Gardens Under Which Rivers Flow

In the translation I am reading of the Qur’an, paradise is described as “gardens under which rivers flow.” Lesley Hazelton, in her TED talk about being a “tourist” in reading the Qur’an, points out how fantastical this image was to the typical Arab of Makkah during the 600s CE. It is much the same today. … Continue reading

Reading the Quran during an Election Year

I wonder sometimes if Abraham Lincoln made a terrible mistake when he set Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the final days of November, knowing full well that every fourth year a presidential election would have just taken place. How cruel for the Great Emancipator to shackle us to a dinner table with distant relatives … Continue reading

What Google Thinks of the Great Books

Google autocomplete is where word association meets global group-think. Renee DiResta of the no upside blog recently asked Google “Why is [State] so” and let the search engine fill in the rest. Jim Romenesko did the same thing with major media figures.  The results are both amusing and unsurprising. The New York Times and NPR are liberal; Fox News is biased; … Continue reading