That Was The Week That Was

It’s good to be back blogging full-time after a quiet December and a total hiatus the first half of January. Somehow we kept getting a steady number of hits during that period, to the point that we’ll actually be welcoming our 15,000th visitor sometime today! Thanks to everyone for reading!!

What you might have missed in case your own holiday from blog-reading extended into this past week…


• My attempt to catch up on my unattended Google Reader feed went half-completed. But I saw enough to compile a pretty lengthy (for me) list of interesting posts around the blogosphere.

• Several of them concerned MLK Day and writers who invoked that man’s legacy in support of their own cause. That rhetorical move prompted Matthew Schmitz to suggest that everyone just “let King be King,” and me to ask if he was nonetheless right to suggest that there was a “common moral inheritance” that still unites Americans.

• Our April 20 colloquium on Pietism is taking shape, with our afternoon roundtable on Pietism and various denominations coming together nicely.

• And I started a second series related to my upcoming travel course on the history of World War I. After thanking a handful of people who made my recent trip to Europe pretty wonderful, I wrote a couple of unusually heavily illustrated posts about how WWI has been commemorated in Europe. Part 1 considered why “Lest we forget” is easier said than done, and part 2 looked at religion and commemoration.


Jon Huntsman
Jon Huntsman - Creative Commons (Gage Skidmore)

• There’s a new blog on my list of Recommended Links: Jay Phelan’s Additional Markings, a continuation of a much-loved column that he used to write for The Covenant Companion. This week found him apologizing for his generation.

My attempt to boost the candidacy of Jon Huntsman failed to push him into the top two in New Hampshire, so I suppose it was inevitable that we would drop out of the race soon thereafter. It was a good ride while it lasted, I suppose. Check out the postmortems conducted by E.J. Dionne and Frank Bruni.

• Speaking of Republicans who dropped out of the race this week… I don’t mean to kick someone while they’re down, but Rick Perry richly deserved the tongue-lashing he received from fellow conservative John Mark Reynolds for his inflammatory statement (made in Myrtle Beach, SC on MLK Day) that “South Carolina is at war with this federal government and with this administration.”

• I mentioned Tebow-mania in my Tuesday links post… The L.A. Times shared the story of another star athlete whose evangelical faith is no less devout but certainly less well known: Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. (H/T Craig Calcaterra)

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle, the location where Downton Abbey has been filmed - Creative Commons (JB+UK_Planet)

• As a new iPad user myself who became an e-reader enthusiast during my trip to Europe, I’m eager to see the impact of Apple’s ambition to revolutionize textbooks using its new iBooks 2 app. Randall Stephens gathered some links on the subject at The Historical Society blog.

• And finally, one of the most popular historians in Great Britain slammed one of the most popular pieces of entertainment to come out of that country in some time when Simon Schama lambasted Downton Abbey for historical inaccuracy (related to the current series’ being set during World War I) and, worse, “for servicing the instincts of cultural necrophilia” by feeding the “unassuageable American craving for the British country house.” As a Downton fan, an American, and a historian who should apparently know better, I suppose I should feel terribly insulted.

But what an insult! Can’t wait to see what vile things await the “Schimon Sama” character that Downton creater Julian Fellowes is no doubt going to write into the third series… (H/T BBC)

One thought on “That Was The Week That Was

  1. Two days before Shama’s article, this book review appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

    “In our age of white goods and wipe-down surfaces, it is difficult to grasp the sheer amount of toil involved in maintaining the physical fabric of an Edwardian or 1920s home; “Downton,” in which the housemaids are occasionally shown shaking down a counterpane or tickling a chandelier with a feather duster, cannot convey it accurately. . . . What “Downton” obscures, with its soft focus and perky parlor maids, is that most domestic servants were too worn out by hard effort, and too short of free hours in the day, to live fully functional lives distinct from the people they served.”

    As for the “hits” when you were not blogging, I can’t speak for others, but I know I came here just to see the current posts at the blogs to which you link, because I don’t subscribe to RSS feeds.

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