My Christ and Pop Culture colleague, Geoffrey Reiter, has written an excellent piece on the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet for the film’s 60th anniversary. “[W]hile we may expect better special effects and more sustained action sequences in today’s sci-fi fare, the film still holds up pretty well. Indeed, on several levels, it was downright innovative by mid-20th century standards. More than that, however, Forbidden Planet delivered a solemn, countercultural warning about humanity’s interactions with technology, a warning that’s no less relevant to 21st century audiences.”
In “The Shaken Conscience of a Pro-Life Activist,” Karen Swallow Prior reflects on her pro-life activism in light of abortion provider shootings. “Did I bear some responsibility for the shooting death of an abortion doctor I had publicly protested?”
Much has been made of evangelical voters siding with Trump (which isn’t quite the case), but what sort of theology does Donald Trump represent? “It is not that Trump has caused this transformation in portions of the so-called ‘evangelical electorate.’ Rather, his candidacy has revealed the inner secularization of significant portions of the movement, which surveys have documented for some time now. Four theological words highlight the problem.”
As someone who dabbles in film criticism, this conversation about the critics’ reaction to Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq was eye-opening. “There’s just not as much at stake for the typical film critic working at a prestige publication. They’re usually white and middle class, and discussing black stories with minimal implications about their own representation in the film.”
Apple is 100% in the right concerning their current struggle with the FBI over encryption, and this Time profile of Tim Cook makes me even prouder of them. “Cook’s emphasis is on the extent to which encryption protects your data from the bad guys, the hackers and other malefactors, rather than from law enforcement — but at the same time he does convey a certain leeriness about the government’s unseemly eagerness to get at personal information.”
A Florida court just ordered Gawker to pay Hulk Hogan $115 million after they published a video clip of him having sex with a friend’s wife. The whole situation is pretty sordid but I’m happy to see a trashy site like Gawker get their comeuppance like that. However, there are some good blogs in the Gawker network (e.g., io9, Foxtrot Alpha), and I’d hate to see them suffer as a result of this decision.
The Banner Saga video game explores what it’s like to live in a godless world. “As The Banner Saga progresses, the varls’ war turns into a glorious last stand, which itself falls apart as giants join the humans in fleeing from a threat they cannot hope to face, with no goal beyond making it to the next cold town, the next silent godstone. Without the gods, the world is left a vast, empty wasteland without direction, motive, or meaning.”
As you might’ve guess from some recent posts of mine, I’ve become rather obsessed with various methods for improving website performance. Nate Berkopec offers an excellent, detailed how-to for improving webfont performance. “WebFonts are awesome and here to stay. However, if used improperly, they can also impose a huge performance penalty. In this post, I explain how Rubygems.org painted 10x faster just by making a few changes to its WebFonts.”