The Monks of Mount Athos

Posted by Whit Barringer , Saturday, November 29, 2008 11:53 AM

Monastic Burials on the Holy Mountain

Happy 'Hanxgi'n from the overly stuffed author o' this blog.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, November 27, 2008 4:49 PM

I am stuffed. Good Lawd.

Hope everyone else is having a great Thanksgiving!

Oh, if you must.

Posted by Whit Barringer 12:02 PM

My Wish List

If you want to get me something for Christmas or my birthday (Jan. 6), click that button. If you don't want to get me something on the list, hopefully it'll help you figure out what I might like.

This isn't a solicitation. This is just where I'm going to direct anybody who asks me what I want, because I can never remember. Problem solved!

Firestarters: Highlights of the Highly Miscellaneous Part VI: Thanksgiving Eats Edition

Posted by Whit Barringer 9:04 AM

I have a few food links for teh 'Hanksgivin' holiday. Just a few, but they're worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Quote of the Day III

Posted by Whit Barringer 8:57 AM

"[T]he Times brings us a template for how to delegate T-day like a CEO. Which means what, nowadays? Running your meal into bankruptcy?"

--Sadie, -"Turkey Day: Are You A Kitchen Slaver, Or Shirker?"

Attention spans are for suckas.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, November 24, 2008 9:16 AM

Things that I keep wanting to write into my Curriculum Vitae:

  • "-incarnated as Shiva, destroyer of worlds, -"
  • "-crushed freshman dreams by giving a successful lecture on Nietzsche, -"
  • "-fell in love with Kierkegaard all over again, -"
  • "-cemented power, overthrew the administration, and became 'Overlord,' -"*
  • "-mastered the craziness that is the 10-hour paper,-"
  • "-found the meaning of life in the bottom of a bowl of ramen,-"
It almost reads like a Chuck Norris Fact List, doesn't it?

*I don't plan to do this, but it would certainly be an awesome addition to my CV.

Five Things I Could and/or Would Have Asked Chuck Klosterman If There Wasn't a Gap Between My Brain and Spinal Cord.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, November 20, 2008 12:41 AM

Chuck Klosterman is awesome. Not in the awe-inspiring way a hero might be awesome, but in the happy-accident way that a very seemingly regular guy with great writing talent became a best-selling author through some of the oddest series of circumstances is awesome.

He spoke on Tuesday to a crowded room of people, many of which had books in hand (I had Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs), nodding and laughing at Chuck's sense of humor. He's certainly odd, but oddly fascinating in that he reminds me of one of my good friends in manner and speech, yet he seems so different from anybody I know. I think that reading his book caused me to imprint an unreal image on him (as would reading any book by any author that you had never met previously), but now I can at least say that he's a pretty good speaker.

He read a selection from the section of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs in which he lists 23 questions that he would ask someone and, depending on their answers, decide if he could love them or not. He played this game with the audience, and it was a lot of fun (if long). I don't know that we gave enough good answers that he fell in love with us, but there was plenty of endearment for him on our parts.

After the talk, I thought long and hard about a question I wanted to ask him today (Wednesday), as I was going to participate in a roundtable with him. He was great, again, but I fumbled over all the questions I wanted to ask, remembered vaguely what it related to, and simply said, "Your essay on porn was one of my favorites," referring to such an essay in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. He nodded and seemed unsure of what to say to that, not because of the subject, but because there was actually no question. No point of discussion. When he was prompted again later by someone else, it became a commentary on the usability of the internet, which is interesting but not what I so feebly tried to dig out of my poor exhausted brain.

So, to make myself feel better, I am going to provide a list of five questions that, if I had the whole day to do over again, I would pick one (or two) questions to ask Mr. Klosterman. Without further ado:


  1. "You seem to be a pretty popular writer just from what I've seen and from your talk last night. By a pretty fair definition, you have become a part of pop culture. I think you're a great writer, but I am curious: do you think you're a good writer? Or do you think that you owe a large part of your success to your positioning of your writing in the spectrum of what is "cool" and what is "pop culture?"
  2. "Concept albums in music are often either grandiose or completely underwhelming -however, they give the bands another way to actually own their music. In your experience with interviewing quite a few musicians and encountering their egos, do you believe that the concept album is more a tribute to the self (musician) or social group (band), posturing for a place in music history, a service to the fans, or to simply intellectualize the music?"
  3. "Last night, you referred to the bleak outlook for the print media because of the technological age (which I feel was a very valid assessment of where things are going), but I was curious on how you think the Web 2.0 movement will affect other media, with the advent of sites like YouTube and Wikipedia and other advances like downloadable TV shows, media critique blogs, photo hosting, and news aggregators (like Digg)? We know our culture will never be the same, but in what way do you believe these things have affected the trajectory of our culture?"
  4. "What one cultural idea, statement, fashion, political ideology, fiction, meme, etc., have Americans adopted as part of their American identity and internalized, perhaps without realizing it? If it makes the question easier, you can look specifically at a generation."
  5. "Judging from your comments last night, you're not a huge fan of Family Guy. I'm just curious as to why it doesn't appeal to you, and whether or not you believe the show has actually raised awareness and perhaps saved some cultural bits and pieces from completely disappearing from memory?"
*sigh* If only. C'est la vie.

Feel free to answer some of the questions! At least someone will have put them to good use.

Picture of the Day

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, November 17, 2008 5:14 PM



The Fight for Civil Rights is Not Over.

Posted by Whit Barringer 9:43 AM

So, California Prop 8 passed. Equality rallies have been organized across the U.S. as a response. There have been some radical rogues, but for the overwhelming majority of the time, they have all been peaceful protests.

Now the Catholic Church and the Church of Latter Day Saints (which gave over $20 million to the ad campaign for Prop 8) are crying foul... that protests are a violation of free speech.

From the LDS website:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States - that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

From the Catholic Church
"Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society. Its sole focus is on preserving God's plan for people living upon this earth throughout time," Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, said in a statement Thursday.
Effectively, as I was told while discussing this with a few of my friends, California now has at least three classes of people. Heterosexuals who can marry, homosexuals who can only have civil unions, and homosexuals who have been married. That is a house that cannot stand, I assure you.

But what I don't understand is how LDS can say that the very act of protesting is stepping on their rights to free speech and voting, when they went so far as to try and blackmail opponents of Prop 8 into giving them money. Now that the Anti-Gay Blacklist is up and running, people are screaming all over the place. I've seen it called militant homosexuality, Nazi tactics, Gay Gestapo, etc. etc.

I'm not sure I have a question here, but I'm really just disgusted at what's been going on. I don't think that the blacklist was necessarily the best course of action to repairing gay-straight relations in California and in the U.S. as a whole, but I don't think it was violating any right.

I'm incensed that LGBT groups have been treated as a group that can arbitrarily be denied or given rights. Either they can marry across the U.S., or they can't. Either they can adopt children, or they can't. Either they can be foster parents, or they can't. There can be no gray area here. These episodes in California, which will only continue to get worse as the class differential starts to wear down on those in the gay community who have been denied, will either end up overthrowing the entire system of inequality there and everywhere, or do the opposite in all the same places. The anti-gay movement has begun a fight that I wish I knew it couldn't win, but hatred runs deep in people. We never know how deep until the end.

To deny gay rights across the board is to completely disenfranchise so many - these people are your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, (and, for some and someday) sons and daughters. Many of us have LGBT friends. They are human beings like everyone else, right?

But that's not what the arguments and the laws would have you believe. How many times have you heard the argument, "If we let gays marry, then what's next! Polygamy! Incest! Pedophilia! Bestiality!" How degrading. Their right to love and marry whoever they see fit is compared to having sex with animals and small children? Not only is it a non-sequiter to give this line of argument, but it is deliberately demonizing a very human group of people.

I'm exhausted with the debate, and I have come in only in the last few years of a many decades long fight. I don't see how these arguments can stand. How they cannot be challenged. How they can actually be made into law.

Mike Huckabee recently wrote a book called Do the Right Thing. In it, he writes this:

[Heterosexual] marriage matters . . . nothing in our society matters more. Our true strength doesn't come from our military or our gross national product; it comes from our families. What's the point of keeping the terrorists at bay in the Middle East if we can't keep decline and decadence at bay here at home?
Yes, nothing in our society matters more. Nothing. Let that sink in before you move on.

This is going to become the prevailing narrative of social conservatives, which will come back to bite in 2010 and 2012. Sarah Palin, the one 64% of Republicans would like to see on the presidential ticket in 2012, has a better record than you would think on these issues, but supports an amendment to the constitution.

What a fight there is before us. It's not best to think of it that way (you tire long before the end), but it's the only way to prepare.

An Audience is Desired

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, November 13, 2008 4:12 PM

-at my soapbox tomorrow. Come see me preach the good word of Coheed and Cambria at 3:00 in MAC 302. It should be interesting, to say the least.

The healing begins.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Friday, November 07, 2008 7:11 PM

From 52 to 48 with Love.

Cartoonists can still be profound.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, November 06, 2008 6:17 PM

Election Map

Posted by Whit Barringer , Tuesday, November 04, 2008 4:39 PM

Go here to see the map with more options.

Thanks, fJohn.

Some SNL hilarioso.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Monday, November 03, 2008 10:56 PM

I thought this skit was a lot funnier than the audience let on. If you've ever seen "The View," especially since the addition of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, you can appreciate this video.

Of course, a video post about SNL wouldn't be complete without a commercial parody. I chose The Looker.

The disturbingly hilarious Lawrence Welk Show SNL skit when Anne Hathaway was hosting. Kristen Wiig is awesome.

And to end on a classic note, here's Gap Girls.

Quote of the Day II

Posted by Whit Barringer , Sunday, November 02, 2008 10:08 PM

"There was a girl coming home from school and the wind took her portfolio and papers blew up into the air and all over town. It was her portfolio of poetry. Nobody knew she wrote poems, but now people saw and picked them up here and there, everywhere. There were strange poems. There were poems about rocks speaking and geese speaking and birds flying against the wind and standing still in the air and fire in the windows of houses and yet they were not burned. It was quite interesting. To people, this girl, before, had always been known as her mother's daughter, and now she was an individual - a strange individual - in our midst."

Prairie Home Companion, News from Lake Wobegon, Sept. 29, 2008