that God hates fags.

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God Hates Lady Gaga

According to yesterday’s New York Times, this has been an unusually cold winter due to a mass of high pressure over Greenland that has forced the jet stream down under North America’s collar. According to the Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, “God is knocking the crap out of this country”…

"The Mountain Goats" by Beth Rankin via Flickr

Experiments in Sincerity

John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats helps bring the Age of Irony to a close.


Journey to the End of the Night

The sounds of the soul stretch from 16th-century Spain to David Lynch’s LA.

Killing the Buddha

Bono Can Kill You Just By Clapping His Hands

A friend who is an administrator at a progressive church writes me that U2 is in her town this weekend and that the buzz is making her crabby. I understand. It really is a miracle that the band has somehow maintained its reputation for righteousness even as it carts the biggest, most expensive concert set…

Jesus Riding on a Cloud, by chrislong_2008 via photobucket

Spaceship Jesus Will Come Back and Whisk Us Away

The disastrous politics of Rapture, in an excerpt from Patience with God.


Ginormous Academicus

Earlier this month I had the pleasure to tell you about the Chronologium Academicus, a remarkable poster that a man named Guy Cutrufo has devised in the hopes of helping to restore academic knowledge to its rightful place against the onslaught of mindless celebrity culture—“An Antidote for Trivia,” it says. Well, now Guy has done…

Is God Dead?

“Is God Dead?” Guy Dead

John T. Elson, the journalist who wrote the article behind Time magazine’s famous “Is God Dead?” cover in 1966, just, well, died. The New York Times obituary reports: The issue caused an uproar, equaled only by John Lennon’s offhand remark, published in a magazine for teenagers a few months later, that the Beatles were more…

Chronologium Academicus

Revolution Starts with a Poster

It is to Academia and Time, What a World Map is to Geography and Place! This evening we had the pleasure of hearing from Guy Cutrufo about his magnificent creation with a magnificent Latin name, the Chronologium Academicus. It’s a $65, 53.25″ x 73.25″-inch, laminated poster that collects and organizes the sum of all academic…

Killing the Buddha

Stuff White Evangelicals Like

Have you always wanted to get into the Stuff White People Like craze, but you can’t because you don’t relate to its implicit godless secular humanism? Well, maybe this one’s for you. Since August of last year, this recovering evangelical in Seattle, a preacher’s kid married to a preacher’s kid, has been tallying a list…

by bamakodaker via flickr

Christian Dojo

A high kick to the anti-Christian tendencies of an aspiring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Killing the Buddha

Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford, & the Synagogue of Satan

After ignoring the most politically influential religious group in Washington for decades, the Washington Post is going big with the revelation that randy Republicans Mark Sanford and John Ensign both sought spiritual solace in the C Street House of the Family, aka the Fellowship. I happen to have written a book about The Family, so…


A Symbologist Speaks!

In my Religion Dispatches essay this week about Angels & Demons, I make a crack about the nonexistence of the hero’s stated academic discipline, “symbology.” But maybe I’m wrong. I think I’ve just found a symbologist. Trolling around on the Internet today, I found this Canadian Masonic website which denies the conventional wisdom that the…

Nokia Theatre at Times Square

Spaces of Hope

Praying in the Cathedral of Rock.

Killing the Buddha

The Little Servant of God

A new BBC documentary introduces the gospel’s most adorable foot soldier.

Killing the Buddha

Fairies or Princesses?

We recently received a delightful short essay from James Royce McGuire, writer of fiction and plays, called “The Fairy Land.” Let’s wander through it together! It’s extremely easy to lose our way spiritually. Tennessee Williams, in his play Suddenly Last Summer, compares the delicacy of a poet to that of a spider web. In a…