Heaven Is for Real Is Phony
Hollywood never met a true story it couldn’t fuck up. In Braveheart, the Battle of Stirling Bridge is fought without the bridge, a fuckup akin to a D-Day movie without a beach. They can fuck up downward, casting the five-foot-seven Martin Sheen as the famously tall Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg. They can fuck up life and death: In Band of Brothers a show so faithfully detail-oriented that it might well have been called, Honest, We Read a Book: The Miniseries, they killed one character 19 years before reality did.
But those are wars. Big things. You know, 50 million dead, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous, the atomic bomb. Getting smaller stories right is easier, or so you’d think. Like Heaven Is for Real, the tale of a four-year-old Nebraska boy—deliciously named Colton Burpo—who went to heaven then came back to tell his pastor father all about it. The bare bones of that story sounds like a Capra script already, but somehow, Hollywood fucked it up. Heaven Is for Real is phony. It isn’t even a fun bad movie.
You’ve probably heard about Heaven Is for Real, which, like everything, was a bookbefore it was a movie. Published in 2010, it sold like only a relentlessly heartstrings-jerking tale of a young boy who saw heaven during emergency surgery could. It was co-written by Colton Burpo’s father Todd and Lynn Vincent, who also co-wrote Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue and Never Surrender, with Lieutenant General William Boykin, who left the US Army after saying that America was at war with Satan and that he didn’t fear a Somali warlord because he was armed with a God, while the Somali had only an “idol,” and who once proudly stated that he wanted to crawl into heaven on all fours covered in blood. Those are the kind of righteously tone-deaf people Lynn Vincent writes books with, people whose level of doubt vacillates between, “Am I right, or am I really right?”
Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
To (have a) dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretense that they alone are valid and absolute.
Admit it. You’re some degree queer, just maybe not sexually. Help support the LGBT community by wearing it proudly.
The government shutdown and looming threat of default have pitted House conservatives against the Republican Party’s traditional allies in the business community. Populist Tea Partiers driven by ideology care little for the pleas for sanity from banking lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce; indeed, they wear their disregard for Big Business as a badge of honor.
Where does that leave the Koch brothers? The billionaire industrialists have funded a sprawling empire of libertarian-conservative activism; they’ve been dubbed the bankrollers of the Tea Party. Liberals frequently accuse them of seeking deregulatory policies to further their company’s financial interests. But what happens when the Tea Party’s ideological warfare threatens to plunge the U.S. economy into chaos?
The answer: The Kochs appear to be distancing themselves from the movement they’ve helped to create.
Read more. [Image: Robert Galbraith/Reuters]
I think people misunderstand, sometimes, the difference between “empathy” and “sympathy”, and this is getting us in trouble. Sympathy is closer to pity. Empathy, which is essential for being human, means that you can imagine yourself in some else’s situation, good or bad. And feeling *real* empathy, even empathy with “the enemy”, with the bottom of the barrel of humanity, with the suicide bombers, with the child molesters, with the Hitlers and the Osamas, is necessary. If you, as a human being, can’t stop and try to imagine what sort of pain and agony and darkness must have descended upon these people to twist them up so badly, you have no roadmap to untwist the circumstances under which they were created. … There can be no limit to empathy. … If you can’t go the final mile, you’re not there yet.
Pair with philosopher Judith Butler on how reading and the humanities make us more empathetic and philosopher Roman Krznaric on empathy and social change.(via explore-blog)
I didn’t risk my life in Afghanistan so I could come back and watch people go hungry in America. I certainly didn’t risk it so I could come back and go hungry. Anyone who genuinely supports cutting food stamps is not an intellectual or an ideologue – they’re a bully. And nobody likes a bully. Except other bullies. It’s time for regular Americans to stand up to these bullies. Not cower in the corner, ashamed of needing help. Because if there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that you never know when you’ll be the one in need.
I have been pushing a very different view, as embodied in my recent book "The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Private vs. Public Sector Myths." I argue that businesses are typicallytimid — waiting to invest until they can clearly see new technological and market opportunities. And evidence shows that such opportunities come when large sums of public money are spent directly on high risk (and high cost) technological missions. This raises debt of course, but also GDP, keeping the ratio of debt-to-GDP in check.
These missions are expensive precisely because the government does much more than just solve market failures. It intervenes in both basic and applied research and even provides early stage seed finance to private companies. Indeed, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants have funded a higher percentage of early stage seed finance than private capital. This is because private finance is too risk-averse — afraid — to engage with industries characterized by high technological and market risk. The fear explains why we have seen venture capital entering, in industry after industry, only decades after the initial high risk has been absorbed by government.
Mission-oriented public investment put men on the moon, and later, lead to the invention and commercialization of the Internet, which in turn has stimulated growth in many sectors of the economy. Indeed, as I describe in the longest chapter of my book, the U.S. government has been a leading player in funding not only the Internet but all the other technologies — GPS, touchscreen display, and the new Siri voice-activated personal assistant — that make the iPhone, for example, a miracle of American technology.
Crucially, mission-oriented policies are needed today to tackle climate change and other large societal, technological challenges. But the fear that such investments will cause debt to rise too high and stymie growth — ignoring the potential positive effects on growth that these investments can make in the long run — is paralyzing governments throughout the world.
Boys are told from a young age that whatever they do will be excused under the ‘boys will be boys’ mantra, and that ‘boys will be boys’ mentality leads to what I call the ‘boiling frog’ problem of women’s sexual boundaries. I call it that because if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump right out, but if you put a frog into a pot of room-temperature water and slowly heat it to a boil, the frog will acclimate as it heats and never jump out, eventually boiling to death. Similarly, when we learn as young girls to tolerate ‘low-level’ boundary violations like the ones we often are forced to suffer in silence at school, at home and on the street – bra-snapping, boob-grabbing, ass pinching, catcalling, dick flashing ‘all in good fun’ relentless violations that adults and authorities routinely ignore – it makes it harder for us to notice when even greater boundaries are being violated, eventually leading to the reality that many women who are raped just freeze and fall silent, because that’s what they’ve been taught to do over and over since day one. You tell me what’s more infantilizing: repeatedly letting boys (and grown men) off the hook for their behavior because ‘boys will be boys’ and we can’t ever expect any differently, or creating a consent standard in which all partners take active responsibility for their partner’s safety, and which acknowledges the truly diseased sexual culture we’re soaking in every day.