A little potpourri, Sunday 1/11/15

  1. Broken but rebuilt
  2. The devolution of Feminism
  3. Snopes: Sometimes, a party-pooper
  4. Parker Palmer on vocation


Hollywood doesn’t understand redemption and Christians don’t understand sin.

Terry Mattingly, explaining how Angelina Jolie’s movie, based on the book Unbroken, could not tell the “redemption” last third of Laura Hillenbrand‘s book – but there also is no “Christian” film maker capable of telling the first 2/3 honestly (and probably no actor with the charisma to play Billy Graham at the 1949 turning point in Louis Zamperini’s life).


In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many female thinkers believed they were defending their sex precisely through asserting, maintaining and celebrating appropriate gender distinctions. For example, the Victorian writer Elizabeth Wordsworth once noted that “In an ideal state of society we never lose sight of the womanliness of women…why should it be considered a compliment to any woman to be told she writes, paints, sings, talks, or even thinks, like a man?”

Even more “progressive” female thinkers who challenged conventional “feminine” virtues and roles, usually took it for granted that there was a relation between one’s biological sex and innate gender distinctions, and that such distinctions were a source of feminine dignity. For example, Abigail Adams (1744–1818), who is considered a pioneer of early feminism, wrote to her sister praising Jefferson’s daughter for “so womanly a behavior.” Similarly, in the work of certain eighteenth-century female novelists who are now celebrated as proto-feminists, we find examples of women asserting their female dignity precisely by glorying in their inherent womanliness.

The assertion of female dignity went directly against practices—such as prostitution or sexual slavery—that reduced a woman’s value or identity to her sex organs.

Throughout the twentieth-century, feminist writers began to see themselves as defending their sex precisely through their attempts to homogenize the gender polarity. No longer was it considered uplifting to emphasize the womanliness of women, as Elizabeth Wordsworth or Abigail Adams had done; but neither was it uplifting to explicitly praise women for being like men. Rather, under the feminist androgyny and egalitarianism of the twentieth-century, the greatest gift we can give women is to question the very category of womanliness.

(Robin Phillips in Salvo via Facebook)


I subscribe to the Snopes RSS feed. (I shouldn’t give away trade secrets like that, should I?) I ignore most of them, but some are clickworthy.

“When the gunman realizes that nobody else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in, that’s human nature.” (Sen. Diane Feinstein)

Alas! False! But it apparently began as satire in a now-defunct site. And isn’t that just the gist of good satire: it’s just plausible enough to make you want it to be true?


Parker Palmer says your vocation likely is what you can’t not do. (I wish I had the direct quote, but apparently that was cut from the aired version and I listened to the uncut version.)

I assume that Mr. Palmer would except besetting sins as candidates for “vocation,” even though the point of “besetting” seems to be “can’t not do it.”

But that leaves open one question: is my blogging a vocation or a besetting sin?

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.