If you have, let us say, a theory about man, and if you can only prove it by talking about Plato and George Washington, your theory may be quite a frivolous thing. But if you can prove it by talking about the butler or the postman, then it is serious, because it is universal. So far from it being irreverent to use silly metaphors on serious questions, it is one’s duty to use silly metaphors on serious questions. It is the test of one’s seriousness. It is the test of a responsible religion or theory whether it can take examples of pots and pans and boots and butter-tubs. It is a test of a good philosophy whether you can defend it grotesquely. It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.
—G.K. Chesterton, from the chapter “Spiritualism” in his 1908 book All Things Considered
Image by Bill Rogers/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Heroes
by Susan Leem, associate producer
From comic frames, dialogue, interviews, artwork, and allusions, the authors have extrapolated the religious affiliation of some beloved characters of modern fiction. You might remember Superman as a midwestern Methodist, and can picture Wonder Woman as coming out of the Greco-Roman classical tradition. Does knowing that the Hulk’s storyline was intentionally crafted for him to be a lapsed Catholic make you read his character or remember his story any differently?
Atheists Don’t Have No Songs
by Shubha Bala, associate producer
Watch Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers sing a special song, since they say atheists don’t have any.
Watch Live Video of John Hodgman in Wits
(tonight, 8pm CT)
Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Well, with all the video streaming of live SOF events over the past year, we’ve gotten pretty dang good at making things work and, more importantly, troubleshooting when things go wrong. So, when I can, I jump at the opportunity to share my experience and help our many colleagues.*
And, I’m not going to fib, it’s also a great opportunity to collaborate differently, figure out new ways of doing things, and see some phenomenal talent from behind the glass. And tonight’s show is one of them! Plus, we’ve always wanted to do comedy on our program. This is my roundabout way of making that happen!
So, if you’re looking for some no-cost entertainment, a few good laughs, and the ability to opt in to a vigorous Twitter conversation (hashtag is #wits), stop by around 8 pm Central tonight.
* Did you know that we are part of the same organization that produces hundreds of live events and programs like A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, Marketplace, The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Performance Today, the entire Minnesota Public Radio service, etc.?
And, then, I later read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, and it tells you to find a shaft of sunlight and sit in it every day. So my boyfriend was, like, following Eckhart Tolle’s weird sunlight advice and finding it. And then he ended up using ‘The Power of Now’ to break up with me. So, like, it had turned against me.
We’ve received countless stories about the positive impact of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings on people’s lives. I had to smile when I heard this humorous story from a person who was on the receiving end of his guiding principles. If you work on SOF long enough, you hear the most surprising references to all types of material and people on the program!
Trent Gilliss, online editor
Late Night with Tutu
Colleen Scheck, senior producer
This enjoyable segment with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson won a Peabody Award today. Of this episode the selection committee said, “As this fascinating, often funny interview attests, the Scottish-born Ferguson has made late-night television safe again for ideas.”
I love how it highlights both Tutu’s moral passion and his delightful sense of humor. And, look for our show with Desmond Tutu in late April. Note: Ferguson’s interview is broken into three segments for YouTube. Watch the second and third parts below.
Sometimes It Takes a Flood
Trent Gilliss, online editor
We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.
The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”
Calvin and Hobbes: Math Is a Religion
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
For those who can’t easily read the word bubbles, a transcript:
Calvin: You know, I don’t think math is a science. I think it’s a religion.
Hobbes: A religion?
Calvin: Yeah. All these equations are like miracles. You take two numbers and when you add them, they magically become one new number! No one can say how it happens. You either believe it or you don’t.
Calvin: This whole book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith! It’s a religion!
Hobbes: And in the public schools no less. Call a lawyer.
Calvin: As a math atheist, I should be excused from this.