Mormon beefcake

by Henry Farrell on March 3, 2009

From the “Chronicle of Higher Education”:

Brigham Young University has rejected an appeal from a student who had completed all the requirements for a degree but saw his diploma withheld last year after he published Men on a Mission, a calendar of buff Mormon missionaries without shirts, the Associated Press reported.

The student, Chad Henry, was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university, over the calendar last July. In September he was told that, to receive his degree, he would need to be reinstated as a member of the Mormon church.

Which reminds me that anyone who hasn’t read Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s wonderful account of how she “came to be excommunicated”: by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really doesn’t know what they are missing.

On the Bus

by Michael Bérubé on March 3, 2009

I am looking forward. . . .

<a href=””>On the bus home from Philadelphia a few weeks ago</a>, I had an Important Insight.  It was an insight borne of decades of driving and my last couple of academic gigs, which (because of their locations far from airports) have entailed traveling in shuttles and buses and vans and town cars and rickshaws.  And I’ve decided to share it with you, just because (and just below the fold).

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Then the music stopped.

by Harry on March 3, 2009

People who liked the John Martyn song I posted, or who are just mourning his loss, might want to listen to this loving tribute to the great man on Mike Harding’s show.[1] So many great songs it seems a shame to pick one out, but listen to the end, and hear him do “Singing in the Rain”. Sorry, I only noticed this today; it’ll go offline in about 24 hours.

[1] One of the great irritations of later life, more confirming evidence in this broadcast, is the dawning realisation that Phil Collins might be a nice chap — and one with real discernment.

I know, readers, sometimes it seems that we at CT are determined to continue discussing Rawls vs Cohen on the requirements of justice until our last reader has been driven into screaming insanity, but have faith – this is empirically relevant stuff.
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Moderation for moderation’s sake

by Henry Farrell on March 3, 2009

David Brooks has been getting a “lot”: of “flak”: for this “column”: (which is a follow up from this “one”: a week earlier).

We [moderates] sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. … But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. … a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor … an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new. … U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment … All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward. … U.S. … skeptical of top-down planning. … U.S. has traditionally had a relatively limited central government. … Obama … actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. …The first task will be to block the excesses of unchecked liberalism. … up to moderates to raise the alarms against these ideological outrages. … moderates will have to sketch out an alternative vision. This is a vision of a nation in which we’re all in it together — in which burdens are shared broadly, rather than simply inflicted upon a small minority.

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How many friends should you have?

by Harry on March 3, 2009

I especially liked this:

A newspaper columnist once told of her shock when, having struck up a rapport with a man over dinner, she was told at the end of the meal he had no vacancies for friends. He was operating a “one-in, one-out” policy. Six months later she received a card stating he was now available for friendship.

There’s a lot of fretting about Facebook in England these days, because it is creating attention-deficient friend-flators. When Henry announced that he had joined and pressed the rest of us to, someone criticized him for assuming that it was reaching a critical mass just because he, and his friends, had joined. I, by contrast, assumed that it was about to go belly-up because I had joined (I’m the classic late-adopter, as evidenced by my recent desperate bulk-buying of cassette tapes and tape players before they stop making them because the rest of you have started using ipods). That was a while ago, but I’ve got to tell you that its days are now definitely numbered, because not only has my wife joined but, worse, I just became friends with the mother of one of my secondary school friends.