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Mad Men Gone Schizoid

Season Seven, Episode Five (“The Runaways”): A very disjointed episode of Mad Men. Don Draper is marginal to most of its action; two watchable characters (Roger Sterling and Joan Harris) are absent from it entirely; and we endure two eruptions of gratuitous weirdness, one in the form of kinky sex, the other in the form of sexualized mutilation. Altogether, we find the story de-centered and distinctly schizoid. Continue Reading »

Women and Teaching in Evangelicalism

The new president of Cedarville University, a Christian college in Ohio, has decided that no woman shall teach a man in any Biblical studies. This reflects a long-running debate within Evangelicalism (see here and here) over gender complementarianism and the role of women. To be . . . . Continue Reading »

Piketty and the New Economy

Larry Summers has a fine review in Democracy of the hot new book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. He points out that the publication of this book in English corresponds with a political/cultural moment in which we’re anxious, concerned, and to some degree confused by a growing economic inequality. Continue Reading »

First Links — 5.14.14

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Double-Bind of Muslim Women’s Rights
Rochelle Terman, the Feminist Wire

What Marilynne Robinson Could Learn from Herself
Marybeth Davis Baggett, Christ and Pop Culture

Could Drive You to Drink
Nicole Gelinas, City Journal

World War I History Divides Balkan Schoolchildren
Denis Dzidic, Marija Ristic, Milka Domanovic, Josip Ivanovic, Edona Peci, Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Transitional Justice

Dressing for Failure: How the Death of Home Ec Unraveled American Fashion
Linda Przybyszewski, Time

Spring Web Campaign

Friends and readers, yesterday we launched a campaign to raise money from you, our web readers. Every spring and Christmastide we send out letters to our subscribers, asking them for support. The changes in publishing mean that you’re now an important part of the First Things community. And we need your support too. 

Putting out a first rate magazine and running a vital website with fresh content every day requires significant resources. We have $2.3 million budget. Less than half comes from subscriptions. The rest comes from donations.

First Things is an important institution. We’re a forceful voice for moral sanity, cultural depth, and religious orthodoxy. That’s unique, and I hope worthy of your support. Please donate today.

Goodnight, Blood Moon

Prominent pastor John Hagee’s “blood moon prophecy,” the claim that eclipses track with significant events in the history of Israel, has gained coverage if not much credence in USA Today, the New York Daily News, and other outlets. There are political and religious responses that could be offered to his prophecy, but as an astronomer I had one question in mind: Do Hagee’s factual claims hold? The answer is no. Continue Reading »

Ending the Commencement Follies

The intolerance displayed by faculty and students over commencement speakers has to be brought to an end. Doing so requires courage on two fronts. First, the administrators who superintend to the process whereby speakers are chosen have to adhere to it and defend it. Second, when speakers are uninvited or withdraw, men and women of character and principle ought to refuse to take their place. Continue Reading »



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