Cassettes may be dead (more or less) here in America, but according to Kotaku, they’re still a very popular format in Japan, and much of that is due to karaoke fans of “enka” music. Related: I wrote a piece for Christ and Pop Culture a few years ago on the nostalgia of cassettes.
Regardless of whether you believe in ghosts or think that stuff is all a bunch of superstitious hooey, this account of exorcisms, haunting encounters, and other supernatural disturbances in post-tsunami Japan is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and very spooky read.
A Fox Business host claims that The Lego Movie is anti-business. Nell Minow calls that absurd: “This is a movie that is fundamentally a feature-length informercial for one of the world’s biggest toy brands.” This incident reminds me of similar accusations levelled at that staunch bulwark of liberal, anti-capitalist thought, The Muppets. Also, did you know that The Lego Movie “builds its story upon religious and moral themes” (not to mention ancient Roman architects)?
Sam Harris recently issued a challenge to critics of his book The Moral Landscape: he would personally pay $10,000 to anyone who could write an essay that made him change his mind. However, Jonathan Haidt argues that it’s unlikely Harris will be paying out, and not necessarily because he won’t receive a winning entry:
If reasoning is so easily swayed by passions, then what kind of reasoning should we expect from people who hate religion and love reason? Open-minded, scientific thinking that tries to weigh the evidence on all sides? Or standard lawyerly reasoning that strives to reach a pre-ordained conclusion? My favorite part in Haidt’s piece comes near the very end, where he briefly argues for a
humbler and more social view of reason.
Rumors are swirling that Apple will release the iPhone 6 later this year, and it’ll come in two sizes: 4.7” and 5.5” (both are bigger than the current iPhone 5). Apple is notoriously secretive concerning their hardware designs, which only fuels more speculation — and inspires lots of concept designs by independant designers. Sometimes the designs are real head-scratchers, but it would not suck if the iPhone 6 looked something like Federico Ciccarese’s concepts.
Speaking of iPhones, April Fool’s Day is still a few months away, but it’s not too early to play a prank or two on your iPhone-carrying friends. The “never-ending text” prank strikes me as particularly devious. (If you decide to play one of those pranks on someone, you can make it up to them by giving them some tips for extending their iPhone’s battery life.)
Earlier this month, Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis fame) and Bill Nye (aka “The Science Guy”) engaged in a much-publicized debate regarding the truth of evolution and whether a literal, six-day view of the Biblical account of creation is scientific or not. Many have written responses and analysis of the debate, including a couple of my Christ and Pop Culture colleagues. Brad Kramer argues that “many young Christians are tired of being forced to choose between the rationalistic dogmatism of the Ken Hams of the world or the rationalistic dogmatism of the Bill Nyes.”
Valerio Amaro asks that all-important question:
Sam Solomon explains why he’s done with social media buttons on his site: “Those magical social buttons aren’t worth a damn anymore, and they won’t bring you traffic.” His reasons are precisely why I removed them from Opus awhile back.
What do fan sites devoted to bands on extended hiatus say about fandom? According to Pitchfork’s Christina Lee, they serve as “digital chronicles of how a band's hiatus is felt over time.”