Web Notables (February 3, 2015)

The cost of hosting the Super Bowl, millennials and the church, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 3, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

Never Host a Mega-Event? from The Atlantic‘s CityLab. Mega-events like the Super Bowl are bad for the cities that host them, explains sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. Being interviewed about his new book Circus Maximus, Zimbalist explains “A principal problem with mega-events . . . is that the new spending they bring in tends to merely replace the spending of traditional tourists, leaving little, if any, net increase in demand for local goods and services.” Hosting a Super Bowl

can drive people away from the city for fear of congestion, high prices and heightened security. Hosting also imposes additional security and hospitality costs on a host city. When Super Bowls are hosted in warm climate cities, the likelihood that football fans are simply replacing sun lovers, golfers, tennis players and recreational fishermen is all the greater.

The costs are even worse for the host city’s economy when the facilities are publicly funded.

I’m a Christian. But I’ve Forgotten How to Belong to the Church, from Christianity Today. “We’ve forgotten how to belong — to institutions, to one another — and we need to recover some basic practices that remind us of our interdependence,” says Erin S. Lane, author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe. She’s speaking of millennials like herself.

Churches are places where we can “interact with people who don’t inhabit our particular lifestyle enclaves. . . . I don’t see many examples [anywhere else] of rich involvement in public spaces that are open to strangers and friends alike. That’s one of the unique features of the church, at least right now, that it offers a common space between your private friends and the larger community.”

The Tyranny of Theory, from The New Criterion. “Since the seventeenth century, philosophers and educated laymen have presumed that true knowledge resembles Euclidian geometry,” explains Gary Saul Morison, writing on a philosopher friend. “Newtonian physics, which reduced the amazingly complex motions of the planets to four simple laws, served as a model for all knowledge. . . . In our time, economics downgraded the study of mere historical facts in favor of timeless mathematical models. The humanities as well as the ‘social sciences’ suffer from ‘physics envy.’”

The friend, the distinguished philosopher Stephen Toulmin, opposed scientism, “the fallacious extension of scientific ideas to social topics,” and Morison explains clearly and helpfully what that opposition involved.

Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent, from the website Public Discourse. “You don’t hear much from us because, as far as the media are concerned, it’s impossible that we could both love our gay parent(s) and oppose gay marriage,” writes Katy Faust, whose mother is gay. She could once have been a “public service announcement for gay parenting” but

I cringe when I think of it now, because it was a lie. My parents’ divorce has been the most traumatic event in my thirty-eight years of life. While I did love my mother’s partner and friends, I would have traded every one of them to have my mom and my dad loving me under the same roof.

Public Discourse is published by the Witherspoon Institute.

What We Don’t Know Just Might Kill You, also from Public Discourse. The infertility industry has many “many dirty little secrets,” writes Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and producer of the documentary Eggsploitation. Women who donate their eggs aren’t tracked, so no one knows for sure what effects the “hyperstimulation” of their ovaries may have, although the medical risks are known.

And from the archives:

Trinity by Andrei Rublev, from Touchstone. Ideally, writes art historian Mary Elizabeth Podles, the iconographer — one who paints icons — “should be a man of prayer who leads a holy life; at least in Rublev’s case, this happened to be true, and he is recognized by the Orthodox Church as a saint. But good intentions, alas, do not always produce good art. It is also extremely fortunate that Andrei Rublev was an exceptionally gifted painter.” Rublev produced an icon of the Trinity that is one of the most famous of icons, and Podles offers an explanation of its symbolism that explains why.

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