Social Media

Eastern European Resistance to Islamization

If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you won’t have forgotten the scene in Rick’s Cafe where the German officers who are singing “Die Wacht am Rhein” are drowned out by the French patrons who burst into a rousing rendition of the “Marseillaise.” Something similar happened last week at the National Opera in Cluj Napoca, Romania. A [...]

Overcoming Our Smartphone Addiction

No artifact shapes our daily lives so much as the smartphone. Most of us are ashamed by our dependence on them, but we don’t consider tossing them out—for that seems impossible to do. Nor apparently, do many parents consider withholding them from teenagers, so necessary they seem to the new shape of social life. So [...]

The Three Books I’m Going to Read Next

"The medium is the message."  ~ Marshall McLuhan I toss that McLuhan quotation up there as if I understood what it means, but I’m no better off than the poor schlemiel in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall that receives a severe public drubbing from McLuhan himself. “You know nothing of my work,” McLuhan tells the pedantic [...]

Throwing Stones: Everyone’s Favorite Fallacy

Classical education required students, before anything else, to learn the basic building blocks of thought. In the ancient trivium, students learned grammar, logic, and rhetoric, or how language, argument, and persuasion work. As emphasis on these arts has decreased, so has our society’s capacity to think. And where thought decreases, emotion increases, so that we [...]

The Age of Noise

More than 70 years ago, the English satirist Aldous Huxley wrote that modernity is the “age of noise.” He was writing about the radio, whose noise, he said “penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions—news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama [...]

The Evaporation of Truth

Everyone agrees that public discussion has become divorced from reality. On the hard left people talk about capitalist propaganda, while the soft left, including most respectable journalists, complains about conspiracy theories, truthiness, fake news, and the post-truth era. At the same time, conservatives protest media omissions, distortions, falsehoods, and narratives, while the far right grabs [...]

The Problem with Facebook Mommy Groups

The days are long and lonely for millennial moms who are often living outside of Catholic community simply because there are so few of us going to Mass and even fewer having babies. In a society that claims children as the heaviest burden we 20-somethings can undertake, we ache for the companionship of other mothers with [...]

Three Doctors’ Common Antidote to Social Media

The noted psychologist and author Dr. Leonard Sax recently visited our youngest daughter’s school for a talk with parents, focused on his recent book, The Collapse of Parenting. Sax is a leading proponent of treating boys and girls differently, and educating them separately; previous titles of his are Girls on the Edge (2005), Boys Adrift [...]

Texting is for Twits

The other day I learned something startlingly new about young people. So startling, in fact, that I was quite blindsided by it. When I say young, by the way, I mean the first generation to come of age in a world surrounded by—indeed, defined by—computers. The generation, that is, of my own children. And most [...]

The #CharlieCharlieChallenge: Conjuring the Devil

“Come Holy Spirit and Fill the Hearts of Your Faithful….” Days after celebrating Pentecost, as Christians we have rekindled our devotion to the third person of the Trinity, perhaps praying once again for his presence and help. But at the same time as we call on the Holy Spirit, teens in the wider culture are [...]

Social Media and the Sacrament of the Present Moment

Why are people who quit social media so amusing? After years of embroiled use, a bad break up, a nasty spat, a vague feeling of listlessness, another Luddite throws up his hands and renounces social media with—of all things—a tweet or a Facebook status: “Friends, I’m deactivating my account in a week. I can’t take [...]

The Sarcastic Soul

Every era has its own brand of humor. Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas were the toast of Victorian London; the Marx Brothers’ buffoonery left 1930s audiences roaring with laughter in their theater seats, and Brian Regan’s honest, contagious humor has entertained us for nearly two decades. Satire, that darker strain of humor, is almost always [...]

Contemporary Challenges to Family Unity

Absence often manifests the importance of presence. I think of my one year old son Raphael. When my wife is not at home, he looks at me and utters a plaintive interrogative, "Mama?" "Mama will be home soon," I respond, hoping the tone and feeling behind my words will convey a comfort their meaning cannot. [...]

The Conspiracy of Pornography Exposed

Herbert Streicher is dead. Passing from this life last March, his is numbered among the notable deaths of 2013. Herbert Streicher—a.k.a. Harry Reems—is fondly remembered as a champion of First Amendment rights. In 1974, Mr. Streicher was arrested and indicted by the FBI on federal charges for his appearance in a film and a conspiracy [...]

Great Gatsby’s Facebook Mansion

The Great Gatsby (the book; I haven’t seen the movie yet) describes a particular kind of life that used to be the sole property of well-heeled WASPs. They were the privileged ones who came from all parts of the country to convene on The East—New York, Boston, New Haven. They could afford all the new [...]

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