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Archive for the ‘Media Tools’ Category



My English Teacher’s Son Won the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award

Apr16

by: on April 16th, 2015 | Comments Off

Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish won the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award this week. I have nothing to say about the book, since I haven’t yet read it. The writer’s name gave rise to my subject. Reading it released a memory rush that’s been cycling just behind my eyes ever since.

The author’s father, Gordon Lish, trails a huge reputation for his days as a fiction editor at magazines and publishing houses, for his own writing, and for his teaching at Yale and Columbia- as this Guardian piece attests. He’s also famous for flat-out pronouncements and slash-and-burn editing (most cited: excising half the words from Raymond Carver’s early stories, bringing Carver both success and ambivalence, as detailed in this 2007 New Yorker article.

I met Lish half a century ago in a high school classroom in Millbrae, California. He was one of two teachers whose kindness helped me survive four years as a strange, arty, activist teenager in a suburban world I found entirely incomprehensible. Both teachers are inscribed in my memory because they were the first adults I met who looked at me and saw something other than an annoyance or a perpetual misfit.


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Religious Justifications for Oppression: A Brief U.S. History

Apr15

by: on April 15th, 2015 | Comments Off

Throughout the ages, individuals and organizations have employed “religion” to justify the marginalization, harassment, denial of rights, persecution, and oppression of entire groups of people based on their social identities. At various historical periods, people have applied these texts, sometimes taken in tandem, and at other times used selectively, to establish and maintain hierarchical positions of power, domination, and privilege over individuals and groups targeted by these texts and tenets.

Proponents of the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRA) recently passed in states like Indiana and Arkansas argue that these laws promote religious freedoms and freedom of speech – two tenets already covered by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court opened the flood gates for the enactment of new and enhanced RFRA laws in its 2014 decision Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. While human and civil rights anti-discrimination laws primarily have never covered bone fide religious institutions, the Hobby Lobby ruling extended such exemptions to “closely held” (where no ready market exists for the trading of stock shares) for-profit corporations when these owners claim that to follow anti-discrimination statutes would violate their religious beliefs.

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Tikkun Is Hiring! Please Spread the Word.

Apr7

by: on April 7th, 2015 | Comments Off

cover

Tikkun is hiring a new managing editor!

After seven deeply rewarding years here, I am relocating to the Detroit area. I plan to stay involved with Tikkun in some modified capacity, continuing to write periodically and to contribute new ideas for upcoming issues of the magazine, but as I move on, we need to find a new managing editor to work with Rabbi Lerner here in Berkeley, California.

This moment of transition is a time of exciting possibility for Tikkun. If we work together to reach out to all of our networks, I know we can find a great new managing editor to lead the magazine in fruitful new directions. Please do share the job posting with your networks.

Looking at the magazine’s archive page and scrolling through the thirty-one magazines that I’ve helped to create during my time here is a fun reminder of the years of creative energy that I’ve poured into Tikkun. Certain covers jump out: the beautiful iconic painting on the cover of the July/August 2010 issue on Queer Spirituality and Politics (the first themed issue that I dreamed up and commissioned articles for myself); the warmhearted mural on the cover of the Winter 2012 Restorative Justice issue, which taught me so much about alternatives to incarceration and punitive justice, thanks to the inspired editorial leadership of David Belden; the U.S.-flag-turned-border-wall on the cover of the Summer 2013 issue on “Embracing Immigration and Ending Deportation“; the colorful quilt on the cover of the Fall 2014 issue on Disability Justice and Spirituality; and the surreal landscape on the cover of our Winter 2015 issue on Jubilee and Debt Abolition. These were just some of the issues that I took a special role in creating during my time here.

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An open Internet, for God’s sake!

Apr7

by: Valarie Kaur and Cheryl Leanza on April 7th, 2015 | Comments Off

NYC Rolling Rebellion Advocates for Net Neutrality and Takes on TPP & Fast Track.

What do faith and religion have to do with net neutrality? Above, NYC Rolling Rebellion protests for net neutrality in New York. Credit: CreativeCommons / Backbone Campaign.

Last month, a handful of Republicans will hold hearings on the Hill to challenge new federal rules protecting the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassified providers who connect us to the Internet as common carriers and adopted strong rules banning them from blocking or slowing down sites and charging access fees.

The vote is already touted as among the greatest public interest victories in U.S. history, most vocally by the tech world. But also among those celebrating this vote are America’s Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and humanists. What’s faith got to do with it?

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The Iconography of Sorrow: How Easter Transforms Our Response to Suffering

Apr1

by: Luke Bretherton on April 1st, 2015 | Comments Off

From pictures of poor farmers in Depression era America to bloated children in Sudan, the contemporary aesthetics of poverty subtly reinscribe the ancient division between the children of the soil (chthonoi) and children of the gods (theion) familiar to us from the Greek and Babylonian myths.

Those who live some form of what is often deemed the ideal “Western” lifestyle look down from Olympus with sympathy on the sons and daughters of the soil and their visceral imprisonment to nature and necessity.

“We” who benefit from consumer lifestyles, technological advancement and decent sewers contemplate the photographs of stricken faces and think: “If only they can be more like us.”

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Fifty Shades of Jihad

Feb23

by: on February 23rd, 2015 | 1 Comment »

A Muslim woman walking on a bridge.

What do 50 Shades of Grey and jihad have in common? Masculine violence and hatred against women, argues Roger Gottlieb. Credit: Creative Commons / FaceMePLS

Fifty Shades of Grey and Jihad. Any similarity? Of course not. One is a phenomenally successful, poorly written, vaguely pornographic novel that follows the tried and true formula of romance novels: powerful, gorgeous, got-it-all man falls for shy, immature, hiddenly attractive, and mildly spunky woman. He dominates her; she reforms him. They (and their assorted whips and handcuffs) live happily ever after.

The second is the horror of ISIS beheading and burning and slaughtering innocent victims; a range of killings from Paris to Denmark to Montreal. People possessed by an insane lust for violence in the service of a literal and infinitely intolerant interpretation of a monotheistic text and tradition. Women as chattel or worse.

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American Sniper: Chris Hedges’ “Killing Ragheads for Jesus”

Jan28

by: on January 28th, 2015 | 4 Comments »

A screenshot from the movie american sniper

A still from the movie 'American Sniper.' Credit: remolacha.net/ Creative Commons

Editor’s note: While we at Tikkun do not feel it’s fair to blame Christianity or imply that all Christians somehow implicitly support the kind of Christianity that leads some American Christians to feel that their murdering of Arabs or Muslims is doing Jesus’ work, and want to remind our readers of the many progressive Christians who join the Network of Spiritual Progressives and other organization that oppose the US “Strategy of Domination” and instead identify with Tikkun’s Strategy of Generosity (as manifested in our proposed Domestic and Global Marshall Plan (please re-read it by downloading the full version at www.tikkun.org/gmp), we do think that Hedges’ powerful critique of the movie “American Sniper” should be read by those who are too willing to forgive the American media for its implicit and sometimes explicit glorification of the U.S. military. And shame on President Obama and liberal Democrats for not having stopped the (what was at first just Bush’s) war in Iraq when they had control of both houses of Congress and the presidency 2009 and 2010, instead backing a “surge” and providing the background and equipment that eventually led to ISIS and all its cruel perversions and murderous ruthlessness.

Below we have excerpts from Chris Hedges’ piece, “Killing Ragheads for Jesus”, which can be found here, at Truthdig.com.

Mourning the Parisian “Humorists” Yet Challenging the Hypocrisy of Western Media

Jan9

by: on January 9th, 2015 | 6 Comments »

Tribute to victims killed in Charlie Hebdo shooting

A tribute at the Place de la République in Paris to victims killed during the attack at Charlie Hebdo. Credit: Aurelien Meunier/Getty

As the editor of a progressive Jewish and interfaith magazine that has often articulated views that have prompted condemnation from both Right and Left, I had good reason to be scared by the murders of fellow journalists in Paris. Having won the 2014 “Magazine of the Year” Award from the Religion Newswriters Association, and having been critical of Hamas’ attempts to bomb Israeli cities this past summer (even while being equally critical of Israel’s rampage against civilians in Gaza), I have good reason to worry if this prominence raises the chances of being a target for Islamic extremists.

But then again, I had to wonder about the way the massacre in Paris is being depicted and framed by the Western media as a horrendous threat to Western civilization, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I wondered about the over-heated nature of this description. It didn’t take me long to understand how problematic that framing really is.

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Vandana Shiva is the new co-chair of the NSP! And a request from her…

Jan8

by: on January 8th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives are delighted to announce that Vandana Shiva, the internationally acclaimed environmental activist from India has become the international co-chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives along with Rabbi Michael Lerner. Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books The Violence of the Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind pose essential challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, industrial agriculture. Through her books Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest and Water Wars, Dr. Shiva has made visible the social, economic and ecological costs of corporate-led globalization.

In her letter to us accepting the position of NSP co-chair, Vandana Shiva requested that we send out to you her request that you read the information below, and then sign and send the letter included below to President Obama and President Modi. You can copy and send the letter below to President Obama at the White House website. President Modi will receive messages mailed to the Embassy of India, 2107 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Washington, DC 20008 or by calling (202) 939-7000 or by faxing (202) 265-4351.

In her letter to us accepting this position, Dr. Shiva also enthusiastically endorsed the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution proposed by the Network of Spiritual Progressives. She had previously told us that she was particularly enthusiastic about the section of the ESRA which eliminates all private and corporate money from elections and the part which requires corporations to prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a panel of ordinary citizens in order to get or renew (every five years) their corporate charter. Please read it at www.tikkun.org/esra and help us get your local city council, state legislature, Congressional representatives and U.S. Senators, your local branches of whatever political party you belong to, your church, synagogue, mosque or ashram, your college of university, your union or professional organization, and your local civic and social change oriented organizations to publicly endorse it.

If you have not yet joined the NSP, please do so now by clicking here. Warm wishes for a wonderful New Year. We face immense challenges with a new Congress determined to undo environmental protections and defund social welfare programs for the poor and powerless. Don’t face those challenges alone! JOIN THE NSP!

With gratitude for your support,

Cat J. Zavis

Executive Director

Cat@spiritualprogressives.org

Releasing “The Interview” on Christmas: What Would Jesus Say?

Dec24

by: on December 24th, 2014 | 12 Comments »

Judging from the enthusiastic response on social media, Sony’s decision to release the movie “The Interview” on Christmas day seems to be a victory for the American way of life, but there is a tragic irony in the very truth of that view. For the “way of life” thus vindicated is addicted to a view of freedom as the right to say and do anything one wants, indifferent to the substance of what is actually being said in freedom’s name.

billboardPersonally, I am repulsed by the prospect of a distributor releasing on Christmas Day a public film depicting the assassination of a living person as something “funny.” Apart from the fact that such a film is provocative toward a North Korean leadership and culture that already appears fear-saturated and perhaps dangerous, made by producers and evidently actors who think that it is some kind of progressive political act to engage in this kind of provocation, the theme of the film should be seen as offensive and even shocking to anyone with an open heart and a respect for human life. What is funny about depicting the murder of a named individual who is currently alive? And how is it reflective of any spiritual meaning of Christmas to release such a film on a day celebrating the birth of Christ, or to non-Christians, celebrating at the very least family gatherings based upon loving human connection?

The entire public discussion of “The Interview” has focused not a whit on the actual moral substance of the film and exclusively on the importance of an ideal of free expression, no matter how offensive the expression is. This amoral view of the substance of freedom is reflected not just in relation to “artistic” freedom and the First Amendment, but also in relation to the freedom of a “free market” that sees workers mainly as factors of production-for- profit rather than beautiful human beings deserving of respect and dignity and that exploits the natural world without regard to beauty of creation and the sacredness of all life through which creation, whatever its wondrous origin, is made manifest . Freedom conceived in this way also embraces, in the name of democracy, a political process that vindicates the ability of billionaires to manipulate the consciousness of a society of isolated and socially separated television-watchers in order to influence their voting patterns.

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