JMC 406 Student Blogs

This spring I’m teaching my Blogging & Commentary Writing class, a course I’ve taught in one form or another since the winter of 1988 (Hint: Blogging wasn’t part of the title then…)  Here are links to my students’ blogs and Twitter feeds:


Posted in JMC 406 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Terrorists attack satirical French newspaper

On Wednesday, three masked gunmen attacked and killed at least 12 at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.Charlie_Hebdo_love_hate.0

Charlie Hebdo is known for it’s controversial covers and provocative cartoons which are known for skewering religion and politics of every stripe.  This can be seen from one of the paper’s most famous covers published shortly after the paper’s offices were firebombed.

The killings today were apparently provoked by cartoons published in the paper that depicted the prophet Muhammad and that mocked the leader of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS).

Political cartoonists around the world have responded with cartoons depicting their reactions to the slayings.


It is important to remember however, as Ezra Klein at Vox points out, that we do not need to try to analyze whether the paper was being too provocative.  The attack was an act of terrorism, and act of violence; not a response to a legitimate provocation.

The attacks in Paris bring back to mind the rioting and attacks the followed the  publication (and re-publication) of the cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, as well as the firebombing of the Charlie Hebdo offices back in 2011, apparently in response to the publication of a characture of Muhammad. A Pew Foundation poll back in 2005/06, at the time of the response to the Danish cartoons, asked whether Americans thought that the controversy was more about “Western disrespect” or “Muslim intolerance.”  Not surprisingly, Americans (by a 3-to1 margin) blamed the problems on Muslim intolerence.

You can see the latest on Twitter about the attacks and the responses to it under the hashtag #CharlieHebdo or  (I am Charlie).


Posted in Chapter 15 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

LIAMW Holiday Music – The Roches sing “Good King Wenceslas”

I’m a huge fan of the Roches and their Christmas album We Three Kings, and this video by Father James Martin at American Magazine explains the strength of the gospel in this carol. Here are both a video explaining the meaning of the carol and the Roches with their gorgeous rendition.

Merry Christmas to us all.

Fr. James Martin, SJ explaining Good King Wenceslas

The Roches singing Good King Wenceslas

Posted in Chapter 7 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)

Posted in Chapter 11, Chapter 4, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

LIAMW Holiday Music – Joseph, Who Understood

Today’s song is my absolute favorite contemporary Christmas song, and it is done by a band with the unlikely name of The New Pornographers.  A friend of mine asked recently why a band doing such a nice song has such an awful name.  Here’s the explanation: Many people assume that it comes from television preacher Jimmy Swaggart calling rock ‘n’ roll “the new pornography.” At any rate, enjoy “Joseph, Who Understood,” about the least appreciated person in the Christmas story.

Posted in Pre-class video | Tagged , | Leave a comment

LIAMW Holiday Music – Robin & Linda Williams: Shotgun Shells on the Christmas Tree

I love this song by Robin and Linda Williams that tells the story of an unexpected Christmas tree with unusual decorations.

Posted in Pre-class video | Tagged , | 1 Comment

LIAMW Holiday Music – John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together

Back in 1979, long before Disney had bought out Jim Henson’s Muppets, there was a TV special John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. it was full of the silliness and fun that you would expect from a classic Muppet show.  As a big Muppet Show fan, I remember enjoying the special when it aired, and I’ve long loved the soundtrack album that I used to own.

So with that trip to rank sentimentality out of the way, let’s watch a couple of clips from the show:

Christmas is Coming

12 Days of Christmas


Posted in Pre-class video | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

LIAMW Holiday Music – Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

Back in 1984, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats and others helped assemble a big group of British and Irish musicians to to produce a music video to build awareness of and raise money for famine relief in Africa.  This video, produced by a super group called Band Aid, would eventually lead to the multi-continent Live Aid concert in the summer of 1985.

Posted in Chapter 7, Pre-class video | Tagged , | Leave a comment

LIAMW Holiday Music – Sigourney Weaver & Buster Poindexter sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Today I’m starting a series  of holiday and Christmas music videos that aren’t the routine ones you see or hear everyday at the mall or Walmart.

Today’s is Sigourney Weaver and Buster Poindexter (aka David Johansen of the New York Dolls) singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside on Saturday Night Live back in 1986.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Posted in Pre-class video | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Star Trek and Ethics

I gave my introduction to media ethics lecture in JMC 100 this morning and made mention of the movie Star Trek 2 – The Wrath of Kahn.

Here’s a link to my blog post about how ethics are portrayed in this excellent film.

Posted in Chapter 14 | Tagged , | Leave a comment