Double Trouble From The Bard

The only real stumble in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s gleeful dancing on the line production of The Comedy of Errors is a prolonged, easily eight full seconds, flatulatory audio effect. The fart, which would be a juvenile epic poem if delivered by an actor bodily, is merely deflating when played on stereo. It’s a pity the outburst doesn’t work—the idea is in the text and the show’s a riot. But the overstep is in the execution.

The Nations of the Earth

By the time the fire alarms sound at the Hudson Institute a few minutes into Tuesday afternoon, dozens of protesters have already been arrested for disrupting proceedings at the opening Kavanaugh confirmation hearing across town. So, though no one bothers to move even a little toward the exits, when the alarm turns out to be false one wonders, if just for a moment, whether this wasn’t a deliberate delay. After all, nationalism is, at least to so many these days, such a dirty word.

War in the Heaven of Our Minds

Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World is a gentle manifesto from Maryanne Wolf. At Tufts and UCLA and elsewhere, Wolf is a teacher and student of the reading brain, the miracle of neuroplasticity you are using right now, and Reader, Come Home is a celebration of books that have pages, and a declaration of careful revolt against acquiescence to the tyranny of screens, and while I, convinced by her writing, initially drafted by hand this little essay to you, you are reading this on a computer, or on your phone, or perhaps a tablet, and are wondering about now if this sentence will ever draw to a close, or if like Cicero’s colleagues in the Roman Senate you must really sit and wait in resignation for the syntactic labyrinth to unwind itself, until it arrives finally at a period.

Sacred Politics

Cuius regio, eius religio. “Whose realm, his religion.”

With this 1555 declaration, and on behalf of his brother Charles V—by the grace of God, Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King of Germany, King of Italy, King of all Spains, etc.—Ferdinand, King of the Romans, delayed a conflict that threatened to tear the continent apart. The Treaty of Augsburg offered the martialing princes of the Holy Roman Empire a settlement: Within their domains they would dictate religious life. Whether Catholic or Augustana confessing Lutheran, rulers and subjects would be united by faith and sword. But they would tolerate their neighbors. Later, in 1648, as the Peace of Westphalia brought over a century of European religious wars to a kind of close, this arrangement grew and spread and lay the foundations of modern religious pluralism.

Power and Responsibility

Reuben drove six hours to see Jordan Peterson. He brought his mother. It’s his birthday present.

Reuben, “like the sandwich”—”or the patriarch,” I say, prompting a laugh of agreement—just finished his freshman year at a small Christian college. He’s maybe a bit above average height, thin, with an open, intelligent face. He has a mop of curly hair and is wearing a sensible plaid shirt. He’s studying something combining bits of business and engineering.

What’s Your Politics? What’s Your Religion?

Josh Tillman has been praying in public under his haha-just-goofing-doesn’t-mean-anything-promise Father John Misty moniker for six years now, but never more openly than in his latest album, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’. The confessional is waiting and there are 10 lush songs to get through owning all the ways he’s made sacred love profane, with invitation for our souls to get naked, too. He’s hurt his wife, Emma; he has hurt himself; and, Jesus, the Almighty, He won’t leave Tillman the hell alone.

Athens and Yeezy

Kanye West broke the already broken brains of Twitter yesterday when he indicated a certain degree of “dragon energy” sympathy for President Donald Trump and Trump agreed. He tweeted a picture of his signed MAGA hat, too, poo-pooed Obama’s legacy, and also expressed a desire to hang out with everyone’s favorite Tolkien-loving Bond villain, Peter Thiel. That’s just a bit of West’s hot content that prompted Rolling Stone to call his online activities “a real threat,” and he hasn’t let up.