Monday, June 23, 2008

The Story of Stuff

"Our enormously productive economy...demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption...We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate."

For the entire Story of Stuff click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The last week of school, in U.S. history, I asked students to share examples of social and political commentary from their music collection. Well, here is mine. After visiting a hospital in Malawi with 300% bed occupancy and failing to receive support from American Christian leaders for his ONE campaign, Bono wrote "Crumbs From Your Table" during a night of drinking. The "crumbs" in the song refer to a passage from Matthew 15: 27. I've included a few more verses below for context:
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly."

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

25 The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.

26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."

27 "Yes it is, Lord," she said. "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table."

28 Then Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Crumbs From Your Table

From the brightest star
Comes the blackest hole
You had so much to offer
Why did you offer your soul?
I was there for you baby
When you needed my help
Would you deny for others
What you demand for yourself?

Cool down mama, cool off
Cool down mama, cool off

You speak of signs and wonders
I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

You were pretty as a picture
It was all there to see
Then your face caught up with your psychology
With a mouth full of teeth
You ate all your friends
And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends

You speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

Where you live should not decide
Whether you live or whether you die
Three to a bed
Sister Ann, she said
Dignity passes by

And you speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jesus Shuttlesworth vs. the Black Mamba

It is about an hour before tip-off of game one of the 2008 NBA finals. Gangsta commish David Stern and the fans all got what we wanted: A Lakers-Celtics throwback series. Every major media outlet has beaten the major storylines to death, except one, The Ray Allen-Kobe Bryant feud. Supersonicsoul has a nice timeline of the feud dating back to 2004 when Ray Allen initially criticized Kobe,
“He feels like he needs to show this league and the people in this country that he is better without Shaq,” Allen says. “He can win championships without Shaq. So offensively, he's going to jump out and say, 'I can average 30 points. I can still carry the load on this team.' If Kobe doesn't see he needs two and a half good players to be a legitimate playoff contender or win a championship, in about a year or two he'll be calling out to Jerry Buss that 'We need some help in here,' or 'Trade me.’ And we'll all be saying, 'I told you so,' when he says that."

Allen concludes by stating, “He has the talent [to lead a team], he can do it. But is his attitude going to allow him to take a back seat and let Lamar Odom shine and let Caron Butler have his nights and bring those big guys along with him?”
Jesus Shuttlesworth, the prophet.

When Shaq left, Kobe shot, and shot, and shot, and shot, without making his teammates better. Caron Butler left town, and flourished in Washington, making the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. The Black Mamba (easily the stupidest nickname I've ever heard) began this season demanding that the Lakers upgrade the roster or trade him to a contender. When the Grizzlies gift-wrapped Pau Gasol at the trade deadline, the Lakers immediately became the best in the West. Kobe? Still a punk. Just a punk with a huge front line.

Of course, now he has a score to settle with Ray Allen, and that should scare the hell out of every Celtic fan out there. If you haven't noticed Ray Allen hasn't exactly been lights out this postseason. Those two ankle surgeries in the offseason seem to have taken their toll. Kobe will use those words from 2004 and try to put up 50 every night, no matter what Zen tactics Phil uses. And we all know he could do it.

But that would require him to shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and shoot...

And that hasn't worked so well in the past has it?