But I enjoyed it. Trubisky eventually settled down and started showing the glimpses that captured Chicago’s imagination

company is banking on rising sales, allowing it to cut 1.5bn of costs.The supermarket also needs strong results to help it persuade shareholders to back its attempt to buy wholesaler Booker.Last month, one of its biggest shareholders said it had “major concerns” about the 3.7bn bid, saying it was overpaying.Tesco said the deal would improve its recovery plans.The supermarket giant’s pension deficit more than doubled from 2.6bn to 5.5bn after higher inflation, said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Kalaf.”The supermarket is facing the prospect of a rise in pension contributions because its scheme valuation is rather inconveniently taking place now, when interest rates are low and inflation is rising, both of which will serve to magnify the deficit,” he said.Kantar Retail analyst Ray Gaul said Tesco can “successfully put the accounting scandals of the past behind them having settled legal affairs”.”Now, Tesco will begin to fight all of its battles on the front foot,” he said.Upcoming “battles” include regulatory battles over the proposed Booker deal.Suppliers raising prices to cope with increased costs will be another test, Mr Gaul said.

Demetrick Pennie, president of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, told TMZ jersey for football Sports after the Wednesday ruling.The Cowboys hold their preseason opener Saturday nfl jerseys me night against the Los Angeles Rams.are our friends and our loved ones it hurts to not have the NFL fully support us, Sgt.

The Vikings are seeking a replacement for Cordarrelle Patterson, who left as a free agent for Oakland after leading the NFL in kickoff return average in three of his first four seasons.Adams had all three of Minnesota kickoff returns against at Buffalo, and averaged 21.7 yards.

Judges, including notable Minnesota chefs, will select 52 semi finalists, 10 finalists, and three Super Snack Challenge winners. “My children take it for granted to have a new bike. Hoosiers will know who’s to blame when they no longer have access to affordable care and we will hold them accountable.”.

“I’m so thankful for every moment I had with him. Wilson has been sacked an average of 43 times a season during the past

In MiamiHispanic Heritage Month is cause for a big celebration in the South Florida area. The Heisman trophy winner jinx is still out there. Of course, at present, we do not have an investment proposal for investing in non urea right now though we are looking at some of the proposals, we will come to that when we actually form up the proposal.

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Though Detroit is thought of by many as an offensive team, it scored a touchdown on barely more than half its red zone trips 51.2 percent the first 14 games of last season. That was 10th worst in the league. And even after a hot finish inflated the number to 54.2 percent, they still finished just 17th..

Trump, who was in Alabama campaigning for Sen. A where can i buy authentic nba jerseys July report on 202 former football players found evidence of a debilitating brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head nearly all of them. The league has agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the concussion dangers of playing football..

Syd has friends among his fellow workers at Mount St. Mary’s, with whom he can jawbone about his primary passion football. (Several years ago, his favorite player, Tom Brady, threw him a pass at a Best Buddies event.) Beyond that, he has best buds all around the world, knows officials, chats with sponsors, catches up with fellow competitors.

“When I watch Buffalo’s offensive football team, I see a group that’s coming together,” Joseph said, referring to a unit featuring an entirely retooled receiver group and new co ordinator Rick Dennison. “The first year, you’re going to have some ups and downs. But if you watch it in cutup form, you can see that it’s going to be an explosive offence.

“Obviously, it’s a small stadium. It seats 27,000. Our goal is to make it sound like 90,000.”. Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the trend of protesting police violence against minorities during the 2016 preseason, when he was still a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Since that time, players across the NFL have followed in a variety of ways. Some, such as Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett have remained seated on the bench during the anthem whereas others have stood with one fist raised in the air..

This turns the higher paid starter into the second string reserve. This occurred during the 2010 season when New York Giants starting back Brandon Jacobs lost his job to second string running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Jacobs earned $3.5 million during that season while Bradshaw earned far less at $460,000..

Buy discount NFL Jerseys from Modell’s. Modell’s offers NFL jerseys from each team for under $50 dollars. You can even find replica NFL jerseys for around $70 dollars, which is much cheaper than what you’ll find in most stores. She never complained. Precocious nature resulted in getting an in with the subjects of many of mom interviews. Charles Barkley ended up in a series of family Christmas cards.

Richard Sherman surprises little girl at hospital who lost invaluable doll A little girl at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital got a surprised visit from her favorite Seahawk. Men’s soccer coach resigns after team fails to qualify for World Cup Bruce Arena officially resigned on Friday. Nation World 2 days ago Blazers 3 on 3: Blazers NBA season predictions.

2. Regarding recruiting, I fail to see the need for these various signing days. Has anybody considered allowing high school athletes (any sport) to sign their LOI starting 01 September of their senior year? If the athlete has a firm offer and wants to end the recruitment process he/she can.

Trump can insulate himself from the dangers he sees. But these players are as much at risk from bad cops as other black men. A GenForward poll last year found that only 26 percent of young adult African Americans trust police to do the right thing, compared with 73 percent of their white peers.

It is a source of enormous pride that some of the best conversations about these issues have taken place in our locker r

by The Associated Press that the anthem issue is dividing the league from its fans.

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I’ve long believed that Trump is simply saying whatever comes to mind, that there is no broader strategy to his comments. But he also not tweeting about his shoe collection, having transformed himself into the standard bearer of an emergent movement of socially conscious football players who are using pregame demonstrations to raise awareness of black oppression in the United States.

Mark Geragos, one of Kaepernick’s attorneys, said in a statement posted on Twitter that the player is being punished for not standing during “The Star Spangled Banner.” It was Kaepernick who began that activism during the preseason last year to protest racial inequality and mistreatment of blacks by police.

If anything jumps out at you, you will see that these are all Super Bowl winning Quarterbacks; as well as, Super Bowl MVP’s and Hall Of Fame (past and future) QB’s. “Gestures mean nothing without follow through. I think the league does a really good job.

That being said, I still think it will be a three horse race in the NFC South, and while Buffalo isn’t likely to be blown out often this season, winning on the road here is a tough task, as Luke Kuechly will be focused on LeSean McCoy. “He thinks he getting serviced, but she has a change of heart, so he says, worries, and goes back out to watch her dance,” White says, conceding that this was the player version and that she never got to hear the dancer side.

In their eyes, the mentor has done no wrong in life and they strive to be that person. (Syd’s victories came in the 15 kilometer at 23:25.79, the 25 kilometer at 40:32.34, and the 40 kilometer at 1:10:33.00.) Even at the highest level of Special Olympics competition, Syd often goes up against athletes with physical handicaps (he has none), and there is almost no one close to his physical ability.

Dow: / NASDAQ: / S 500:How To: Fix Your Fatigue And Get More EnergyIt’s scary what this site knows about Americans, enter a nameNearly one third of American adults say they are less likely to watch a National Football League game because of the growing number of Black Lives Matter protests that are happening by players on the field, a Rasmussen poll found.Thirty two percent polled online and by telephone said they willing to skip NFL games this year because of player protests over racial issues, the pollster said on Tuesday.

As donations kept pouring in, he raised the goal again and again. He rehabbed during the Colts’ offseason workouts and spent all of training camp and the preseason on the physically unable to perform list. Us right now, currently keeping eight guys on the O line because (T) Darrell (Williams) and (T) Andrew (Donnal) Andrew is a guy that played both guard and tackle.

“With respect to your particular involvement, the report established that there is substantial and credible evidence to conclude you were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge.

And think about all that leads up to that rare moment the blocking, hitting, crunching, the risk to limb, brain and, yes, life. A section going into depth on at least the top 30 players in each position4. I won support a team who condones this behavior.

The notion that Kaepernick might be asking for too much money appears unfounded. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including and Magazine, as well as national magazines, including Newborn and Pregnancy.More Articles How Much Money Does a Sports Broadcaster Make? Salary of a Kickboxer Salary of Cable Political Commentators The Average Salary of a Radio Personality The Average Salary of NFL Cheerleaders.

The family is so divided that they do not watch games together.. One of those was identifying which team got measurably worse this offseason. Networking events such as the baseball Winter Meetings give prospective GMs a chance to get in front of baseball officials and present their case.

It a scary thought when you think about it. The Penguins had one black player on their championship team, Trevor Daley, but he signed with Detroit in the off season and did not travel to Washington because the Red Wings were playing in Dallas. If you’re in that age group, make sure to talk to your doctor about it.

It should be a snug fit without any overlap. He caught nine passes for only 77 yards, and again failed to reach the end zone.. Der Rechtsverteidiger machte 133 Lnderspiele und erzielte dabei 22 Tore. One story she wrote inspired readers to donate more than $500,000 to the Red Bucket horse rescue, enabling them to buy their own ranch.

Hill, who is African American, received criticism from the network last month after referring to President Donald Trump as a “white supremacist.” On Monday, oct. The league also consulted with medical experts. A regular NFL season is sixteen games. “It meant that I could buy my parents their first home, their cars, whatever they wanted.

It always been a mindset since I was a little kid. The couple cruised St. Instead of reviewing plays on a sideline monitor, referees will use a handheld tablet while consulting with officials in New York, in part to make decisions faster. More about dealing with the pain and the inflammation.

We hopeful that Nelson will get a spot and get a chance to compete somewhere else. Still, the games are very expensive to stage. “But after I got drafted I really had a revelation and it’s probably the first revelation I ever had in my life. Giving to charity is one of the most selfless things you can do.

Speaking of too neat conclusions, Hill also burst onto the scene as a rookie, finishing as the No. CB XAVIER RHODES had FF INT in Week 7. Mais certains joueurs taisent leurs symptmes de peur de perdre leur place ou d’tre mal considrs. Most drafts use thesnake style of picking.

Jackson’s suspension without pay begins.. Diageo pounced on the opportunity as soon as the NFL announced the new rules in early June. EAGLES: PROBABLE: RB Kenjon Barner (ankle), QB Sam Bradford (left shoulder), TE Zach Ertz (hip), T Lane Johnson (shoulder), DT Bennie Logan (knee), RB Ryan Mathews (concussion, groin), CB Eric Rowe (ankle), DE Cedric Thornton (ankle), S Walter Thurmond (elbow, shoulder)..

We’re going to draft the best guy regardless, because as we’ve often said, your needs can change week to week.”. The manufacturer’s website notes that uses polyethylene blades with a rubber and nylon root zone. Administration officials backed the president on Sunday talk shows, saying he just wanted players to show patriotism and respect.

The $7.5 million annual salary, though, does not include other income, such as money paid for endorsements, commercials and speaking engagements. Let set something straight: these protests are not about the flag or about veterans or the military, they are about speaking out against police brutality and injustice in communities of color across America.

Los Angeles based registered dietitian McKenzie Hall says there’s good reason why many of us instinctively sip on tea to calm our nerves. But then he also played inside and you can see that stack linebacker ability hat he has. Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler, both former University of South Florida players, were also aboard..

It very difficult to get out.. The bench press is a multi joint movement and key strength development exercise for the pectoral (chest) muscles, shoulders and triceps. For St. Football favorite, he was unstoppable with nearly 1,800 yards rushing and 21 TDs through seven games, including 372 yards rushing and five TDs vs.

I have seen people posting that the spat between the two is due to team selection. They’ve talked about how they don’t know how feasible that is in the game of baseball, but I think we have to try something.”. Sure, Ross is a bit undersized, but he will be the fastest player on just about any field on which he steps.

The competition, the close games in the fourth quarter, the stunning athleticism, the teamwork, the passion and intensity those things make the game so riveting.. But when that fell through, Lynch. I never thought it was life or death. TDs in past 6.

Proper preparation and training enhances your performance at the tryout to improve your chances of making the team. Wells and a cautionary note in writing of the club’s obligation to cooperate in the investigation. He’s going to be a lot of fun,” Langsdorf said.

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Slowly lower your upper body until you sitting on your heels. Then soak for 20 minutes. The broadcasting thing would have been a cool gig for him, but he still has some football left. Two men were stabbed dead. There is a certain onus placed on overall strength development in the game.

It’s everyone who didn’t win the league.. In the morning, I eat a vegetable egg white omelet with fruit and oatmeal. When she graduated from Lafayette, she took a job in Homer, working for John Eves, whose morning radio shows and local sports broadcasts gave Mowins a practical primer on the business..

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They just the latest on a long list of people that he wishes would shut up and allow life to be shoved down their throat.. The 8 percent dip was the biggest in a decade. But don’t forget about Eli Rogers. Louis High, Bush turned down a football scholarship at Missouri to sign with the San Diego Padres as a seventh round pick.

The approach to uniforms will change, if only a bit. 24, 2017.. It was the third mid range miss for the 41 year old kicker this season.. I had 15,000 e mails. The problem lies with creating hype and enthusiasm in the states among everyone connected with the sport.

8 Wash. Cautions that the study has some limitations and doesn attempt to pinpoint a CTE rate. These amazing 3D cups have a version for every NFL and MLB team as well as some specialty versions. Regarding sponsors, he said the league speaks constantly with its partners and wasn’t aware of a single one that was worried about the weekend’s events..

Never before in the NFL has there been this much controversy about a back up quarterback.. Pittsburgh’s best chance some would say its only chance is to get its big three of QB Ben Roethlisberger (7), RB Le’Veon Bell (26) and All Pro WR Antonio Brown (84) going from the start and never stopping.

However, O’Donohoe said he felt that such a strategy was not in line with their mission to make the CPL a family entertainment experience. Only two candidates made it to the finish line Paris and Los Angeles, each with a storied tradition of Olympic hosting and an apparent understanding of Bach’s much touted reform package, known as Agenda 2020.

At Dancing withthe Stars that Monday, I wasin my dressing room when thephone rang and [the doctor]said, “You’re good.. To be sure, Penn State’s coaching staff wants size on its offensive front. In his four years on the Palouse, he set 12 Division I AA records and became only the second player in NCAA history to accumulate more than 10,000 yards.

The percentage of a contract is typically between 3 and 5 percent, according to the Become A Sports Agent website. McGloin, 27, ascended from walk on to record setter with the Nittany Lions, and that rise ensures his presence will attract attention in Philadelphia..

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The letter comes two days after Vice President Mike Pence abruptly left a game featuring protests and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench those who kneel during the anthem. There’s no place for Women in Football (Except Cheerleading 😀 ) ; Eric Mangini and Mike Singletary were among others that got fired in the NFL..

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An ugly 2 6 spread record on the road last season. “I had the privilege and pleasure of working for a man who needed no rule to evaluate people without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and other such characteristics.”. With the growing number of former players showing evidence of CTE at the time of their death, there is a belief that the repeated head trauma that takes place on the field leads to depression and dementia in former players.

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(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft). “I displayed what I can do at the combine. The quarterbacks coach is the person in charge of quarterbacks on a football team. As a black journalist, the weight of the words I select are sometimes too heavy for my shoulders to carry, and the possible consequences angering or alienating a certain segment of society are sometimes too.

Given that so few people in the West Wing especially those who have Trump ear have any governing experience, or even a rudimentary understanding of what a functioning White House looks like, there no reason to believe Team Trump will right this ship anytime soon.

Three Illusions of the Digital Self

Outside the lecture hall where I arrived recently to give a presentation in one of my classes I found perhaps a hundred students milling around, waiting for the previous class to be over so they could go inside. To my surprise there was an eerie silence among the crowd. None of them were talking to each other. Almost all were staring intently at the tiny screens of their cell phones, though a few were chatting away on ear-plug microphones, appearing to be oddly talking to themselves.

This has become the new normal in any crowd under, say, age 30. On campus, a student sent me a text message that required a long and complicated response, one that my inept thumb-typing could not easily master. Perhaps, I texted back to the student, we could meet sometime, and wondered where he was at the moment. “In the next room,” he cheerfully responded, and came bounding into my office. It had never occurred to him to confront me directly when a text message could easily suffice.

What, I began to wonder, is changing in the digital age? Is it simply a matter of new technology and our habits of communication that are changing or is it something more? I began to wonder whether we are witnessing some subtle transformations, not only in how we interact with each other, but also in how we think about ourselves.

After all, one aspect of the modern era was the emergence of what has been called the modern person. The all-encompassing changes of the period of modernity that dominated public life in the West from the 18th through the 20th centuries were not only technological, economic, and political. They also shaped the modern person whose traits were individualistic, inquisitive and ambitious–quite different from the communitarian and obedient patterns of the medieval masses.

If we are now living in a post-modern age, an era in which global forces are shaping our social, economic, and cultural lives, wouldn’t it be understandable if these also affected our sense of selfhood? In other words, could it be possible that we are witnessing the emergence of a digital self?

I tried to imagine what the features of this digital self might be. And what I came up with are several understandings of the self–traits that include a sense of being globally connected, informed, and confident. But as I thought about it, it seemed to me that each of these characteristics were deeply ambivalent. Though they are based on real changes there are aspects of them that are illusory, aspects of the self that are internally contradictory, or not fully realized.

This is what I mean.

The illusion of connectivity.

The ability to instantly contact and interact with almost anyone anywhere on the global is one of the most startling features of the digital age. I have seen hikers in Ladakh and adventurers in Machu Picchu who are able to connect with their cell phones to get on line and send selfies of their rare experiences to thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers around the planet.

This is connectivity. Or at least it is the appearance of it. Like the crowd of students waiting to get into my class who said scarcely a word to each other as they perused their instance communications from far-flung friends, this kind of connectivity can be strangely alienating. It is, on the one hand, a way of being in touch immediately with anyone that you know (and many that you hardly remember ever having met). But on the other hand it is a way of preventing the sustained social interactions that build friendship and trust. It is like cocktail party chatter that seems so entertaining and yet appears so vacuous when compared with a deep one-on-one conversation with an old friend. And yet there is something vibrant about these digital connections and the webs of networks that they create.

The illusion of wisdom.

Want to know who were kings in 15th century France? Want to know the quantity of beef annually raised in Argentina? No worries—the answers are as close as your hand held device or your computer tablet. You can Google virtually everything. The ubiquitous hand-held devices also provide easy access to social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, to the Internet web pages that span the universe of knowledge, and to video clips and essays representing every interest imaginable. It is a vast and extraordinary access to information, one that would have left the 18th century European Enlightenment thinkers in awe. They were the ones who first devised the encyclopedia—the idea that the universe of human knowledge could be contained in a few volumes on a library shelf. Now it turns out that their dream has come true in an even smaller receptacle, the tiny device you hold in your hand, where the infinitely expanding Wikipedia replaces the medieval shelf of stored data.

All of this knowledge at one’s fingertips gives the illusion of wisdom, of being at the crest of a great wave of information. The problem is that it is selective information. After all, we are the ones who decide what words or phrases to put into the Google search engine, and it is Google’s algorithms that determine what responses come up first. One might think that with all of the “friends” that you “like” on Facebook you would have a great diversity of points of view with which to contend. But no, Facebook has a way of reading your mind, or at least determining your political, cultural, and consumer tastes, and adjusts the feed of Facebook postings to your Facebook wall accordingly. In these ways the information that you get simply confirms and reinforces your own values and opinions.

So in a curious way, all of this avalanche of information is filtered in a way that actually makes you less informed, in the sense of seeing a variety of points of view and encouraging you to make some judgement among them. We have seen the results of this kind of silo-effect of media information in recent elections where one’s information about candidates you liked were valorized, and the competitor demonized, in a way that guaranteed a divisive and angry outcome to the elections. It also provided opportunities for media manipulation and the purveying of misleading and outright false reports that would be rapidly recirculated simply because they reinforced the biases and assumptions of the senders. And yet, the basic fact of improved information access is a part of the digital age, a resource to be channeled and potentially utilized for the improvement of human wisdom.

The illusion of personal power.

The instant connectivity and information access of the digital age leads to a third characteristic—a sense of self-confidence. This is the impression gained by individuals, with all these resources at their fingertips, that they know as much or more than anyone else.

I have experienced this directly in my role as a “terrorism expert,” as the media sometimes calls me. I put that term in quotes since I’ve never felt comfortable with that label. I am keenly aware of the limits of my own knowledge, and feel uncomfortable being described as an expert in anything. Still, religious terrorism is something that I have studied and written about over the past thirty some years, so I should know something about it. Recently, however, I have found that when people ask for my opinion, either privately or in an on-air interview, I am quickly interrupted to be given their opinion about the subject. “Well this is what I think,” the questioner will say. And then they’re off on a lengthy diatribe that often echoes comments that they have read on line, heard on radio, or seen on television. If the expert posts his or her authoritative voice on Wikipedia, it can be erased in a moment’s notice by virtually anyone who has a different take on the topic, without have to demonstrate a shred of expertise in that field.

So everyone’s an expert, as I have pointed out in a recent blog post on this topic. But it’s not just terrorism on which they have the illusion of expertise, but also politics, the economy, religion, education, international affairs—in brief, everything. This challenges the whole range of established authority, not just in academia, where we sense this mounting disrespect almost daily, but also in the social and political institutions that lead our societies. Recent elections in the United States and Europe demonstrate that the outside politician, the Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump or Emmanuel Macron, has an appeal simply by virtue of not being part of an established political party. The same phenomenon is seen in the cultural sphere, where the rise of new religious movements and demagogic preachers in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, as well as in Christianity, are part of the anti-authoritarian mood of the global age of self-confident self-empowered individuals.

This self-confidence is illusory, since it is not based on any real power or is channeled through democratic process of social and political change. It is rebellion that has no hope of becoming a revolution, and is easily exploited by demagogues who pretend to represent the voices of the populace. The dark side of this illusion of power is anarchy, a devolution of social institutions that are felled by the rise of a deep distrust of authority based solely on one’s own imagined power. Short of that, however, is a different possibility: that the challenge to authority can create opportunities for change and empowerment that do have credibility given the possibility of mass social mobilization in the global age, a coordination of interests that can be harnessed for positive social purposes as well as for venal ones.

The digital self of the global age, therefore, is lonely but widely connected, limited in understanding but able to access vast resources of knowledge, impotent in an ability to act but empowered with a brazen self-confidence. It is a contradictory self, but one that is not without promise. After all, despite the illusions of connection, wisdom and power, there is an extent to which each of the three of these have an authentic basis in the new realities of the global era. We do have an ability to communicate with large numbers of people easily; we do have access to more information and an ability to create our own platforms of information; and we do have the confidence sense that we have the power to change things. And for these reasons, the global future is one that is open to be shaped in myriad ways. One can only hope that at least some of these will be positive.

Everyone’s an Expert

When people find out that my research field is the global rise of religious violence they often start to ask questions. “What do I think of ISIS?” they may ask. Or, “do you think that religion causes terrorism?”

I suppose such questions are understandable, even though I hesitate to answer them. Even though I am sometimes interviewed on television or on radio with the descriptor that I am a “terrorism expert,” I’ve never felt comfortable with that label. I am keenly aware of the limits of my own knowledge, and feel uncomfortable being described as an expert in anything.

Still, religious terrorism is something that I study. And I’ve done it for over 30 years. I’ve written several books and scores of articles about the topic, and have interviewed dozens of people directly involved in terrorist acts or supporters of them. I’ve interviewed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Doctor Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, leaders of Hamas; Mahmud Abouhalima, one of the key organizers of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center; Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the anti-Palestinian Koch Party; Rev Michael Bray, convicted of bombing clinics that provide abortions on the East Coast of the United States, and Ashin Wirathu, the Buddhist anti-Muslim activist whom Time magazine called “the Buddhist face of terror.”

So yes, I should know something about the subject of religious terrorism. For this reason, against my better judgement, I often try to answer these simple questions. Hesitantly, in words that I think are uncomplicated and relevant, I try to give a common sense response about what is for me a very complicated subject without sounding like I’m giving an academic lecture.

But often before I can utter more than a word or two, I’m interrupted. “Well this is what I think,” the questioner will say. And then they’re off on a lengthy diatribe that often echoes comments that they have read or seen on television.

Sometimes they have decided that a particular religious tradition is at fault, invariably Islam. At other times it is religion in general that is the cause, regardless of the degree of religiosity expressed by the perpetrators of particular terrorists acts. And occasionally they aver that the problem is political leadership and cowardice in “getting tough” with evil doers.

My attempts at correcting, nuancing, or qualifying their opinions are to no avail. They know what they know, and they want me to know it.

Why, I wonder, did they bother asking me if they were not interested in my analysis? I’ve given some thought to this interesting situation, and tried to make sense of it.

Part of the problem, I think, is the proliferation of talk-shows on radio and television—sometimes in a daily 24-hour format—that is all about opinion. Everyone has one, everyone has the right to express theirs, and talk shows are the way to do it. Real expertise is simply not a part of the talk show equation. Asking an expert something is simply an excuse to give one’s own opinion on the topic.

I discovered how this format affects conversation when, soon after 9/11, I was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly, a talk show host on Fox news. When he opined that Islam produced terrorism, I tried to politely point out that the 9/11 attackers were a minute number of a very marginal fringe of an extremist branch of Islam that virtually all Muslims would disparage what they did.

“That’s an interesting opinion,” O’Reilly said. I tried to explain to him that this was not just “an opinion,” it was a fact based on evidence and a part of my analytic judgement as someone who studies the relationship between religion and violence comparatively around the world. But then I realized that I was speaking into a dead microphone, he had already cut me off and was on to something else.

So part of the problem is that an expert is just someone else with an opinion, no better and probably worse, than opinions expressed by people whom others trust. Some of these opinion setters are media hosts like O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Others are authors such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. They present convincing templates of reality that are difficult to penetrate by people such as me who actually study some of the things that these opinion setters have pontificated about.

Another problem is related to globalization. We live in an era in which increasingly information is decentralized and divorced from structures of authority. Encyclopedias are an example. When during the European Enlightenment, Denis Diderot produced an Encyclopédie, the idea was that the most authoritative versions of knowledge would be available in one place. In the 21st century, the most commonly consulted encyclopedia is Wikipedia, which anyone can alter and amend at will. It is only as authoritative as the last person to edit the entries.

The problem is even more pronounced in reporting on the world’s news. In the United States, as in most countries, news information was disseminated to the general public through very limited sources, usually ones in which the public had great trust. During the later decades of the 20th century the nightly news of the major networks—ABC, NBC, and CBS—were the arbiters of the received knowledge of daily events. At that time, Walter Cronkite, the anchor for CBS-television news, was regarded as “the most trusted man in America.”

In the 21st century everyone is trusted and no one is trusted. We can pick our own version of the news, and viewers of MSNBC and Fox News seem to inhabit different planets. If one does not trust any of the televised variants of current events, the Internet provides abundant fora for alternate views, some of which are downright bizarre.

No wonder, then, that experts don’t count. In these media realms independent experts simply do not exist, or are deeply suspect. If they offer counter narratives they are presumed to be speaking from an opinionated position that cannot be trusted.

“Are you one of those liberal professors?” This was the question posed by a Mid-West relative of mine who admitted that her main source of information came from Fox News. No matter that I was a once-trusted relative and that I had spent years in the University presumably becoming accomplished in some arena of knowledge, the very fact that I spoke outside her media box was cause for suspicion.

So I supposed in an era of media opinions and the globalized decentralization of information, I should not feel insulted if no one trusts me to be an expert. I can live with that. I’m more disturbed, however, by what this says about the diffusion of knowledge and the lack of public consensus in the global era. That is an issue about which we should all be concerned.

Ainslie, a Personal Note

Ainslie Embree (1926-2017) was chair of Columbia University’s history department, interim dean of the School of International and Public Policy, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Counselor for Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and editor of the Encyclopedia of Asian History.

Once when Ainslie was striding along in his usual brisk, authoritative way on the sidewalks of Manhattan’s upper West Side near the Columbia campus, I had almost to trot to keep up with him. Why, I asked, did he walk so fast?

“In this city,” Ainslie proclaimed, “you have to move quickly, keep your eyes straight ahead, and act like you know what you’re doing.”

That struck me as good advice, not just for surviving in the city but in life in general. And I took it as one of many of Ainslie’s words of wisdom.

Yet in many ways, what I learned most from Ainslie in the forty-five years that I have known him as a friend and mentor, was quite different. It was his patience and attentiveness that made him such a striking presence in the academic world in which he reigned.

Take, for instance, his role at conferences. He would install himself at the lobby bar in the main conference hotel and hold court. Friends and colleagues would pass by, pause, and then share some news or simply acknowledge his presence.

To see him function there or at the faculty club or the Cosmos Club was to watch the master of networking. He seemed to know everyone, and everyone wanted to bend his ear, share some political gossip or international intrigue, or gain some advice on their careers. He had a way of making each person feel that he was listening only to them, and listening carefully.

He was patient in scholarship as well. I helped him edit his essays into two books, and at times it seemed that he would not let go. He wanted to rewrite one more time, add another reference, tweak another sentence so it was just right. And he succeeded; his essays are masterpieces of careful and precise scholarship.

And yet, if one looks back at the whole of a long and productive career that lasted almost a century, one sees a different arc. Though the details are slow and precise, the overall effect is transforming, shifting from academia to public service, from history to current affairs, from local issues to global concerns, bearing loyalties that could at once be Canadian, American, and South Asian. And the cumulative effect is a well-crafted life, one of purpose and product that will long endure.

So he was right, what he said that day on the busy streets of New York City. He survived because he moved quickly, kept his eyes straight ahead, and acted like he knew what he was doing.

My 2009 videotaped interview with Ainslie can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeVxoqPDc-0.

How to Respond to North Korea’s Paranoia

This essay was published in the Huffington Post on July 7, 2017

I spent a week in North Korea in the 1990s and went away from my interviews with government leaders with the sense that they were in a profound grip of paranoia. From one office to the next I was shown pictures of how the city of Pyongyang was destroyed during “America’s War of Aggression,” which was their name for what we call the Korean War. In their collective memory it was the US who started it with the sole purpose of obliterating their country, a goal that they think we still harbor.

Considering their distrust of Americans it was a bit of surprise when I was invited to go there along with several of my colleagues at the University of Hawaii where I was serving as dean of the University’s School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies at the time. The idea was for our team to negotiate the possibility of scholarly exchanges and mutual academic projects with Kim Il Sung University and the leading research center in the country, the Institute for Juche Thought (juche is the term for the ideas of Kim Il Sun that are treated as if they were a blueprint for all of humanity).

So although at least some of the government officials with whom we spoke had a goal of joint academic ventures, it also became clear that not all of them were enthusiastic about the idea. As their hostile comments to us implied, the United States was a belligerent, evil power with only one goal in mind: the destruction of North Korea.

It is this paranoia that continues to be the dominant point of view in Pyongyang. If anything the attitude has gotten even worse under the present leader, Kim Jung Un. Behind the killing of his uncle and his half-brother was an ideological difference between those like Kim who persist in a kind of siege mentality and those who would prefer to open up their society’s doors to the wider world.

When we were in Pyongyang, we saw plenty of examples of how students in North Korean universities were preparing themselves for the global arena. English was a surprisingly popular foreign language, even more than Chinese or Russian. Computer literacy was required, and although the access to personal computers was limited, the computers in the college classrooms were in heavy demand. When we visited classrooms in the universities our presence was consistently warmly greeted.

The issue, then, is how the West—especially the United States, which looms so large in the North Korean imagination—can respond to North Korea’s actions in a way that will encourage the progressive, globally-minded elements within the country and undermine the paranoia of those leaders who rule as if a new Korean War was just around the corner.

Clearly the way not to respond is to stoke their paranoid fears. When US President George W. Bush listed North Korea among the three evil enemies in the “axis of evil” mentioned in his 2002 State of the Union speech, North Korean leaders were terrified. It was as if their worst fears were coming to life. The yearly joint military exercises between the US and South Korea off the shores of North Korea are also annual reminders of the enormous military might that is poised against them.

It is understandable, then, that North Korean leaders have responded defensively. They have convinced themselves that the only thing that can prevent the nuclear annihilation of North Korea is deterrence. By creating their own nuclear weapons capacity, they think, they will forestall an American invasion.

The paradox of this position is that the development of North Korean nuclear weapons capability is precisely what frightens political leaders in the United States. Responding in kind, with increased sanctions and threats of military intervention, is likely to increase the paranoia of North Koreans and lead to even more frantic attempts to shore up their deterrent nuclear weapons capability.

What to do? It turns out that North Korean leaders are hungry for any sign of respect from the West. Witness the pathetic fawning over the aging former basketball star, Dennis Rodman, by Kim Jung Un. Or the incident during the regime of the present leader’s father, Kim Jung Il, when in 2009 he demanded that former President Bill Clinton come to Pyongyang personally for an audience with Kim Jung Il before he would release two American journalists who had been taken hostage. Clinton made the journey, and it turned out that what Kim Jung Il wanted most of all was a formal picture of him standing next to the former U.S. President in the ornate meeting room of a Pyongyang governmental palace, proving that Clinton had come to his quarters.

So as distasteful as the idea might seem to those who think that taking a “hard line” against North Korea is the most effective tactic, in fact it might be the worst option available. It might hasten the mounting spiral of paranoia and trigger the possibility of devastating preemptive strikes, possibly with nuclear warheads that could obliterate whole cities, including Seoul and Tokyo. What might begin to de-escalate the crisis would be a surprising openness of America to meetings and conversation, perhaps returning to the idea of US support for peaceful nuclear energy projects, as has been negotiated in the past.

Such a strategy of openness would probably not transform North Korea overnight. But it would be a welcome change from the freight trains of war that we hear rumbling these days on both sides. What is at stake is not only the future of US relations with North Korea, but the assurance of peace in a nuclear-charged world.

Peter Berger: Sociology’s Defender of God

10/26/2006 – 5:15 PM — Boston, Massachusetts
Religion in New Europe event with Boston University Professor Peter Berger.
Photo by Patrice Flesch for Boston University Photography

Peter Berger died on June 27, 2017, at age 88. He was a professor emeritus of sociology and founder of the Center for Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University.

Years ago when I was co-directing the Berkeley-Harvard program in comparative religion our conference in Cambridge had divided into two camps, the ethical relativists and the ethical absolutists. Peter Berger was on the side of the absolutists.

The discussion came to the case of sati, the practice in India of widow-burning, where the grieving widow was supposed to throw herself onto the funeral pyre of her departed husband and achieve a kind of divine immortality as a result. Berger listened to the cultural defenses of the practice for a moment or two, and then he had had enough.

Berger stood up, his voice thundering as he pointed an accusing finger at each of us. “If the funeral pyre was burning in the midst of this room and an old lady started climbing on it, who among you moral relativists,” he said, his words reverberating through the ornate hall of the old Harvard seminar room, “would pause even a second in keeping her alive?”

Whatever else was said that day, Berger’s image of the old lady on the funeral pyre in the seminar room lingered in our minds and framed much of the rest of the debate. That was Berger—he had a powerful way with words, enhanced by striking images from a fertile imagination.

It was not just his own, but the social imagination of whole societies that was the subject that Berger pursued throughout his career. A whole generation of young scholars became excited about the importance of the social sciences through his co-authored Social Construction of Reality, which taught us that all of the realities of everyday life are in some way socially constructed. The point was not to trivialize what we think of as reality, but to demonstrate the power of the social imagination in informing our sense of what we think of as real in the world. It is a point that he expanded on in a charming way in what is often thought of as a textbook, Invitation to Sociology, but which is largely Berger’s ruminations on the sociological imagination.

It is the power of this imagination that attracted Berger to religion. Like another great late sociologist of religion, Robert Bellah, he thought of religion as “alternative reality,” the suggestion of transcendence that lay behind the fractured constructions of reality that provide us with the day-to-day world around us. The book of his that makes the best connection between religion and the social construction of reality is likely The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Social Theory of Religion. His regard for religion as a cultural resource for thinking of ultimate matters led him to become a well-known defender of religion. His prominence as a champion for God rose during the era of the “God is dead” mentality, and a series of books, perhaps most notably, A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural, defended the possibility of religious thinking and its challenges from an aggressive atheism.

His form of religiosity was an old-fashioned Lutheran variety that left little room for social activism and the cultural compromises with modernity that many liberal Christian congregations have adopted. For that reason he was often regarded as politically conservative, though in Pyramids of Sacrifice: Political Ethics and Social Change, he tried to be as critical of capitalism as he was of radical socialism.

Later in life he returned to the idea of the social construction of reality in an interesting book, Redeeming Laughter, which set out to understand why things are funny. A clash of conceptions of reality are at the heart of it, which is why religious humor is particularly interesting. Berger himself loved to tell humorous stories, and he regarded this as one of his most interesting books. He told me he was disappointed that the book did not have more of an impact in the United States. He felt that it had a better reception in Europe.

In his last years he became increasingly interested in religion in a global context. His Center for Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University became an important arena for scholars from different religious traditions to interact, and Berger became involved in trying to understand commonalities among the different faiths. He was also trying to understand the role of religion in an era of globalization.

Berger wrote the introduction to a book co-edited with Samuel Huntington, Many Globalizations, which argued that economic globalization is only one aspect of a series of different kinds of globalization. He added that globalization itself looked different from different parts of the world. Hence the project of understanding the global era is one requiring multiple perspectives, which the essays in the book attempt to provide.

Again, religion was at the heart of Berger’s thinking about the world, including the global world of our 21st century era. In the lead essay for a book on Religion in Global Civil Society that I edited, Berger notes that “whether civil or uncivil, there can be no doubt that religion today is being globalized to an unprecedented degree” (p15). Trying to make sense of this new reality, like the many social realities that fascinated him over his enormously prolific career, continued to challenge Berger, and at heart there was the moral issue: was religion used for civil or uncivil ends?

This brings me back to the story with which I began these comments, the image that Berger raised of the hapless Hindu widow about to mount her husband’s funeral pyre that Berger imagined to be blazing away incongruously in the middle of a Harvard seminar room. “Would any one pause for even a second,” he demanded to know, in keeping her from carrying out her grisly mission?

After a bit of a silence, all of us cultural relativists had to admit that despite our efforts to give the social and religious context to such an event and to understand why she might be propelled to commit such a deed, Berger was right. We would have tried to stop her. There is, he demonstrated to us—not just in this story but in all of his incredibly prodigious output in a long and productive career–still a deep moral compass in our modern globalized world. We can challenge and we can question, but when it comes to action, who among us would let someone burn?

Ainslie Embree’s Gift to Religious Studies

When the preeminent historian, Ainslie Embree, died this week at age 96, he was lauded for his contributions to our understanding of South Asian history and politics, but what was sometimes overlooked was what he offered to the study of religion. Arguably it was Embree who helped to launch programs in the study of South Asian religious culture in the United States, and who first recognized the seriousness of the secular-religious split in South Asian nationalism.

He came by the study of religion naturally. A Canadian pacifist who somehow got swept up in World War II as an air force navigator, he then turned to religion at Union Theological Seminary, New York. Afterwards, in 1947, he accepted an assignment from the United Church of Canada to go to India where he and his wife taught at Indore Christian College. On returning to New York in 1957 he completed a PhD in history at Columbia University. It remained his academic home for most of the rest of his rich career as a professor, dean, department chair, and member of the US diplomatic service in Delhi.

Columbia had created a Western Civilization requirement and Embree, along with the China expert Theodore deBary, were determined to make it a global civilization requirement. Embree created the textbook, Sources of Indian Tradition, that became standard for courses in Hinduism and South Asian Islam. He also helped to establish the South Asian Institute, an early model for the new research field of South Asian Studies throughout the Western world. It is hard to imagine now how novel it was then, this idea of studying cultural regions, especially seemingly arcane ones like Asia. But Embree was a pioneer.

He also forged new paths in the study of religion and nationalism long before the rest of the academic community realized how important this topic would become. In a remarkable book of essays, Utopias in Conflict: Religion and Nationalism in India (University of California Press, 1990), Embree showed how secular and religious visions of the Indian nation were fundamentally in competition, though he understood that the religious versions had their own political motivations. In a separate essay, he ruminated over the partition of India in 1948 and the creation of Pakistan. Though ostensibly an attempt to keep Muslim and Hindu communities separate, Embree thought that issue was never about religious identity but about religious politics, the aspiration of competing political leaders, and wondered how history might have been different if the British had not conceived the issue in communal religious terms.

The case of South Asia, Embree thought, was a good example of why politics and religion should never mix. Like the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, with whom he had studied at Union Seminary, Embree thought that religion did much to enrich the culture and vitality of a national community, but not its politics, where it could be misused in the hands of ambitious politicians. Like Niebuhr, Embree was a realist in seeing that the “sublime madness” of the religious vision could be not only an inspiration for greatness but also a tool for venal political aspirations.