In the News: Wax, Wits, William James, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News: Biomemes, Voodoo, Elie Wiesel and more!

A round-up of recent religion and media stories in the news. Continue Reading →


Jonathan Franzen takes to the New York Times op-ed page to proclaim that — oh yes, indeedy — technology is killing love.  Blackberries aren’t birds, birds are part of the environment, the environment is love, and love means facing death directly, or something like that:

To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.

Let me suggest, finally, that the world of techno-consumerism is therefore troubled by real love, and that it has no choice but to trouble love in turn.

Continue Reading →

The Egyptian Referendum: Believing in Citizenship

Egyptians were deeply divided on whether to say “yes” or “no” to the proposed amendments to their country’s constitution following the January 25th Revolution. On the hot and dusty morning of Saturday, March 19th, after weeks of debate on-air, online, in newspaper op-ed pages and in our own living rooms, we lined up in droves to cast our votes.

I prepared carefully for this historic day: Through an online portal set-up by the armed forces I checked which schools were designated as polling stations in my neighborhood; I made sure my national ID, proving my eligibility to vote, was in my wallet; I hired a baby sitter to watch my toddler so that I could go brave the long queues unhampered.

Most importantly, in the few days leading up to the referendum, I read all the different editorials and analyses both in favor of “yes” and “no” so that I could make an informed decision on which way to cast my vote.  Exercising my right to vote as an Egyptian citizen was made much easier by the technology, finances and education that my upper middle-class background afforded me.

Umm Fatima, who is married to the neighbor’s bawab (building keeper), doesn’t have access to any of these things. Continue Reading →

Digital Death Day

“The Digital Death Day attendees were not all entrepreneurs working out their promising business plans. (And some of those business models make good sense. LegacyLocker, DataInherit, AssetLock, and Deathswitch are all new companies offering sensible and useful services, on the order of providing Web locations for safe password storage, or promising to notify interested parties at the time of your death.) There were funeral directors present – digital technology is playing more and more of a role in bereavement, with Facebook walls functioning as memorials and slide shows and other media-borne mementos important. The city of Hong Kong, thedigitalbeyond recently reported, has turned to online memorials to help deal with a shortage of burial plots.” — Robert Roper in “Life After Death, In Digital Form” at Obit Magazine Continue Reading →