Sucking Up To Faith

The moderate success of Speaking of Faith has stimulated the New York Times religion section to emit a sticky-icky paean to our Krista, midwifed by Columbia  journalism professor and web domain eponym Samuel Freedman.  (Even Krista Tippett doesn’t yet use her own vanity web domain, and Krista Tippett barely allows people to use pronouns when referring to Krista Tippett.)

The short review: Get a room, you two!

The headline should have read “Self-Promoting Journalist Enjoys Time With Self-Promoting Journalist, Seeks Dinner, Movie.

So that you can get the gist without actually subjecting yourself to the article, I’ve turned excerpts into a found Mad-Lib.

Please submit your best efforts.  If it comes out porn it’s really not my fault.  I promise this is really from the R-rated profile and is not the opening to a Harlequin Romance novel:

…all of which made her wonder why, with a fulsome __(noun)__ and a social __(noun)__ to match, she felt “really __(adj)__ in ways I couldn’t acknowledge or even explain.”

So it was odder still, as she moved onto __(noun)__ , to __(verb)__ with an old, unbidden sensation.  She told herself at first that she just wanted to __(verb)__ . Then she admitted that what she was doing was __(gerund)__, returning not to the fierce __(noun)__ of her Southern Baptist upbringing but surely to the way it taught her how to __(verb)__ __(preposition)__ God.

“Religion is a touchy subject. You’re really getting at the core of people’s __(noun)__, an intimate place. This religious sphere in our public life is very charged, and I want to __(verb)__ that.”

Then she won admission to Brown and recast herself as an __(noun)__, taking up the study of German literature and history, and __(gerund)__ in the same __(noun)__ as John F. Kennedy Jr.

“Won admission?!?”  “WON admission??!”  Seriously?  Did she have to defeat someone in mortal combat?  Who the hell says that?!  More importantly, who says that about Brown?!  Shouldn’t the phrase be “weathered admission to Brown”, “covered up admission to Brown”, or just “settled for admission to Brown”?  And what is it with the triumphalist verbs relating Krista Tippett to higher education?  Avid readers of this blog will recall that she “emerged” from Yale Div.  I guess it’s just my hyper-sensitivity to language.  After all, I studied English Literature after wresting an Ivy League admission myself.

Can anyone enlighten me as to the relevance of her sharing a dorm with John F. Kennedy Jr?  Is that some kind of euphemism?  And, oh, while we’re non sequitur name dropping a K-Bomb, there’s another dweller in imaginary English castles, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies, who “won admission” to Brown.  I’ll expect them to mention that in the name-dropping errata section usually monopolized by glittery omissions from “Weddings of the Times.”

According to the article, Tippett claims “parsing” familiarity with ancient Greek.  Is this hyperbole or does she prefer to secrete her polymathematics deep inside pop-theology books so as not to overawe her guests and listeners.  Perhaps she publishes her New Testament exegeses pseudonymously with, of course, the Yale University Press…the same press that wouldn’t publish the Dutch cartoons of Mo- Mu- uhmm Mohu – wait – Muhammed in a book written exclusively on the subject of the Dutch cartoons of Mohammad. That’s the kind of bravery to which Speaking of Faith should dedicate an episode!

Or maybe she simply attended, excuse me, won admission to, one of Yale Div’s summer language classes.  By that yardstick I’m a Catullus scholar.  My pathetic seventh and eighth grade Latin teacher who was killing time until she won admission to Pharmacy school will be so proud to hear it.

Much is also made of her work as a “diplomat” during the cold war.  I’d love to know the details of those adventures given that her mastery of statecraft evidently informs her career as self-appointed ecumenical referee.

And finally Krista’s boyfriend – I mean interviewer – gets in a little dig at, I have to believe, your humble servant.

He states:

…she has been criticized at times on the blogosphere for a perceived timidity.

Guilty as charged, Professor!

Of course in the long run she wins because, as noted Catholic Sunday School Teacher St. Stephen Colbertius so often reminds us, the market has spoken.

On the other hand since she produces a radio show designed to pander to the religious among us, i.e. pretty much everyone on earth, 600,000 listeners is only a drop in the bucket.  She’s got a long way to go if she wants to placate and fail to challenge all 6 billion religious folks on Earth, many of whom can’t find a Minnesota Public Radio affiliate on their dials.

She’d better hurry, British Petroleum seems to be trying to set her a time limit.

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