Arts

  • What Work Is For

    I read Tim Keller's book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work, shortly after it came out and appreciated many of the things that it had to say. So when...

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  • Hammering at the Big Questions

    And we hear lots of thoughts too on social architecture; it's what Cardus does. Thinking and building go together.

    We often hear big questions asked about architecture. What worldview shaped that art museum, or this cathedral? Why are those ...

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  • Love in the Digital Age

    In The Atlantic this week, Leah Reich shares an interesting story about Tofu, a twitter bot designed to read your tweets and then tweet back to you. People who have actually engaged with the bot were often surprised with its uncanny ability to understand them better than many "real" people ever did.

    We're still connected, but are we even friends? We fell in love when I was nineteen and now we're staring at a screen. Will I see you on the other side? We all got things to hide. It's just a reflection of a reflection. —Arcade Fire...

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  • Cardus Daily's Greatest Hits of 2013 - Part 2

    5. In August, Cardus senior fellow John Seel took a look at beauty and the arts. Opportunity … requires the foundation of a home and family that provide security, support, and an education in virtue, which in turn enable children to achieve success in school. - Families, Flourishing, and Upward Mobility

    We've put together a list of the blog posts we published this year that we wouldn't want anyone to miss. For part one, click here.

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  • Cardus Daily's Greatest Hits of 2013 - Part 1

    10. In February, Peter Stockland interviewed Anne Leahy, Canada's former ambassador to the Holy See, about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. To say you know what is good for people is pretty much the very definition of paternalism. So why not be honest about that and sign up for it? - 'You'll Thank Me Later': Paternalism and the Common Good 8. And our friend Kyle Bennett considered artists as images of the Creator: 

    As a holiday treat, we've put together a list of some of our most popular blog posts from this year. Enjoy!

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  • Canadian Christmas in the Reflektive Age

    Our picture of Christmas is shaped, in large part, from the transference of imagery from Europe. We in North America are so accustomed to the tableau of images from Europe that we rarely stop to think of how an event in a little shed in a dry and dusty town in Palestine came to be associated with candles, snow, and green boughs.

    Christmas in Palestine looked nothing—nothing—like the way we picture Christmas today. There was no snow, there were no jingle bells, no jolly fat men, and definitely no turkey. And it’s likely that, in a town where hordes were coming in to register with th...

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  • Patronage: Of Visions and Revisions

    I can still recall a visceral outrage at my Dad's indecipherable scribbles on my primary school essays as he moved paragraphs around and suggested new words. He actually took the time to give the rationale for all his choices, but an indignant voice told my 12-year-old self: "He is throwing a rock through a stained-glass window." I'm sure my page-long book report on Prince Caspian was no such thing, but it was hard to humble myself and make the changes.

    There is something satisfying about a page of text marked up in a sea of red—of course it helps when you're on the right side of it. I've been on the giving and the receiving end of vic...

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  • A Flourishing Detroit Requires More Than an Influx of Cash

    An "emergency manager," Kevyn Orr, has been appointed to oversee the restructuring of the city's finances. Part of that process has been for the city to declare bankruptcy. That unprecedented strategy received confirmation on Wednesday when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steve Rhodes issued a decision permitting the city to pursue protections that will allow a restructuring of Detroit's debts.

    The city of Detroit continues to be a haunting case study of municipal implosion, economic upheaval, and urban renewal.

    An "emergency manager," Kevyn Orr, has been appointe...

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  • Leadership Involves Loss

    Gideon Strauss, a native of South Africa, where he served as an interpreter for the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission under Archbishop Desmond Tutu, writes on the way we remember Nelson Mandela's life.

    Editor's note: This piece was published yesterday in Fieldnotes Magazine, a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. Rep...

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  • Everybody and Nobody

    Let's take the example of neighbourhoods. Steven Johnson, guest on the show and author of the book Emergence, proposes that neighbourhoods are organically created by a series of small accidents, what he calls 'swerve'. For example, imagine you are walking to the grocery store to grab a few ingredients for dinner and you pass by a restaurant that just opened.

    In one of the very first episodes of RadioLab, Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, and their team tackle the topic of Emergence. Emergence is the way in which smal...

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  • The Gravity of Gratitude

    A review of the film Gravity prompts one Convivium contributor to cultivate a practice of gratitude this Thanksgiving. 

    I am three weeks into a new daily routine where I have been journaling the things for which I am grateful. Coinciding not coincidentally with Thanksgiving, my intent is to instill this new habit until the end of October with the hopes that it will stick. It...

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  • A Culture Breaking Bad?

    Either way, I think that we get a good reading of the cultural climate if we look at the heroes gripping our collective attention. And with the final demise of Walter White, the heroic centre of AMC's Breaking Bad, there is something more than a little troubling about the type of hero for whom we find ourselves cheering.

    If you haven't been caught up in the Breaking Bad buzz for the past few years, then you likely didn't tune in with the other 10.3 million people last Sunday night to watch the show's finale and, more lik...

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  • Dispensing in "Unsuperfluous Even Proportion"

    Yes, the 17th century Renaissance polymath: John Milton. While this was not followed by the corollary that we English folk should also go and read Adam Smith, I assume he was arguing for that balanced perspective for which the liberal arts education is designed. [/caption]

    I recently attended a seminar on land use where the speaker, an English professor, suggested that the best thing that one who wanted to work with natural resources could do would be to read Milton.

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  • Be Not Afraid: Prophecy in War-Time

    While fear may seem the only option, Doug Sikkema reflects on the work and life of Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who used his last words to urge against being afraid.

    This article was first published in 2013 during the Syrian conflicts.

    If you've been sucked into the 24-hour news cycle lately, or ever, it might seem that fear and hopelessness are ...

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  • Called to the Show

    It is the dream of every AAA ballplayer to be called up to the show. It's the day they spend their entire career preparing for. It comes with new demands and scrutiny. Dostoyevsky, in his novel The Idiot dropped the enigmatic phrase, "Beauty will save the world." Ippolit Terentiev asks Myshkin: "Is it true, prince, that you once said that beauty will save the world?" and then mockingly adds: "What kind of beauty will save the world?" But Myshkin gives no answer to Terentiev's question.

    The time for artists is now. They are being called up to the show. Their role in cultural renewal can no longer be relegated to the minor league.

    It is the dream of every AAA ballplayer...

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  • Deeply Personal and Familiar

    Last week, NPR released a behind-the-scenes video of the duo where they talk about this tension between them, about taking a break, and about the music of the upcoming album. Williams says that "great art is birthed from great tension." Later in an interview, she explains, . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    On August 6, The Civil Wars will be releasing their second and self-titled album, produced by Comment friend Charlie Peacock. While there is excitement for this release, there is also a sense...

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  • Baseball's Silence

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the actual time in baseball when "everyone on the field is running around looking for something to do (balls in the air and runner advancement attempts)" takes five minutes and forty-seven seconds during a three-hour-plus game. That's 5:47 out of 3:00+. When it was just the players playing who were tracked, however, baseball could not break double-digits in the getting stuff done department.

    I have dined out for many years on a comedian's observation that baseball is five minutes of action crammed into three hours. It now appears the quip is actually correct.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the ...

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  • The Extraordinary Ordinariness

    In a lovely, reflective article by Charles McGrath, who identifies himself as Munro's first editor at the New Yorker Magazine in the 1970s, Munro confirms that a lifetime of short story writing has come to an end. It is astonishing, of course, to think of Alice Munro turning 82. Writing that endures seems to confer on the writer not just extended literary mortality but also an exemption from normal human passage.

    One of the small, quiet, but deeply meaningful stories on Canada Day was the news in the New York Times that Alice Munro will write no m...

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  • Cultural PTSD

    Academic terms are not normally thrown around the set of NBC's Today Show. More commonly it is the source for fluff pieces, pseudo-news, and celebrity interviews. But recently with great earnestness host Matt Lauer asked Zachary Quinto, "What is it about our zeitgeist that so many of the blockbuster films are apocalyptic in nature?" Zachary was on the show to promote his film, Star Trek Into Darkness, where he plays the character of Spock. Zeitgeist is a German word meaning "spirit of the age or time," and is often attributed to the philosopher Georg Hegel. Sadly, Spock had no meaningful response to Lauer's query. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: "An asteroid named 'Matilda' is on a collision course toward Earth and in three weeks the world will come to an absolute end. What would you do if your life and the world were doomed?"

    Zeitgeist?

    Academic terms are not normally thrown around the set of NBC's Today Show. More commonly it is the source for fluff pieces, pseudo-news, and celebrity interviews. But recently with great earnestness host Matt Lauer asked Zach...

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  • The Connorian Oeuvre: A Tribute to Stompin' Tom

    In my files I have a letter from Stompin' Tom himself for a piece I wrote in the Calgary Herald arguing strenuously that the "Connorian oeuvre" should be properly recognized as authentic folk poetry, and recognized as far more meaningful to Canadians than any dot or dash Margaret Atwood ever put to paper.

    Long before "The Hockey Song" propelled him to Canadian earworm status, I was an apostle of Stompin' Tom Connors and a fierce advocate of the late, great Prince Edward Islander's elevation to poet laureate.

    In my files I have a letter from Stompin' T...

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  • Book of Jobes

    After watching a Calgary performance last week, with playwright Janz participating in a post-production conversation, the predominant emotion I felt was admiration and sympathy. The story is of a Cerebral Palsy sufferer who has remarkably persevered through her disability (with the heroic assistance of many caregivers and providers) to earn a Ph.D.; she has coped with the deaths of her two closest friends; and she survived a vicious robbery in her home in which she was close to death, only to subsequently forgive her attacker and live her life with evident purpose and zeal.

    Edmonton playwright Heidi Janz' autobiographical Book of Jobes deals with the complexities of coping with difficult providences. The play's central character, Rachel Jobes, despairs with God regarding the continued usefulness of her life in an extend...

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  • When the false moustaches and wigs fall off

    Like a couple of weeks ago when I went to Edmonton to see the University of Alberta Law students 2013 show "Charlie and the Law Factory." As you would expect, this is in the campy student tradition of a bunch of stressed-out student amateurs deciding to play music, sing, dance, act badly, and use a series of puns and jokes (some good, some bad) to string together relatively incoherent scripts involving—as best I could discover—the search for The Reasonable Man.

    Sometimes revelations just kind of quietly sneak up on you, tap you on the shoulder, and then slap you in the face.

    Like a couple of weeks ago when I went to Edmonton to see the University of Alberta Law students 2013 show "...

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