The Industrial Animal complex: pigs and people.

“Spain’s pigs outnumber the human population for the first time, according to figures released by the country’s environment ministry, which reveal there are now 50 million pigs, 3.5 -million more than humans

The figures show an increase of about 9 million animals since 2013 and there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of an industry that produced more than 4m tonnes of pork products and generated €6bn (£5.4bn) last year.”


“Truth isn’t truth.”

Attorney Rudy Giuliani, during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.


Make privilege visible

“One meaning of being white is that we are granted unearned privileges and structural power simply by reason of our race, without regard for our personal attitudes, values, and commitments. Peggy McIntosh has noted that “privilege is a fugitive subject” about which white people were meant to remain oblivious.3 Making privilege visible to ourselves and others demands constant vigilance. Without that vigilance, we are indeed dangerous because we behave like dinosaurs that drag a large tail behind us. Unable to see the tail, and convinced of our good intentions, we are oblivious to the havoc we wreak as we move through the world, knocking people over and flattening things in our path.4 How do we do this? By presuming we can speak for others, imposing our mission and outreach projects on others, discounting as “ungrounded” the fears and criticisms voiced by people of color, dismissing their pain as overreacting, accusing them of “playing the race card” when they call us on our oppressive behavior, and then shifting the focus to our hurt feelings.

“Making privilege visible is only the first step. In our spheres of influence, we need to interrupt racism by challenging the practices and policies that protect privilege and keep it in place. We can use privilege to ensure that power is more equitably shared. We can shine a light on every program, ministry, and endeavor we are engaged in, asking: Whose voices are being sought out and heard? Who decides what is right, beautiful, true, and valued? Whose cultural perspectives are overrepresented and whose are underrepresented? Who is seen as important to the mission and who is seen as less important?”

– Melanie S. Morrison

Dialogized heteroglossia

“Mikhail Bakhtin… developed a view of culture and discourse that’s been translated as the idea of dialogized heteroglossia: Many voices speak at once, rarely taking turns, more often speaking on top of each other while still responding to each other. Such heteroglossia is conflict-laden, with moments of mutual understanding subsumed into a larger swirl of winner-take-all efforts at persuasion, with shifting and incomplete rules. Within that frame, two competing forces are always present both in the whole of culture and in subsets of culture – that of spinning apart and pulling together. These centrifugal and centripetal forces aren’t always equal. In some moments the impulse to find harmony looks more powerful. At other times the scattering of meaning and agreements seems to rule. But neither force ever pushes the other fully out. In any setting, both are at work – always… (We) might benefit by rethinking ecclesiology in light of this view, with centripetal and centrifugal forces always in play, and wonder how God’s Spirit might be at work in the tension.” – Wes Avram

Dialectic of Entertainment

Reject the Idols

“Studying popular culture means that you are always thinking about fraudulence. Not because you seek to unveil the lie. No, the intellectual work is to explore misdirection as the commodity we cannot stop consuming. It has always been unclear whether we admire the maker of smoke or the destroyer of mirrors. Reality television is a genre that exhibits this ambivalence, since few viewers watch it without doubting everything it contains. They watch, again and again, because skepticism is the commodity this reality produces.

When Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973) wrote Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), they were hardly neutral about popular culture and its consequences. “Entertainment is the prolongation of work under late capitalism,” they wrote. “It is sought by those who want to escape the mechanized labor process so that they can cope with it again.”

We imagine that blockbuster films or pop songs offer relief from our working lives, but Adorno and Horkheimer argued that popular culture is the handmaiden of labor. “This is the incurable sickness of all entertainment,” they explained, pointing to our need to keep consuming (binge viewing, video gaming, and online shopping) in order to cope with working. We don’t work to earn leisure; our leisure is the drug that keeps us working. “The culture industry presents that same everyday world as paradise,” they wrote. “Entertainment fosters the resignation which seeks to forget itself in entertainment.”

Critics of religion speak similarly, arguing that religion distracts us from confronting reality [perhaps religion confronts us with ultimate reality?], and religious leadership suppresses resistance in part through the declaration of our salvation. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions,” Karl Marx (1818-1883) famously wrote. The critique of religion resonates with Adorno and Horkheimer’s assault on consumer culture: A demoralized public uses spectacle to believe life could be other than demoralizing. And yet these very spectacles seem to do nothing but deliver us back to our dispiriting labor.”

I always feel like a stranger.

‘I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.
Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey –
Various, mobile, and alone.
Here where I am I can’t feel myself.
That’s why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”
God knows, because he wrote it.’

– Fernando Pessoa