On Faith


Faith:

PRRI 2014 survey mapTwo weeks ahead of the Super Bowl, half of American sports fans say they believe God or a supernatural force is at play in the games they watch, according to a new survey.

That percentage includes Americans who pray for God to help their team (26 percent), think their team has been cursed (25 percent) or more generally believe God is involved in determining who wins on the court or in the field (19 percent). Overall, half of Americans fall into one of these groups, according to the survey Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday.

“As Americans tune in to the Super Bowl this year, fully half of fans — as many as 70 million Americans — believe there may be a twelfth man on the field influencing the outcome,” Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert Jones said in a statement. “Significant numbers of American sports fans believe in invoking assistance from God on behalf of their favorite team, or believe the divine may be playing out its own purpose in the game.”

Football fans were the most likely to pray for their own teams to win, with 33 percent saying they ask God to intervene in games, compared to 21 percent of fans of other sports. They were also more likely to think their teams were cursed (31 percent compared to 18 percent) and to take part in rituals before or during games (25 percent to compared to 18 percent).

(Kaleem)

It is time to actually stop and think about this, for minute. No, no, don’t pray about it. Think.

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A Note to Lindy West: You’re Not Helping


Humor: A Public Scourge?Poor Lindy West.

No, no. It’s just that as much as I sympathize with feminist issues, her whine—along with the rest of society’s apparent shock and horror—about Seth MacFarlane’s performance as host of the Oscars just doesn’t sit right.

West’s rant at Jezebel, titled, “Sexism Fatigue: When Seth MacFarlane Is a Complete Ass and You Don’t Even Notice”, is the sort of thing that really doesn’t help anyone or anything:

A strange thing happened on Sunday night when I watched Seth MacFarlane joke that Zero Dark Thirty is a movie about how bitches be naggin’, and listened to him croon about how lovely Jodie Foster’s naked boobs looked mid-simulated-gang-rape. I felt…nothing. Just nothing. Nothing beyond exhaustion and an extreme desire for wine, anyway. I wasn’t happy about it, but compared to what I was expecting from MacFarlane, it was a yawn. Compared to the sheer volume of hate and misogyny I filter every day for my job, it was a sneeze.

So I wrote happy jokes about other stuff instead. I bowed out, essentially. And I was thrilled to read and disseminate smart takedowns of MacFarlane’s primetime misogyny on Monday morning, letting other people do the heavy lifting that I was too fatigued to engage with. Because this fatigue—it’s really something.

My struggle as a feminist and a critic isn’t to contain my outrage—it’s to remind myself to feel anything at all.

This fatigue is self-induced. There’s no other way to put it: You’re doing it to yourself, Lindy!

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Background sexism


Online degrees make you sexy?Perhaps the phrase background sexism seems a misnomer to some, but here’s the thing: While many of us—including men—would claim feminist sympathies in our outlook, it seems that a woman’s value is all too often integrally linked to her sex appeal.

Consider the image at right. While there is always something to be said for aesthetics in advertising, there are other forms of beauty—both generally in nature and specifically about women—that are not sexual. Yet advertising appeals to sexuality because marketing data suggests that doing so is somehow effective.

What, then, does this say about the people who compose the marketplace? Would the advertisement be nearly as effective if, instead of a “hot” woman, the spot used a buff, handsome man?

After all, what is a sexy man? The buff, clean, handsome man is often associated with gay appeal, and there is often a sort of Janet Weiss thing among women: “I don’t like a man with too many muscles.”

So what is sexy among males? Emo? Intellectual? Savvy? Archetypal physical specimen? What is the generic male equivalent of the “hot chick”?

Men can be successful or desirable according to a fairly diverse array of standards, but there persists, front and center in the culture, the necessity of a woman’s sex appeal. And perhaps front and center is a strange place to find background sexism, but more often than not, even those of us who would pronounce our feminist sympathies either look past the hot woman in the advertisement, or simply play along.