Popes, Pseudo-Events, Computer Marriage and the Simple Life

In this week’s reading list, we have quite a combination. A murder in Montgomery remains unsolved as the victim’s simple life leaves no social media, email or other electronic footprints for law enforcement to follow. A Florida man is demanding his right to wed his pornography-laden computer. We’ve also got a scholarly love letter to Neil Postman, because who doesn’t love Neil Postman, and a look at whether the papacy is embracing the pseudo-event.

If you missed it last week, be sure to check out Adam Graber’s excellent review of the film Her: Her and Artificial Immortality.

Tammany on the Tiber – First Things

Are we at the point where election to the Petrine office is itself a signal of godliness, a guarantee of eventual canonization? Will each pope canonize his predecessor—or two or three of them—with the unspoken assumption that his own successor will return the compliment? Is election a promissory note drafted in white smoke, and redeemable at death for public elevation to the rank of saint? It begins to look that way. …

This expedited exercise in saint-making was a premature apotheosis, a pageant of synthetic piety staged for immediate media consumption. With this as a precedent, canonization risks becoming one more pseudo-event, like bread and circus, thrown to a culture besotted with virtual reality.

My Scholarly Love Letter to Neil Postman – Vanessa Domine

Or: “A Very Brief and Highly Autobiographical Introduction to Media Literacy Education”




Florida man demands right to wed computer – Telegraph

Chris Sevier, a man from Florida, believes he should be allowed to wed his Macbook. Mr Sevier argues that if gays should be allowed to marry, then so should other sexual minorities. Mr Sevier states he has fallen in love with a pornography laden computer. “Over time, I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women,” he told a court in Florida. This appears to be not a passing holiday romance, but a lifelong commitment.

Yemen’s latest, greatest threat: Twitter? – Christian Science Monitor

“Now, [the government] has no choice but to deal with things like civilian casualties. Look at the drone strike…two weeks ago: People knew that three civilians were killed before the Defense Ministry even issued a statement saying that an airstrike had occurred. The age of the government being able to control the story is over,” says Mr. Muslimi.

But he concedes it could be a double-edged sword. “It’s now far easier for others to spread misinformation and propaganda – including AQAP itself.”

Philip Welsh’s simple life hampers search for his killer – Washington Post

Philip Welsh rose every morning to a pot of coffee, a half-pack of cigarettes and a seat behind his Smith Corona typewriter. No Internet and no cellphone. Just a 65-year-old man trying to make sense of the world through his poems and trying to connect to it through his letters.

One February night, someone came inside — someone Philip may have known — and beat him to death. The case remains Montgomery’s only unsolved killing this year.

Philip seemed to have no secrets and no enemies. And he left behind no electronic footprints — the text messages, e-mails, cellphone logs and social-media traffic that police routinely use these days as they seek out unknown quarrels and final movements.

Other articles

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Mediacurrent. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benrobertson.io

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