Saturday, May 14, 2022

Saturday Good Reads - May 14, 2022

When you see man-on-the-street interviews about what Russians think of the war in Ukraine, a word that seems to continually pop up is “Nazi,” as in, “We’re fighting the Nazis.” One of Russia’s best-known artists, Alexey Beliayev-Guintovet, is a Putin supporter, and when The Art Newspaper asked him why he supported the war, he said it was to free Ukraine from “a Nazi dictatorship.” And yet if there’s anything the Russian invasion resembles, it’s the invasion of Ukraine and Russia by the Germans in World War II.  

Yes, propaganda can be effective. The man considered the father of public relations, the field in which I spent a lot of my professional career, is Edward Bernays. In 1928, he published a book entitled Propaganda, arguing that propaganda, and molding public opinion, was necessary for democracy to work. And those lessons are still relevant. Ryan Matters at OffGuardian discusses six lessons from Bernays on the psychology of manipulation. (And I understand why I never made it to the top of the heap in PR; I was aware of this stuff but never believed it and never practiced it.)


Christians tend to read a lot of books, especially Christian non-fiction books. Douglas Monroe at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics discusses a book he calls “the greatest Christian book you’ve never read.” I’d heard of it, and its author, but I’ve never read it. Who knew?


More Good Reads




A Church of Suspicious Minds – Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition.


Prayer Consists of Attention: Reading as a Spiritual Practice – Charlotte Donlon at The Millions.


We’re All Manhattan Now – Stephen McAlpine.


On Fearing the Silent Places – Chris Martin at Terms of Service.


Why Mainstream Scholars Often Differ with Evangelical Pastors on the Gospels – George Sinclair at The Gospel Coalition.




The moral blindness of Putin’s generals – Daniel Johnson at The Critic Magazine.


The Russian War on Ukraine Has Always Been a War on Its Language – Askold Melnyczuk at Literary Hub.


Bragging about blowing up Russian generals could get us all killed – Damon Linker at The Week.


Life and Culture


My Slave, My Choice – Nathan Eshelman at Gentle Reformation.


The Technocrat’s Dilemma: Expert rule is destroying itself – Alexander Stern at The New Atlantis.


In Response to the ‘In This House’ Sign – Brian Yapko at Society of Classical Poets.


Severe Mercies and Magnanimous Despair – Jeffrey Bilbro at Front Porch Republic.


Writing and Literature


Sigrid Undset’s Kristin 'Lavransdatter' Turns One Hundred – Cat Hodge at Plough Quarterly.


The Irrevocable Step: John Brown and the Historical Novel – Willis McCumber at The Baffler.


Hobbits and Empire: Geography and the Life of Nations in Tolkien’s Writings – Holly Ordway at Mere Orthodoxy.


News Media


The New York Times can't shake the cloud over a 90-year-old Pulitzer Prize – David Folkenflik at NPR. 


Detailed ‘open source’ news investigations are catching on – David Bauder at Associated Press.


How do newsrooms talk to readers when they’ve really screwed up? With process, transparency, and trust – Joshua Benton at Nieman Lab.




Sabbath – Ursula Bethell at Kingdom Poets (D.S. Martin).


Triumph of the New – Morri Creech at New Criterion.


I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow (John Newton) – Sovereign Grace Music

Painting: The reader, oil on canvas by Antoni Vidal Rolland (1889-1970).


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