Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cultural-Commentary Misfire

I love reading James Barr, whose books on fundamentalism (including Fundamentalism from 1977 and Escaping Fundamentalism from 1982) are sober-minded, well-researched, and extremely withering. But every so often he slips up, and while rereading a chapter of Fundamentalism today on the subway, I noticed this little gem. He's talking about fundamentalism and society and arguing that, in many ways, fundamentalists (his term for evangelical Christians) are very culture-bound in their way of looking at things: tending to go for a scientific explanation for the flood, tending (in health care) to go with medical attention first and prayer second, tending to see conversion as a kind of free-market economics, etc. All pretty true. But then he lets fly with this:

Moreover, the older overt conflict between fundamentalism and science has greatly decreased. The matter of evolution, which was a major centre of the earlier fundamentalist controversy, has receded from the scene ... Thirty years or so ago typical conservative pubishing houses were sill issuing thunderings against the idea of evolution. Today we hear practically nothing about it. (Barr, James. Fundamentalism. London: SCM Press, 1977. 92)

To be fair, James Barr is British, and I imagine the situation is much different in England and Europe in general. But here in America, it's still 1925 and we're still fighting the goddamn Scopes trial all over again every time some lazy electorate accidentally lets a few know-nothings slip into their school boards. The good news is that things actually are getting better and the cultural tide is turning against naive Bible reading---as the fundies' retreat from using the word "creationism" into the more science-y sounding "intelligent design" shows. But still---what the hell kind of 1977 was James Barr living in? And why is the movement so slow?


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