Mars Hill was an evangelical church founded by a charismatic figure Mark Driscoll that was based in Seattle. Driscoll proved a controversial figure, at once a brilliant evangelical leader and a bullying leader also accused of plagiarism and fraud. Mike Cosper tells this story in his podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. The podcast speaks to our present moment, whether or not one is interested in Christianity or in megachurches. It is an extraordinary example of how to tell a story of our time through an in-depth exploration of one exemplary cultural catastrophe. I had the pleasure of speaking with Cosper and Yuval Levin- who will also be speaking at our Fall Conference -on the most recent episode of Cosper's podcast.
In writing about one of the many recent efforts to de-platform a speaker because of that speaker’s political views, John McWhorter rightly emphasizes the anti-intellectual and simplistic arguments of those who justify such acts.
This week I screened Dave Chappelle’s The Closer for some of my students. It was optional. But I was heartened that they were eager to see the Netflix special that has generated so much controversy.
Professor Bright Sheng showed a movie of Othello in his music composition class at the University of Michigan. Because Laurence Olivier appears in blackface in the movie, students called for his removal and colleagues denounced him.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has issued a report “The Architecture of Repression: Unpacking Xinjiang's Governance.” What is going on in Xinjiang is the closest thing to a totalitarian movement in power that we see now in the world.
On Hannah Arendt’s 115th birthday on October 14th, the Hannah Arendt Center convened its Annual Fall Conference, Revitalizing Democracy: Sortition, Citizen Power, and Spaces of Freedom. The effort was to explore the movement for citizen assemblies from a wide plurality of perspectives from activists, artists, public intellectuals, business persons, and students. Watch a recording of the webcast here.
As Amor Mundi Readers know, I am a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance. This week the Alliance sent a letter to MIT protesting the disinvitation of University of Chicago Professor Dorian Abbot. Professor Abbot had been invited to give a prestigious lecture in his specialty field of climate and planetary science.
Thomas B. Edsall looks at three in-depth voter surveys to ask why some people continue to support Donald Trump and still believe he won the last election.
Recent years have not been kind to experts, technocrats, and specialists in government. Amidst our hyper-partisan politics, there is a desire for policy to be made by experts who are thought to be neutral, objective, and informed. But experts have continually proven mistaken in their response to Covid-19, leading to the politicization of expert-driven policies. The experts in the U.S. military bungled the pullout from Afghanistan.