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.
What might the radical Left gain by incorporating religious language into its arguments? Joining the show today is Ed Simon, whose article “A Gospel for the Left” asks just that question. What is it about theological language that speaks to the oppressed in ways that technocratic cultural studies jargon cannot? What can the Left learn from liberation theology? How does Liberalism operate as a kind of secular religion? And finally, is there a sincerity problem in Leftists utilizing sacred vocabulary? All this and much more.
Ed Simon’s “A Gospel for the Left”
Link to Ed’s new book, America and other Fictions
Posted by Danny Anderson
Of course we had to cover Alex Jones's banishment from social media. Over the last few weeks, the conspiratorial chickens of Alex Jones's InfoWars have come home to roost. Jones, in one swell foop was banned from Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Facebook, Stitcher, and apparently even pornography channels. Joining the show today is our resident conspiracy enthusiast, Jordan Poss, veteran of these types of Sectarian Review episodes. Jordan and Danny discuss the background of the controversy and explore why they are so uncomfortable with Jones's fate. Jordan brings a conservative perspective, while Danny relies on a leftist critique of the banishment, but both end up drawing the same conclusions: how comfortable are we letting markets decide who has a platform? All this and much more.
ACLU Warns Against Worrisome Alex Jones Ban
Facebook Can't Be 'Ministry of Truth'
Twitter Decides to Help Alex Jones Spread Lies
The requisite "Vox Explains Everything" article
When the Content Police Came for the Babylon Bee
Ed Simon joins the show again to discuss Trump, Putin, and Russiagate. Liberals, eager to find a way to impeach Trump have been focusing on the investigation in all its minutiae, valorizing the American intelligence community, and finding conspiracy around every corner. Leftists, on the other hand, have been largely dismissive of the story, accusing Liberals of losing sight of more tangible, more structural issues. This episode, while agreeing that Liberals have gone a bit over the top, questions whether the Left is too dismissive of possible collusion between Trump and Putin’s forces.
Ed Simon’s home page
Michael Kazin’s “Five Reasons Why the Left Should Care About Russiagate”
“It Matters Yes But How Much,” by Nathan A. Robinson - Current Affairs
“Russiagate Can’t End Well for the Left,” by Seth Ackerman - Jacobin
“Trumpism It’s Coming from the Suburbs,” by Jesse A. Myerson - The Nation
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Join Danny and the Christian Humanist Podcast's Nathan Gilmour for a fun, angry rhetorical analysis of the internet's newest laughingstock, Verrit.com. Learn about Hillary Clinton sycophant Peter Daou, nephew of Fear of Flying author Erica Jong, and his Freshman Comp capacity for essay-writing. What's a "Daouist?" What do Kenneth Burke, Aristotle, and basic logical argumentation have to say about Verrit? Why can't Liberal rhetoric succeed outside the "serious middle?" Will Danny finally be able to enter polite society after purging his rage over the stupidity of Verrit? All this and more!
The Strange Life of Peter Daou
The Dada Engine
Hilarious Jacob Bacharach Tweet:
Danny is joined by Coyle Neal (of the City of Man Podcast) and C. Derick Varn (of every other podcast in the world) for a discussion about Mark Noll’s seminal book Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Rather than just discussing the book on its own terms though, the trio apply its analysis and conclusions to American Liberalism as well. The result is a sprawling, detail-rich episode, filled with plenty to consider as we think about the state of the American intellect in the Twenty-First Century.
Derick in Mormon-landia
CHRN back online
The listener contest concludes!
The Scandal, sacred and secular
Atheism tasting Protestanty
Jonathan Edwards as godfather
The Scottish Enlightenment
Cultural Panic and the Nashville Statement
Activism, Biblicism, Intuition, Populism
Evangelical College vs. Evangelical University
Patterns of Thought versus Participation in American Culture
Separation of church and state and “Religious Deregulation”
Political power over religion
The Joel Osteenification of Christianity
Applying Noll’s argument to the American Left and Right
Manichaeism in Evangelicals and Liberals
Ken Ham and “Thinking Correctly” through Intuition ugh
Religion’s importance for politics
Evangelicals and the Alt-Right
The Evangelical withdraw into their own media spaces
Urbanization and the Republic
Art rejecting didacticism
Can Democracy work?
City of Man on Marxism
Do Marxists accept original sin?
The problems of Enlightenment
Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
Nathan Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Steve Bruce, God is Dead: Secularization in the West
Solidarity in the Christian Humanist Radio Network. Danny and Megan Von Bergen of the Sectarian Review Podcast join forces with Victoria Reynolds Farmer of the Christian Feminist Podcast to discuss the controversy about "Fearless Girl," a recent Wall Street craze. If you are unfamiliar with the Fearless Girl, she is statue that has been placed in direct confrontation with the famous Wall Street charging bull. To many, she has become the symbol of an emerging girl power in the boys club of American finance. There is an opposing viewpoint, however. Jillian Steinhauer, writing for Hyperallergic, labels her "Fake Corporate Feminism." This episode of Sectarian Review takes Steinhauer's article as its jumping off point. Is there something redeemable for feminism and anti-institutional resistance in Fearless Girl? Is it a corporate shell game that co-opts the language of resistance just to tame it for the PR benefit of the existing power structure?
Also in this episode, Danny announces a special contest for Sectarian Review listeners with special prizes at stake!
"Facebook Feminism, Like it or Not" by Susan Faludi
General Electric Millie Dresselhaus ad
Mayor de Blasio gives official public approval to Fearless Girl
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?