Many people have asked me lately why homosexuality has replaced abortion as the hot issue. Stumped, I did some research and developed numerous hypotheses. But along the way I stumbled on to what might well be the fattest clue in our market economy of religion. It has to do with niche marketing, trend-spotting and entrepreneurship.
Researchers say Mozart has amazing effect on rats," headlined the Chicago Tribune on August 11. "Music's boost to humans also occurs in rodents," read the subhead. I was skeptical. Like other rats, I like Mozart, but I hadn't known before that his music boosted rodents as well as humans.
About 30 years ago, in a doctoral examination, a student, Trygve Skarsten, a colleague, R. Pierce Beaver, and I, the historian of religion, got into a colloquy about ancient pagan rites of Norway. The Norse had had a thing about horses and horse blood, as I recall it. They rode the former and drank the latter.
Having retired from teaching, I find I have time on my hands. I had been thinking of resuming an interest in baseball, an interest abandoned after childhood. It is not a sport for people without time on their hands. It is especially not a sport for Chicagoans. I went to my last Sox game in 1959, and will return when they win their next pennant.
Today I’ll not debate whether baccalaureate services at public high schools violate the separation of church and state, and whether certain people ought or ought not speak or pray at such, and under which terms. Today I celebrate one such service, because it embodied a principle I’ve often noticed and wanted to address.
Sports Illustrated has a “Go Figure” column of numbers trivia. The May installment included the item, “103 new sports magazines launched in 1997, a total surpassed only by the 111 new sex-related titles.” Thoughts rushed to my mind: (1) New magazines are being launched in a time when print is supposed to be disappearing and supposedly fewer people are reading.
Once in a while I receive a letter here that is so nutty, so outrageous or so hateful that I do not answer it. Otherwise I follow my parents’ injunctions to be courteous, to speak when spoken to and to answer all mail.
Americans Discuss Social Security” is a new initiative supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts. “Our premise,” says an advertisement for the project, is that “the more we all understand about how we and our fellow citizens view old age, the easier it will be to figure out what role Social Security should play in it.”