Saturday, October 13, 2012

Culture Wars, 1870s Style

The dominant narrative of the modern-day culture war is that the politicized secular/Christian showdown is a somewhat recent phenomenon in American politics. Yet, shades of the coming contest could be seen as far back as the 1870s.  Exactly one-hundred years before Roe v. Wade, the so-called Comstock Law (1873) was passed by the U.S. Congress. The law, named after New York purity crusader Anthony Comstock, banned circulation through the mail of obscene literature, abortifacients, and contraceptive devices. While Roe v. Wade has been credited with helping to galvanize a conservative political movement, the Comstock Law had the opposite effect - it led to the creation of the National Liberal League, a loose collection of free thought, free love, and free speech advocates who believed that the Comstock Law was unconstitutional and that the role played by the Christian religion in American government was the same.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Farewell Chipper: Baseball and Memories

I can't claim to be much of a baseball fan anymore. I still play fantasy baseball, and I still check the standings, and every now and then I tune in for fifteen minutes of a game. But the sport is really at the peripheries of my consciousness. I mean, I couldn't even pick out Mike Trout (only the most exciting young baseball player since Doc Gooden) in a police lineup. To channel Rob Lowe's character on Parks and Rec, I literally have not seen one Mike Trout at-bat this year. The season is way too long, the games are way too boring, and besides, there's summer league NBA basketball to watch.

But I've still held onto the Atlanta Braves.