Hi everybody and welcome to another episode of the Sectarian Review Podcast. Today, we’re going quite a bit out of my depth and looking at a recent controversy that Taylor Swift found herself in. I’ve of course heard the name Taylor Swift before, but it’s a genre that has escaped me almost completely. But there is something underneath the situation we’ll be discussing today that really appeals to me and I think it’s perfect for the show because it will, I think, allow us to think about the intersection of political activism, celebrity, and commerce. So this is why I was delighted that Victoria Farmer of the Christian Feminist Podcast suggested we take an episode to explore this really weird moment in pop music.
Danny Anderson is joined by Michial Farmer of the Christian Humanist Podcast and Michael Gruber (one of Farmer’s former students!). On tap this week is an exploration of the phenomenon we call “Rock Star Face.” Why is it that rock stars, particularly male ones, feel the urge to pose for pictures with ridiculously self-serious looks on their stupid faces? Taking the abominable Don Henley as a test case, the trio trace this tendency through jazz, the 1960s, and Romanticism. Bashing the Eagles all along the way, of course.
In this episode of the podcast, Danny is joined by Rob Osborn to discuss an essay called “Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker: A Scandal of Self” by Martyn Wendell Jones, which recently appeared in the Weekly Standard. By using the story of the Bakkers’ rise and fall, Jones introduces us a form of religious devotion called “Religious Enthusiasm.” Learn how the Bakkers’ PTL Club fits into a long tradition of Christianity which emphasizes personal experience over liturgy and theology. What does the Bakker story tell us about televangelism? How does the apocalyptic imagination of Jim Bakker’s new show help us trace a shift in Evangelical culture? Are there other ways in which “Religious Enthusiasm” lives on, unnoticed, today?
“Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker: A Scandal of Self” by Martyn Wendell Jones
Mount Aloysius College Teaching Conference info
James Isenhower of the Everything is OKpodcast joins Danny for a discussion about Christian culture’s reliance upon celebrity. What’s valuable and what’s pernicious about this practice? A quasi-sequel to our previous “Celebrity Liberalism” episode, we leave no stone (a few at the most) unturned in our exploration of Celebrity Culture’s invasion of the Christian imagination.
All about the Everything is OK podcast
Podcasting as “fluffing your own ego”
Potential problems with celebritism in xtianity
The poisonous effects of the American Dream and the elevation of the self
What kind of celebrities are we talking about?
Sports and Christianity (God wants Auburn to win)
Christian Persecution Complex
Zach Hoag on Celebrity Christianity
Celebritism in Lefty Christianity as well
Pastor as celebrity
HGTV’s Joanna Gaines and Celebrity as sign of God’s blessing
“Celebrity as an excuse to sanctify things that shouldn’t be sanctified”
Celebrity as ambassador to systemic injustice
“You want a country founded on Christianity”
Q: Are we not celebrities? A: We are podcasters!
Tony Hale as a better version of Christian celebrity
Celebrities in their cars making cell phone videos
Danny staying in the institutional church
Sharing Pharoah Dave Ramses stories (H/T Nathan Gilmour)
James destroys argument x on social media
When Celebrity Christianity Backfires
Calling Out Celebrity Christianity & Counterfeit Justice
Tony Hale talks about being a Christian in Hollywood
The Gathering Testimony: Joanna Gaines
Celebrity isn’t just harmless fun – it’s the smiling face of the corporate machine | George Monbiot
everything is ok
Well it was an accident, but the Sectarian Review Podcast is timely for once. In a conversation recorded before Meryl Streep's controversial political speech at the Golden Globes, Danny picks the brain of Symptomatic Redness host C. Derick Varn. The first in an anticipated series of "celebritism" episodes, listen to find out why liberalism is drawn to celebrity spokespeople. What are the possibilies and problems of this kind of politics? What does the Democratic party (and liberalism as an idea) gain or lose by handing their rhetorical authority over to the rich and famous?
The Guardian on Celebrity as the face of a corporate machine.
"Bad Ways to Criticism Trump" via Current Affairs
And The New Republic (of course)
Q1: So everybody has a “theory of everything” that explains Trump’s election, which seems like a chasing after the wind to me. Today, I just want to focus on some of American Liberalism’s failings. Specifically, its tendency to defer its rhetorical work to celebrities, I can see the roots of this in Jane Fonda’s public opposition to Vietnam. Am I wrong to place so much of this on the New Left?
Q2: You shared an article from Current Affairs recently called “Bad Ways to Criticize Trump.” John Oliver was a specific target of that piece’s scorn. What is the essential problem with the “Daily Show-style” of politics?
Q3: In Liberalism, there seems to be a divide between believing and doing. The whole celebrity thing is a convenient way to rallying behind a belief that requires no action. It leads me to wonder what we even mean when we say “politics.” Is celebrity activism really politics or is it posturing?
Q4: So people flock to the music and movies that feature these celebrities, yet their ability to impact the voting habits of much of that fan base is uncertain at best. Why the disconnect between popularity and influence? Is the problem that these folks are “brands” and therefore necessarily limited in their ability to connect to the political lives of much of the electorate?
Q5: Much of this style of politics explains Hillary Clinton’s unexpected failing among the general electorate in certain states. However, weren’t many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters partaking in a similar type of hero-worship? And Trump himself of course is a reality TV star. Is the real question not whether celebrity politics is effective, but what type of celebrity politics we’re talking?