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Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Culture Archives

Culture & their fat Kentucky home

posted by Rod Dreher

Via The Browser, here’s a really good slice-of-life portrait of a small, rural Kentucky town where most people are obese. Excerpts: The residents of this town of 2,100 — 95 miles southeast of Lexington and deep in the Appalachian foothills […]

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Greece: Broken economy, broken culture

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a long, informative report from Greece, painting an unsettling portrait of a country at the beginning of harsh austerity. What’s particularly interesting is the story’s look at how Greek cultural and political habits caused the country’s economic troubles — […]

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Paternalism and Australia’s Aborigines

posted by Rod Dreher

Via The Browser, here’s a morally complicated story about how the Australian government, in an attempt to restore moral order to out-of-control Aboriginal communities, stepped in and took substantial control of their lives. Excerpt: Four years ago Nanette Rogers, a […]

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Maybe you shouldn’t own a house

posted by Rod Dreher

Joe Nocera says the American dream of home ownership is one from which we ought to wake up. Excerpt: [FDIC chair Sheila Bair] also pointed out that during the bubble, when anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage, the […]

Culture falls apart: a Ken Myers dissent

posted by Rod Dreher

Last week I posted something lamenting the fragmentation of our culture in postmodernity, but trying also to identify some good things about it. Excerpt: When I think about how relatively monotonous the culture of pop music was in the 1970s, […]

Culture breaks apart; is that so bad?

posted by Rod Dreher

Megan McArdle says there is no such thing as mass culture anymore, and she’s right. She notes that the final episode of “Lost” drew what is today considered a large viewership — over 13 million — but that compared to […]

American Jews less Jewish? Does it matter?

posted by Rod Dreher

Lots of controversy afoot over Peter Beinart’s New York Review of Books essay in which he observes that younger American Jews don’t have as much connection to Israel and to Zionism as their forebears — a situation Beinart (who is […]

Shocked, shocked: Miley Cyrus skankifies self

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, this was as inevitable as it is depressing:Smart, somewhat cynical analysis in the Atlantic. Excerpt: 2. Weird is the new sexy. And ugly is the new pretty. Dancing around, flipping your hair, and smiling at the camera flirtatiously is […]

How to avoid epistemic closure

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Andrew Sullivan, I find a rather helpful list of suggestions from Will Saletan about how to avoid epistemic closure. The broader Internet discussion started as an inquiry into whether or not conservatives today can be described as closed to […]

Culture more important than politics, money

posted by Rod Dreher

David Brooks writes about a favorite theme of mine: This is not to say that policy choices are meaningless. But we should be realistic about them. The influence of politics and policy is usually swamped by the influence of culture, […]

Elites and their private contempt

posted by Rod Dreher

John O’Sullivan, commenting on Gordon Brown’s gaffe: What makes this much more than simply embarrassing for Labour is that it illustrates the private contempt of Left elites for ordinary Labour voters, with their old-fashioned patriotic and conservative social prejudices on […]

The dirty miracle of ‘Exile on Main Street’

posted by Rod Dreher

Did you know we’re coming up on 40 years since the release of the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street,” which to my mind is the greatest rock album of all time? Forty years! Here’s a marvelous story from Sunday’s […]

Climate’s not the only thing changing

posted by Rod Dreher

Thought-provoking piece on Slate today about a NOAA report forecasting what’s facing the weather agency between now and 2035. Slate writer Jim Tankersley takes the data and foresees climate-driven social and political change coming down the road. Excerpt: Mass migrations […]

Word of the moment: Yaka-wow!

posted by Rod Dreher

Boing Boing explains why we’ve all got to start working “yaka-wow” into our daily conversation. For example:

An ape in a wig with sad blue eyes

posted by Rod Dreher

Is there anything the writer William T. Vollmann won’t try for the sake of a good story? He visits a Japanese make-up artist who caters to Japanese businessmen who secretly want to cross-dress. He discovers, among other things, that the […]

Why are inner-city Americans poor?

posted by Rod Dreher

Heather Mac Donald, writing in City Journal, criticizes a New York City program to help the poor by giving them cash rewards for constructive behavior, saying it’s built on a misunderstanding of why inner-city Americans (versus, say, Mexicans) are poor. […]

Digital power in the postmodern age

posted by Rod Dreher

A great Edge exchange between Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky about how the Internet and digital technology works to affect power relations within polities. Morozov says he thinks techno-utopians in the press are taking a too-narrow view of how the […]

Western art in the post-Christian West

posted by Rod Dreher

How London’s Victoria & Albert Museum dealt with the challenge of presenting Christian art to a public that has forgotten the narratives that defined the West. Excerpt: This situation is unprecedented in western civilisation: even 50 years ago, when these […]

Schooling and common culture

posted by Rod Dreher

A comment from a combox thread: Scotch Meg, While I am generally supportive of home schooling, it seems to me that if you want children educated in a common culture people should rather be boosting church schools, which of course […]

iPad and the paradoxes of progress

posted by Rod Dreher

David Pogue’s NYT review of the iPad seems to have captured perfectly the polarization it’s causing. Techno-geeks tend to hate it, while the masses love it. Laura Miller’s Salon piece spells out what I intuited about why I’d love to […]

Abandon politics, change the world

posted by Rod Dreher

The cultural conflict scholar James Davison Hunter has a new book out that I’m definitely going to get, criticizes Christian political engagement of both the right and left. From a Hunter quote on Andrew Sullivan’s site: The tragedy is that […]

Interview with ‘Scarface’ viral director

posted by Rod Dreher

You could have knocked me over with a feather from Arianna Huffington’s pink boa when I opened the following e-mail the other day: Hey Rod, I saw you posted my viral film on your blog. I know you disapprove, but […]

Museums as ethnic advertising

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in Saturday’s Washington Post, Marc Fisher uses his review of the new German-American museum to remark critically on the essential fraudulence of museums of ethnic heritage. Excerpt: But when each ethnic group creates its own museum, visitors are left […]

Red Toryism lands in America

posted by Rod Dreher

Greetings from Georgetown, where we heard tonight the English public intellectual Philip Blond introduce Red Toryism to an American audience. Blond is an engaging speaker and and real optimist about the possibility of positive political change (at dinner tonight after […]

Chicken keeping as a feminist act

posted by Rod Dreher

Attention Julie Dreher! Attention Leonore Owsley! Attention Jacqueline Hill! Attention all hen-keeping women of the blogosphere! Did you know that keeping chickens is a feminist act? The New York Times Magazine says so. Excerpt: All of these gals — these […]

Suburban sprawl: a statist invention

posted by Rod Dreher

Austin Bramwell cannot figure out why libertarians and conservatives like suburban sprawl. Excerpt: It’s odd that self-described libertarians such as Stossel are so slow to grasp that government planning makes sprawl ubiquitous. You would think that libertarians would instinctively grasp […]

The Franco-Celtic Vishten

posted by Rod Dreher

Naturally, I get all my advice about Celtic music I should try from a Texas Jew, the irrepressible Chuck Bloom of Plano. Chuck sent me last week a couple of discs, which I’ve been trying to get burned to my […]

The architecture of nihilism

posted by Rod Dreher

I’d said in the Ugly Churches post that calling a particular church “regrettable” isn’t meant as a judgment on the religion itself or the parishioners who worship there, but only on the architecture itself. But it’s true that architecture, especially […]

Why no Jewish fantasy novels?

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat investigates via an essay by Michael Weingrad, who takes up the question, “Why are there no Jewish Narnias?” Douthat, who links to the Weingrad essay from his blog entry (which I’m trying to get you to visit), writes: […]

All hail crop mobbing!

posted by Rod Dreher

Hey you young agrarian punks, get offa into my field! Excerpt: The Crop Mob, a monthly word-of-mouth (and -Web) event in which landless farmers and the agricurious descend on a farm for an afternoon, has taken its traveling work party […]

A bad bit of biddy

posted by Rod Dreher

Boing Boing posted this very short children’s parable from an old storybook. It’s kind of strange and compelling. Take a look: What do you think it means? Do you think it has a different meaning for parents and children? I […]

The paradox of meritocracy

posted by Rod Dreher

I was struck last week by the David Brooks column in which he considers a paradox of our time and culture: As we’ve made our institutions more meritocratic, their public standing has plummeted. We’ve increased the diversity and talent level […]

About those piercings, young people

posted by Rod Dreher

This morning I was in line getting my Pennsylvania driver’s license, and noticed a teenager in front of me getting his learner’s permit. He had a small ring in each earlobe — not pierced in the conventional way, but rather […]

David Rieff, on our self-blinding

posted by Rod Dreher

David Rieff is just back from India, and finds America to be sleepwalking its way to a bad place. Excerpt: It is in the manufacturing of an ersatz reality based on lies–or, in our present case, on the eliding of […]

Free riders watch the Super Bowl

posted by Rod Dreher

I watched the big game at the home of new friends and neighbors, all folks with Front Porch Republic sympathies. This morning, one of our crew, a Catholic theologian, writes to say: Every adult in the house last night was […]

If Haitian vodou isn’t demon worship, what is?

posted by Rod Dreher

Regular readers know that I hold anthropologist Wade Davis in high esteem, as I’ve been quoting extensively and approvingly from his new book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World.” As one would expect, he excoriated televangelist […]

Why we need more Tim Tebows

posted by Rod Dreher

Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins, who is openly pro-choice, makes a good and important point about masculinity, athleticism and virtue: Here’s what we do need a lot more of: Tebows. Collegians who are selfless enough to choose not to spend […]

Old people have to save America

posted by Rod Dreher

The most depressing bit of news out of Washington I heard recently was that the president couldn’t get Congress to come up with a bipartisan commission on debt reduction. The Republicans refuse to talk about tax increases, and the Democrats […]

Rescuing ideas from the culture war

posted by Rod Dreher

Just got back from a good lunch with a local Orthodox priest who is also a trained physicist, and who has a passionate interest in the dialogue between religion and science. I’m thinking about how one thing I love about […]

Smells like tween spirit

posted by Rod Dreher

You know what male teen-and-tweenagerhood smelled like in the 1980s? Polo by Ralph Lauren. It was widely believed by us male types to render girls sexually powerless before our fragrant selves. It was also an aromatic class marker, in the […]

Why is the South so religious?

posted by Rod Dreher

Randall Stephens, editor of the Journal of Southern Religion, says it has a lot to do with the South’s cultural homogeneity for most of its history. I suspect too that the fact that the South remained agrarian (and comparatively poorer) […]

The tragedy of deracination

posted by Rod Dreher

Anthropologist Wade Davis, from his excellent 2009 book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World”: Our way of life, inspired in so many ways, is not the paragon of humanity’s potential. Once we look through the anthropological […]

Is it wrong to refuse interracial dating?

posted by Rod Dreher

Over at The Root, Helena Andrews (who is black) writes about why she doesn’t date white guys. The piece is entertaining, but good luck trying to find an actual argument in it. It did make me wonder, though, if it […]

The agony of foodie yoga

posted by Rod Dreher

I keep trying to come up with something snarky or insightful to say about this story, but I can’t improve on the hilarity of the thing itself. Excerpt: Calling his mission “yoga for the Everyman,” Mr. Romanelli, 36, plays Grateful […]

To tweet like Cicero

posted by Rod Dreher

Behold, an argument that Twitter can make us better writers of oratory. Excerpt: Even the best of [Obama’s West Point] speech is lackluster. Now turn to Cicero’s Philippics, as translated by the wartime code breaker DR Shackleton Bailey 30 years […]

Does China’s rise threaten us?

posted by Rod Dreher

The philosopher A.C. Grayling reviews Martin Jacques’ new book “When China Rules The World.” Jacques believes that the West will decline relative to China’s rise, and China will bring forth a different kind of modernity onto the world stage. Grayling […]

Facebook privacy settings you should activate

posted by Rod Dreher

As some of you who have tried to friend me, or otherwise engage me on Facebook know, I’m definitely not much of an FB user. I almost never check my page, mostly because I am already overburdened with more information […]

Why community organizations have declined

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk ponders why devotion to church and community organizations has declined so much in the last couple of generations, taking as her examples her shul and her grandmother’s experience in Eastern Star, the ladies auxiliary of the Freemasons. Sharon […]

George Noory, a religious talk radio host?

posted by Rod Dreher

Loved this Atlantic Monthly profile of George Noory, the host of the overnight syndicated radio show “Coast to Coast.” I had no idea that Art Bell had left the show years ago, and handed it off to Noory. Why is […]

Haiti: Religion as a negative example

posted by Rod Dreher

While we’re talking about the unseen value of native religions, David Brooks reminds us in his column today that a big part of Haiti’s problem is voodoo. Excerpt: Why is Haiti so poor? Well, it has a history of oppression, […]

The economics of building community

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk has been reading a guy who points out that there are a lot of people who talk about how great it would be if we had community instead of a mass society of individuals, but who don’t want […]

Religion and empiricism

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m on a Wade Davis kick this week, so I do apologize for the repetition in this week’s blogging of these themes of religion, truth, and culture. But I find this stuff engaging at the moment, and appreciate your comments […]

Who’s going to grow our food?

posted by Rod Dreher

It took Sharon Astyk’s blog post about the demographic crisis in agriculture (she’s now blogging on Science Blogs, by the way) to crystallize in my mind what rubbed me the wrong way about Caitlin Flanagan’s disparaging Alice Waters for her […]

A black linguist defends Harry Reid

posted by Rod Dreher

As you know, this is no longer a politically partisan blog, but I do want to call your attention to the black linguist John McWhorter’s defense of Harry Reid re: the senator’s controversial remarks about Obama and black English. I […]

The separation of religion and life

posted by Rod Dreher

Good Ross Douthat column today, talking about the meaning of Brit Hume’s on-air appeal to Tiger Woods to embrace Christianity. Douthat neither endorses nor condemns Hume, but does question our culture for pushing the discussion of religion strictly to the […]

“Avatar” and cultural loss

posted by Rod Dreher

I finally made it to “Avatar” today. Whatever else there is to say about the film, it was well worth seeing for the visual spectacle alone. I saw it in 3D, and it was great fun. It’s also fun, in […]

Here in the homeland

posted by Rod Dreher

Today I’m in sub-freezing, wet south Louisiana, where I flew yesterday from Phila. I’m picking up a couple of pieces of furniture from my mom and dad’s place, and driving it back to Dallas in the morning in a U-Haul. […]

Hooray! A Walker Percy documentary

posted by Rod Dreher

Via First Things and Doug LeBlanc comes fantastic news! Watch: About the filmmaker.

The future of Britain’s food

posted by Rod Dreher

The UK government has announced a new “food security” policy — and it’s not going to make localists happy. Excerpt: Imported beef. Genetically modified potatoes. The disappearance of those handy labels that tell you just how far your green beans […]

In UK, poor Muslim families doing better

posted by Rod Dreher

Poking around the Templeton Report archives this afternoon, I found this news of a Templeton-funded research project that examined life among a geographic segment of economically disadvantage British teenagers. Here’s one of the things researchers found: Hodge Hill is one […]

Techno-utopians and hedonism

posted by Rod Dreher

Evgeny Morozov says that Western geeks who think that Twitter and related information technologies are going to topple authoritarian governments are naive. Excerpt: But this is an anachronistic view of the world. Modern authoritarian states have eagerly (but selectively) embraced […]

Arguments for the existence of God

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve just started a novel called “36 Arguments for the Existence of God,” by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. It will be released next week. Here’s what the author says on Amazon about her book: Dinner party hostesses used to be warned […]

Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!!

posted 3:25:02pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mommy explains her plastic surgery
In Dallas (naturally), a parenting magazine discusses how easy it is for mommies who don't like their post-child bodies to get surgery -- and to have it financed! -- to reverse the effects of time and childbirth. Don't like what nursing has done to your na-nas? Doc has just the solution: Doctors say

posted 10:00:56pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Why I became Orthodox
Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be sure) was the October 12, 2006, entry in which I revealed and explained wh

posted 9:46:58pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Modern Calvinists
Wow, they don't make Presbyterians like they used to!

posted 8:47:01pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

'Rape by deception'? Huh?
The BBC this morning reported on a bizarre case in Israel of an Arab man convicted of "rape by deception," because he'd led the Jewish woman with whom he'd had consensual sex to believe he was Jewish. Ha'aretz has the story here. Plainly it's a racist verdict, and a bizarre one -- but there's more t

posted 7:51:28pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

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