Hello, everyone. This evening, as always, the Internet holds forth its treasures, and TGR is gathering some in a big net. May they stimulate you intensely.
- Why did God systematically ruin a decent, faithful man’s life after someone dared him to? This is the inflammatory question raised by the Book of Job, and as Joan Acocella demonstrates in the New Yorker, Judeo-Christian commentators have spent millennia trying to explain how a benevolent deity could also have a sadistic streak. Spoiler alert: Nobody has done much better than David Hume’s common-sense observation that God sounds like an asshole. Makes sense. Guy did let his only kid get crucified.
- Whether you’re talking kindergarten or college, teachers who are good at their jobs believe fervently in the existential importance of education for its own sake—whatever economic benefits it also carries. Teachers are some of the last real humanists. But can any occupation that exists in the actual world be considered a manifestation of a radiant, quasi-spiritual impulse? Many teachers would snort at that. In a post called “Hanging Up on a Calling,” Rebecca Schuman explains that the “joy of teaching/I’d do it for free!” narrative has long been a way to justify paying teachers as though their high-skill jobs weren’t extremely complicated and difficult. Teaching is an enjoyable, salutary occupation; I’m good at it; and I hope I can keep doing it until I’m old. But fuck any calling that doesn’t come with decent wages. Educators live right where everybody else does, and you can’t pay medical bills and student-loan invoices with a Love of Knowledge. The day I can’t earn middle-class money working full-time as a teacher is the day I stop being one.
- The premise of Bad Lip Reading shouldn’t be funny for more than 15 seconds; the actual practice of BLR, in the right hands, is sometimes transcendent. The weirdly articulate quality of the nonsensical “readings” is what cracks this blogger so consistently up. Here, after another shitty whimsical GEICO ad, is a tour of the contemporary National Football League and its gladiators. “Kill Dracula at once, that’s what I would do immediately.”
- About 90% of the content on Jezebel strikes me as lazy, tedious, and brittle (JUDGMENT BY MALE ALERT), but this anti-profile of the perpetually slim and greasy Adam Levine, whom the author compares to “an outspoken yoga enthusiast who won’t stop trying to talk you into anal,” is vital to our culture.
- Every now and then, the novelist/blogger/sports pundit/pseudo-advice columnist Drew Magary guest-edits Jezebel for like a day, but usually (thankfully) he does most of his web work for Deadspin, and his weekly “NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo” is fantastic. This week’s edition, “On Softness,” offers a representative mix of half-ironic quippery about football, masculine panic, television, fecal matters, children, and Gregg Easterbrook’s undying pomposity. Hot takes, highly recommended.
- As a cultural staph infection, the, uh, rapper Macklemore is making cold hard cash (from braindead teenagers and undergraduates) and some vicious enemies (among humans who have liked hip-hop for more than six months). Given the former, I’m not sure how much Macklemore cares about the latter, but Jack Hamilton’s cruel, brilliant assessment of Seattle’s most famous white MC is required reading. Some Alexander Pope-grade knife work going on here.
Shall we end with some music? Sort of. See the next post, y’all. A YouTube video link would look wonky on this page. Preview: This week’s jam involves sex-themed R&B.