Month: October 2005

Call Me a Feminist

About Face appears to be fueled by feminists, but I strongly sympathize with their concerns:

[M]arketers are never going to show an ugly slob in an ad because no one wants to see a slob and we all aspire to something greater. But if all we see are unachievable representations of ourselves then certain unhealthy illusions of self are sure to emerge. And have. Just visit a highschool hallway.

About Face, whose mission is “to promote positive self-esteem in girls and women of all ages, sizes, races and backgrounds through a spirited approach to media education, outreach and activism,” examines the portrayal of women, specifically, in advertising and comments on how damaging the images can be to the psyche of consumers. Part of the site has a list of the top ten marketers who, in the opinion of About Face, damage society through their imagery of women advertising.


About Face Link (PG-13)Read the rest

Sloppy Episcopalians?

The RCC isn’t the only administratively-challenged church in America?

Administrators at a private Manhattan school admitted yesterday they never checked with church officials before hiring a former priest who allegedly molested a student in Central Park last week.

Episcopal authorities said the ex-priest, Bruce Jacques, had been defrocked for allegedly propositioning a 13-year-old boy a decade ago.

The Robert Louis Stevenson School hired Jacques as a fund-raiser in 2003.

On Oct. 20, a 13-year-old Stevenson student accused Jacques of molesting him in the Park.

“Apparently, the school didn’t do its due diligence. They didn’t call the diocese,” said Gail Keeney-Mulligan, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Milford, Conn., where the former priest once worked.

NY Post Link. … Read the rest

This is Metaphysics 101

But if there is no God, all is matter because there was no non-material first cause.

Maybe the pollsters didn’t get into that much detail.

More Britons believe in ghosts than God, according to research.

A total of 2,012 people were polled on their beliefs on the supernatural.

Over two thirds (68%) said they believe in the existence of ghosts and spirits.

Just over half (55%) said they believe in the existence of a God.


What’s that Blood Sweat and Tears line? “I know there ain’t no heaven, and I pray there ain’t no hell.” … Read the rest

Five Catholics

From Maggie Gallagher:

David Bernstein on notes that Judge Sam Alito, if confirmed, will be the fifth Catholic on the Court, making it the first time a majority of Supreme Court Justices are Catholic.

He offers this observation:

“I’d venture that it’s not simply a result of more enlightenment on the part of non-Catholic Americans, but also that Post-Vatican II, the Catholic Church is less foreign, both in prayer (in that mass is now in English), sociologically (because Catholics no longer differ that much from other Americans in where they send their kids to school and how many children they have), and in terms of ideas (e.g., the Church’s renouncement of anti-Jewish theology; compare the 19th century Edgardo Mortara case). In short, as with American Jews and other groups, a story of both declining prejudice and assimilation.” . . .

Anti-Catholicism came in two forms: the high protestant variety, which looked down on Catholics for being obedient peasants with too many kids and the low church (evangelicals) sort, which saw the Church of Rome as their historic religious enemy.

High protestants and their secular equivalents like the fact that ordinary Catholics are now virtually indistinguishable from the broader culture. Evangelicals have dropped their intense dislike of Catholics because they value the Catholic Church’s fidelity to basic Christian teachings on abortion, marriage, and sexuality.

Thanks, Open Book. … Read the rest

Healthy Chocolate

After more than a decade of effort and a year of anticipation, Mars Inc. is finally rolling into stores with what it says is a healthy new sweet: a line of chocolate bars and chocolate-covered almonds. . .

[I]t is the glob of granola, rice and flavanol-filled cocoa powder at the heart of the bar made [at one Mars plant] – injected with a burst of liquid-canola plant sterols – that distinguishes CocoaVia from the company’s M&M’s, Snickers and Dove bars. Flavanols are naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa that have antioxidant qualities; sterols are plant-based chemicals found in a variety of foods.

Flavanols are what set Mars on a scientific search: if it could show that they helped improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, then foods with them could potentially help prevent heart disease.

In developing CocoaVia, Mars decided to add another major additive, plant sterols, which ultimately allowed it to make the claim that CocoaVia is good for hearts and arteries. And that is one reason Mars is placing them in the health food aisles – near nutrition bars rather than candy – of retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

NYT Link.

And the mark-up as health food is much greater.

Likelihood of success as candy: 12 percent. Americans tend to like their indulgence without salutary effects. Produce a healthy cigarette and kids won’t smoke it. … Read the rest