The End of Our Affair with Gossip Girl?

Jo Piazza: After five seasons of defying everything good and holy, capitalizing on debaucherous underage sex and drug abuse, using a ménage a trois in a national ad campaign and generally creating some of the more deviant characters on primetime television, Gossip Girl has found god—the Catholic version no less.

And they have done it by appropriating the handy narrative created by Graham Greene in the last of his four overtly Catholic novels The End of the Affair.

Continue Reading →

Daily Links

Our very own Jo Piazza writes for the Wall Street Journal this week about how one New York synagogue is using the tactics of a political campaign adviser to increase its congregation size.

“The best declaration of conservative principles since the Sharon Statement signed at Bill Buckley’s home in 1960.”  Americans for a Conservative President has a winning list of principles–free markets, small government and God–taken straight out of the Buckley’s time.  The only thing missing from this new campaign’s list is Communism.

Zenit’s Director has been asked to resign, reportedly because the Legionaries of Christ, the group that sponsors the Catholic news service, wasn’t particularly pleased with Jesus Colina’s independence. Colina, who’s headed the service since 1997, has expressed dissatisfaction with the Legionaries lack of financial transparency and the way they’ve managed the sex abuse case of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, their founder.

Don’t forget to check frequencies daily, a joint project of The Immanent Frame and Killing the Buddha!  Today they have original art and Paul Christopher Johnson on spirituality through espresso.

The Guardian‘s mapped Anders Breivik’s media consumption.  It’s gorgeous and scary and fascinating.

Give it Away Now:  Wait, you mean “We Don’t Give Out Foreign Aid to Make People Like Us?”  If you conflate the idea of foreign aid with various religious concepts of charity, it makes sense.  Unless you conflate foreign aid with war, of course. Continue Reading →

Blessed Boards

Jo Piazza writes at the WSJ‘s Metropolis that Montauk’s the place to go to get your stick blessed.  Reverend Michael Rieder will bless your surfboard, snowboard or boogie board. Perhaps he can also put a good word in with god for a killer set.

Members of the assembled crowd whispered Sunday that Jimmy Buffet, a longtime lover of the Montauk surf, would bring his board to be blessed. A wetsuit clad and still dripping Michael Nicholoulias, 60, said he had seen Buffet surfing the breaks at Ditch Plains earlier in the day, but didn’t think the singer would make it out of the water. The waves were awfully sweet, he allowed.

Still, he hauled himself onto dry land. “I can use all the blessings I can get,” Nicholoulias said. “If this can help me rip better waves, then I am all for it.”

Continue Reading →

Hollywood Gets God (and Tolerance) in Aruba

Jo Piazza: Film festivals are typically places where film executives schmooze amidst the selling of both movies and stars. They are not places where one goes to hear much about god or religion. The G and R words are anathema to Hollywood anyway. The town’s only use for them is in commercially viable blockbusters about exorcisms and/or murderous cults.

That’s why it seemed almost off-putting that the Aruba Film Festival, which spanned this week, would devote an entire day of their festivities to religion and tolerance.

It all began two months ago when festival organizer Giuseppe Cioccarrelli received what he describes as a “very nice” email from a young Israeli producer who made a very low budget film with a joint Israeli and Palestinian crew called “Coffee: Between Reality and Imagination.” Continue Reading →

Oprah's God

On Wednesday, May 25th, Oprah ended her daytime television show after 25 years.  No gifts nor guests graced her final broadcast.  God and Jo Piazza were watching.

by Jo Piazza

For an hour last Wednesday afternoon Oprah Winfrey stood center stage in her Chicago studio, no guests, no surprises, no free cars—just Oprah.

If you’ve ever doubted that Oprah has spent the past 25 years cultivating a ministry of O, Wednesday’s finale of her long running talk show should have convinced you otherwise.

“Everybody has a calling. Everybody is called. My great wish for all of you is that you carry what you are supposed to be doing forward. Start embracing the light that is calling you and use your light to serve the world,” were among the sentiments Winfrey preached, heavy on the eye contact, in what can only be described as divine lighting that can make a 57 year old woman’s skin look so smooth. “You’re responsible for the energy you create for yourself and the energy you give to others.”

I was perhaps more sensitive to looking at Oprah through the lens of religious experience than I would have been on an average Wednesday, having recently finished Kathryn Lofton’s Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. Continue Reading →

Oprah’s God

On Wednesday, May 25th, Oprah ended her daytime television show after 25 years.  No gifts nor guests graced her final broadcast.  God and Jo Piazza were watching.

by Jo Piazza

For an hour last Wednesday afternoon Oprah Winfrey stood center stage in her Chicago studio, no guests, no surprises, no free cars—just Oprah.

If you’ve ever doubted that Oprah has spent the past 25 years cultivating a ministry of O, Wednesday’s finale of her long running talk show should have convinced you otherwise.

“Everybody has a calling. Everybody is called. My great wish for all of you is that you carry what you are supposed to be doing forward. Start embracing the light that is calling you and use your light to serve the world,” were among the sentiments Winfrey preached, heavy on the eye contact, in what can only be described as divine lighting that can make a 57 year old woman’s skin look so smooth. “You’re responsible for the energy you create for yourself and the energy you give to others.”

I was perhaps more sensitive to looking at Oprah through the lens of religious experience than I would have been on an average Wednesday, having recently finished Kathryn Lofton’s Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. Continue Reading →

Oprah’s God

On Wednesday, May 25th, Oprah ended her daytime television show after 25 years.  No gifts nor guests graced her final broadcast.  God and Jo Piazza were watching.

by Jo Piazza

For an hour last Wednesday afternoon Oprah Winfrey stood center stage in her Chicago studio, no guests, no surprises, no free cars—just Oprah.

If you’ve ever doubted that Oprah has spent the past 25 years cultivating a ministry of O, Wednesday’s finale of her long running talk show should have convinced you otherwise.

“Everybody has a calling. Everybody is called. My great wish for all of you is that you carry what you are supposed to be doing forward. Start embracing the light that is calling you and use your light to serve the world,” were among the sentiments Winfrey preached, heavy on the eye contact, in what can only be described as divine lighting that can make a 57 year old woman’s skin look so smooth. “You’re responsible for the energy you create for yourself and the energy you give to others.”

I was perhaps more sensitive to looking at Oprah through the lens of religious experience than I would have been on an average Wednesday, having recently finished Kathryn Lofton’s Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. Continue Reading →

L’Hubbard

Revealer contributor Jo Piazza reports from Cannes:

This center has a crew that speaks five languages, consisting of Scientologists flown to Cannes from around the world. They mainly seem to spend their days hollering on the sidewalk, asking passersby if they can “show them something” inside the center, which is festooned with a sign boldly declaring ‘La Dianétique,’ or ‘Dianetics,’ the religion’s leading text.

Continue Reading →

L'Hubbard

Revealer contributor Jo Piazza reports from Cannes:

This center has a crew that speaks five languages, consisting of Scientologists flown to Cannes from around the world. They mainly seem to spend their days hollering on the sidewalk, asking passersby if they can “show them something” inside the center, which is festooned with a sign boldly declaring ‘La Dianétique,’ or ‘Dianetics,’ the religion’s leading text.

Continue Reading →

L’Hubbard

Revealer contributor Jo Piazza reports from Cannes:

This center has a crew that speaks five languages, consisting of Scientologists flown to Cannes from around the world. They mainly seem to spend their days hollering on the sidewalk, asking passersby if they can “show them something” inside the center, which is festooned with a sign boldly declaring ‘La Dianétique,’ or ‘Dianetics,’ the religion’s leading text.

Continue Reading →