Hello, friends (if you’re reading this, we’re probably friends!), and welcome to the third weekly digest, in which I talk a bit about what’s going on in my brain. Find last week’s digest here.
This week has been kind of weird. I’ve been struggling with some health issues and it’s been really difficult to concentrate on anything for long periods of time, and my default is to read something instead of listening to something. Not feeling great has also meant not going to the gym, where I usually listen to stuff. I have a bunch of leftist podcast episodes queued up and ready to catch up on; just finished “The Exodus” episode of Theology and Socialism today.
Did you people know that there is a Patristics podcast? It’s also in my queue. I stumbled across it in a Twitter thread about the Didache. The Patristics have always fascinated and confounded me, so I’m hoping the podcast will be a good way to dip my toes again. It’s called Podcastica Patristica.
I tried the new Lizzo album today. I thought it was just okay; maybe it will be better on the second listen?
Because I haven’t really listened to anything new this week, I’m including this section.
Dark Phoenix: Okay, so if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am kind of a Marvel nerd (I like Wonder Woman, too, though). I’m not as knowledgable about X-Men, since I haven’t read any of the comics. I haven’t been waiting anxiously for this installment. After finishing the X-Men trilogy preceding this one, I was angry at the entire premise and conclusion, so I was hopeful that Jean Grey would receive different treatment in this film. She did, and she didn’t. I don’t want to give away too much, but there are some other inconsistencies in the film, and at least a couple of tropes they could have done without. It is worth a watch, but maybe don’t spend a lot to watch it.
Good Omens: I am breaking one of my cardinal rules here and watching a show without having read the book first. I am on episode 5, and so far enjoying it, although episode 4 was a bit anticlimactic. I requested the book from the library (I always request a hardcopy and a digital copy at the same time to see which comes first), but will probably have to wait 12 weeks to read it.
Content Strategy Learning Path on Lynda.com. I’m trying to see if I can earn some $ doing something that I already do, am not bad at, and doesn’t require much physical labor or a variable schedule I don’t control. I contemplated taking a certificate course the local public university, but don’t want to pay over $3,000 for something that may or may not help. I found some similar content for FREE through my local public library(!!!), and am giving it a whirl to familiarize myself with some potentially useful terminology and new concepts to apply to writing and publishing for the web.
Book reading has been slow. Hopefully I’ll have more to report next week other than my partial shame of having read the fifth Outlander book for the second time (it’s my bedtime read). Despite my criticisms of the first book in the series, I got sucked into the story last year, and decided to read it again. However, re-reading it has brightly illumined the reasons why I don’t think I’ll continue past the fifth book this time: Gabaldon is not good at writing original plots, and there is too much repetitiveness, which gets worse with each subsequent book. I can’t put up with it a second time. There are other content-related reasons, which are also repetitive, but I’ll spare you those.
Articles and miscellanea:
I would like to commend two short blog posts to you:
A post on Rowan William’s treatment of William Stringfellow (who is now my newest Episcopal historical figure of fascination; Pauli Murray was my previous one for quite a while).
A post in a series on Asian American Liberation Theology
And, here are my quick reflections on a seminary class I audited this winter/spring: Ecotheology Class Reflections
Remember my story about talking to another socialist last week? You’ll want to have read that for a bit of context here.
Anyhow, after going home from that meeting, I went and looked up the Socialist Alternative, because I’d heard the name, but I didn’t know much about it. When the Google search results came up, the Wikipedia excerpt said this: “Socialist Alternative is a Trotskyist political party in the United States.” Being an infant socialist, as you know, I did not know what that meant, and I did not find that description on the Socialist Alternative website. Instead, I found “We are for democratic socialism where ordinary people will have control over our daily lives.” Also, “We believe the dictatorships that existed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were perversions of what socialism is really about.” What does that have to do with Trotsky?
Doing a some cursory reading, I learned that Trotsky was a founder of the Soviet Union, but was somewhat at odds with Lenin (uniting with him in the end out of necessity). He was against the two-stage theory, which says that the revolution must pass through a stage of capitalism before it attains socialism; Trotsky theorized that permanent, international revolution was possible when the proletariats undertook the tasks of dismantling capitalism. I won’t go on about this at length, but this doesn’t seem to jive with democratic socialism, even though the Socialist Alternative is all about about the workers. Loosely interpreted, perhaps that does make them a bit Trotskyist.
Here’s an interesting piece I found on a book about Leon Trotsky from Jacobin, in case you’re interested: “Assessing Trotsky”
Until next time!