The Jesus people.

The trip to Cornerstone went well, if you were wondering. As Jeff commented in an earlier post, Cornerstone isn’t really your typical Christian music festival. It’s more…alt-Christian. Multi-colored hair, much body ink, piercings, ear grommets, you know the drill. The mood was much closer to this…

He bites.

…than, say, Up With People.

(Man, I just realized how little I know about contemporary Christian music.)

But the talk went well, and I had an interesting chat with Jane Hertenstein, who is a member of Jesus People USA, who put on the festival. It’s JPUSA for short, pronounced J’poosa. J’poosans live communally in their very own 10-story apartment building on the north side of Chicago, kind of like those FLDS compounds, but without the wack hairdos, child abuse, plural marriage, raids by the feds and, of course, a scary prophet. If it sounds a little hippie, I guess it is — they admit their roots are in the Jesus-freaky movement of the late ’60s and ’70s. I read a little in their website and, while I can no more imagine living communally than I can living in, say, Kabul, I can see its appeal, and they truly do seem to be doing their best to imitate Christ.

Their festival is certainly tolerant of all types:


Not sure what this guy’s journey was, but he was eye-catching.

I think this van belonged to Brother Ray:

No more room.

Brother Ray wandered into the speakers’ hospitality trailer. Most people would notice his yard-long gray dreadlocks, but I was intrigued by his feet, which looked so toughened by exposure to the elements they were more like paws. If that is his vehicle, I suspect he propels it Flintstone-style.

It was a nice trip. A lot of travel for less than an hour of work, but what else is summer for but crashing in your friends’ guest room, driving far up into the wilds of east-central Illinois, crossing all the swollen rivers and creeks, hanging with the Christians for a few hours and then doing it all in reverse? I’m sorry I missed most of the speaker who followed me, from Exodus International. I could scarcely believe this crowd was swallowing it, but I also noticed the speaker didn’t wear a wedding band, so it’s possible she was selling the 20-percent-less-offensive alternative of celibacy for gay people, rather than full-out joining the other team. Dunno.

Anyway, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Well, you tried.

(Note: He didn’t. But he tried.)


I don’t truck much in the workings of the blogosphere, mainly because it’s a huge waste of time. The oh-no-you-di’n’t between the right and the left can go on forever, and frequently does. But I still read it from time to time, and if I recall correctly, wasn’t there a dust-up about so-called liberal photojournalists altering photos to make smoke blacker or some such? I guess the practice is catching on, only in a more chickenshit sort of way. Embedded video has the visual evidence. (Gawker has it in a one-stop, non-video graphic, too.) The NYT has picked up the story, and notes the network’s defense that “altering photos for humorous effect is a common practice on cable news stations.” I’m calling bullshit on that — there’s obvious Photoshopping and there’s this kind, which is just nasty. Note that one of the victims is Jewish; couldn’t they fit a few dollar signs on his eyeballs?

Lots to catch up on today, and I’ll be back later. Enjoy Monday. If you can.

Posted at 8:22 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

28 responses to “The Jesus people.”

  1. Connie said on July 7, 2008 at 9:30 am

    My weekend houseguests – he’s a youth pastor – told some great stories about attending the early years of Cornerstone, including one about switching to acoustic sometime after midnight as they seemed to have blown the power for miles around. She also told me about Shane whatshisname’s t-shirt that says on it: Amish Homeland Security. I am still pondering the true meaning of that one, but I think I want one.

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  2. Julie Robinson said on July 7, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Our daughter, who is attending seminary, probably would have felt at home at Cornerstone, although she’s definitely not into trying to scare anyone into faith. But all the alt-rock, piercings, and even freaky Jack Sparrow wannabes–she’s cool with them. Her Jesus has a very big tent. She has taught me a lot about tolerance, acceptance, and engaging the world. Getting older isn’t much fun, but I love watching my kids grow beyond me.

    July 4th in southern Florida–heat, then some more heat, then even more heat followed by torrential rainstorms. Your car is always hot when you get in and you work up a sweat just taking out the trash. It’s not a fit place to live. Oh yes, and there are hurricanes on their way!

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  3. coozledad said on July 7, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I went to East Carolina University back in the early eighties. Your photos remind me of what a typical day on campus looked like. That t-shirt vendor was there, but without the t-shirts. In fact, he may have been me.

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  4. James said on July 7, 2008 at 11:26 am

    As someone that has actually done news graphics, I have to tell you that altering a photo for any other reason other than correcting a bad source photo (removing scratches, restoring top of cropped head) is unethical and is NOT standard operating practice.

    The flattened, enlarged “cartoon jew-nose” on that one photo says a little something about the intent and ethics of those weasels at Fox News.

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  5. Gasman said on July 7, 2008 at 11:52 am

    It seems that Roger Ailes & Co. have essentially dropped all pretense and now openly embrace the model of Joseph Goebbels and his Nazi propaganda machine, and for authenticity they have even included the unflatteringly doctored image of a Jew.

    These fascists have never been anything other than professional media hit men (& women), but with their open anti-semitism they have sunk to a new low. The suggestion that these bigoted misanthropes are “reporters” or “journalists” is not even remotely credible anymore- if it ever was. Theirs is a message of racism, religious intolerance, lies, and far right political propaganda with zero objectivity and no basis in fact.

    It should come as no surprise that Roger Ailes uses bullying and other strong arm tactics to try and control competing media that have the temerity to question the veracity or tactics of Fox News. Aren’t these the exact same tactics that he employed in the Reagan/Bush I administrations? Aren’t these the same tactics that are still being employed in the Bush II Whitehouse?

    I wonder what is the price for a journalist’s soul? Chris Wallace, Britt Hume, and many other Foxists used to be reasonably respectable TV news professionals. Darth Murdock must pay obscene salaries to get these people to so completely give themselves to the dark side and to willingly associate themselves with the likes of Bill O’Reilly.

    As a matter of principal, I refuse to pay for cable or satellite TV that carries Fox. I will not willingly give a single penny of my money toward further enriching Murdock and his odious enterprises.
    If we ever get a al carte selection of cable channels, I suspect that it would be the end of Fox as we know it. Now, bundled with every TV package, they enjoy a kind of monopoly that has empowered them and encouraged them to be mendacious with seeming impunity. I suspect that if people had to pay for the privilege of bringing that sewage into their homes, few would do so. They would either cease to exist, or faced with genuine professional and economic competition necessitated by dwindling revenues, they would be forced to become mainstream. Either way, I believe it would be the end of the Roger Goebbels Ailes journalistic plutocracy.

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  6. Sue said on July 7, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I’m so happy to see that all the happy Jesus Freaks I knew in high school didn’t morph into the grim Republicans who have been tormenting us for lo these many years. I always thought that’s what happened to them, because they and their joy just seemed to disappear along with the 70’s and these other yohos have been ascendant ever since.
    I hate Fox News. This is just disgusting. Think I’ll see if I can turn them on in high-def (for just a minute, that’s all I can stand), just to see them in all their own ugly, pore-exposed and somewhat wrinkly hideousness.

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  7. nancy said on July 7, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Well, as a veteran of this stuff, I recall when the right wing was hyperalert to images of anti-Semitism, and would call out the merest ghost of a Semitic nose — during the 2002 intifada. Sites like Little Green Footballs, et al, were all over editorial cartoons that suggested Ariel Sharon looked anything like a Jewish stereotype. Haven’t checked to see what their reaction was to this. If any.

    But here’s the thing: I’d bet this wasn’t done with Roger Ailes’ knowledge. I’d bet it was done by a summer intern, or some other low-level peon, who was only reacting to the prevailing atmosphere. Kind of like Abu Ghraib — it gives the higher-ups plausible deniability, and someone to fire. The publicity is just gravy.

    And James is right — you don’t alter news photos. A show like Olbermann’s uses cartoony P’shop work, but it’s always clear (and usually about Bill O’Reilly). This is different, no matter what they say. Neither Steinberg or Reddicliffe are famous faces, and they were presented straight, with no cues that this was some sort of satire. What cowardly tools.

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  8. Peter said on July 7, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Nancy, did I get my facts right? I think the NYT article says that Roger Ailes went to Ohio U and has donated a large chunk of money to it; isn’t that your alma mater?

    Second, Gasman, I think you owe an apology – to Herr Goebels. Sure, Fox News is vile, biased, anti-semitic, and facsist, but c’mon, when it comes to that stuff Geobels is still your gold standard.

    Third, Nancy, I do believe the Jesus People have had several of the same problems as the breakaway LDS. If I remember right, they’ve had problems with child abuse and the Feds. I think there was an article in the Chicago Reader about them and how they chew up and spit out male teenagers….

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  9. nancy said on July 7, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I believe Roger Ailes is, indeed, a graduate of O.U., but if he learned his tactics there, I didn’t take the same classes.

    Interesting about the J’poosans and male teens. I wonder why boys? The FLDS problem with young men is obvious, but without plural marriage, it’s hard to see why. I did note that they take in a lot of people with drug problems — street people, essentially. That seems a recipe for disaster.

    I’ll check the Reader archives.

    LATER: Please do not send me to any site that features Dan Savage and his archive. My workday screeches to a halt, every time.

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  10. Dwight said on July 7, 2008 at 4:05 pm



    You were all for photo retouching when it was your buddy making Nixon look sinister.

    “I hate that muther-effer!”

    Remember that?

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  11. nancy said on July 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    You remember incorrectly.

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  12. coozledad said on July 7, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Making Nixon look sinister? How in the name of God did anyone manage that?
    Are those the same people who made Twiggy look thin? Or William Buckley look like a snide Yalie prick?
    Evil geniuses.

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  13. James said on July 7, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Yeah, they just made Nixon LOOK sinister. Actually, he was a swell, well-adjusted individual.

    Nixon’s evil bled out of his pores and marred his ugly puss. My sainted mother used to say “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes down to the bone.”

    Not only was Roger Ailes an OU grad (according to JC), but he was born in Warren, Ohio, the “big city” next to that hellhole I lived in during first grade, Kinsman, Ohio (birthplace of Clarence Darrow, oddly enough…).

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  14. Sue said on July 7, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Didn’t Nixon have a sainted mother too? The one he mentioned in his resignation speech while completely ignoring the wife he destroyed? Perhaps I remember my history incorrectly. He was a great guy, though, wasn’t he. I didn’t think we’d see the likes of him again.

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  15. Dexter said on July 7, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Here’s a blurb from Ailes’s bio at Wiki: “Early television
    Ailes’ career in television began in Cleveland, where he was a producer and director for KYW, for a then-locally produced talk-variety show, The Mike Douglas Show. He later became executive producer for the show, which was syndicated nationally. He received two Emmy Awards for it in 1967 and 1968. It was in this position, in 1967, that he had a spirited discussion about television in politics with one of the show’s guests, Richard Nixon, who took the view that television was a gimmick. Later, Nixon called on Ailes to serve as his executive producer of TV. Nixon’s election victory was only Ailes’ first venture into the political spotlight.”

    Here’s what happened: Nixon was in the make-up room and was bitching to Ailes about how he had to do these chickenshit shows for housewives , when he hated doing them and saw no good in it.
    Ailes told him that attitude was why he lost in 1960 and why he would never win another major election.
    Nixon listened, intrigued, as Ailes, who was just 26 then, listed all the reason Nixon got blown out of the water in the Chicago 1960 debates with JFK.
    Nixon took Ailes’s words to heart, made Ailes his TV E.P., and the rest is history.

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  16. Peter said on July 7, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I’d have to agree to those comments about adjusting photos to make Nixon look sinister…and leave it at that.

    I’ve said it before, I don’t think there’s anyone who can cause such visceral reactions and opinions as Nixon. You could say that about Bush, but there’s precious few who will stick up for him (your comment here), while there’s still a large army of supporters for Nixon. I mean you’d really have to dig hard for Clinton admirers who are bigger apologists than Nixon’s, and be honest, Bill isn’t in the same league as Nixon.

    And yet, I’m just fascinated by the guy. Was he evil, or just stupendously neurotic? I don’t think there’s an easy answer. And, not to drag other people into it, but I think he has a lot in common with LBJ, in that they both had ambition to spare. You know, you look back on those years, and crazy as they were, I still wonder why the whole place didn’t fall apart.

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  17. nancy said on July 7, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Nixon in 1967: “Television is a gimmick.” Explains a lot about the guy.

    The blog entry Dwight referred to was about me watching a photographer burn and dodge — this bein’ back in the buggy-whip era of black-and-white printing in the darkroom — a photo of Jeane Kirkpatrick, to make her wrinkles more prominent. I never said I approved of the practice, and Dwight will forever hold it against me that I didn’t march into the editor’s office and rat the guy out.

    Dwight, really: It just didn’t seem that important at the time. Kirkpatrick was already pretty wrinkly.

    I would say that’s about 10 full steps away from purposely yellowing teeth and digitally adjusting other elements of a picture to make a person look more like a cartoon Jew, but that’s just me.

    Richard Nixon needed little help from anyone to look terrible.

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  18. Danny said on July 7, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Maybe I missed something, but was it proven that the purpose was definitely to make the person look like a cartoon Jewish? Or was it just mucking around?

    Also, if it wasn’t for the hairline adjustment, I was at first wondering if the difference between the actual and broadcast pictures might have been an artifact of today’s flat-panel television’s aspect ratio options. My TV has settings where regardless of the original broadcast aspect, the picture is stretched or shrunk to make it fit my screen, sometimes with odd results. But since the hairline is so obviously altered on the one pic, there is no question these were doctored.

    Shame on Fox. But comparing them to Hitler and all things bad? Right. Some of us need to breath very slowly into a paper bag for awhile.

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  19. Danny said on July 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Hey, Nance. Interesting factoid. Remember a while back when we were batting back and forth the politics of race and which party was most guilty of engaging in it for gain and you linked to that Jesse Helms advertisement? I just found out that the creative “genius” behind that ad was none other than Dick Morris. Weird, huhn?

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  20. nancy said on July 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    That was the “Hands” ad, right?

    Dick Morris is most famously linked to Bill Clinton, but I think the ol’ toe-sucker has shown his stripes since.

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  21. basset said on July 7, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    not to be too picky about it, but KYW’s in Philadelphia. whoever Wiki’d that might have been thinking of WKYC, which actually is in Cleveland.

    and that van picture reminds me… of the rule of thumb which says if you have more than three bumper stickers on your vehicle, you’re a wacko.

    (none for me right now, changed cars last week… and the pickup I sold had only one, “I’m Proud Of My Eagle Scout.” which oughta be acceptable in most company…)

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  22. harrison said on July 8, 2008 at 12:21 am

    peter, you said:

    I don’t think there’s anyone who can cause such visceral reactions and opinions as Nixon. You could say that about Bush, but there’s precious few who will stick up for him (your comment here), while there’s still a large army of supporters for Nixon. I mean you’d really have to dig hard for Clinton admirers who are bigger apologists than Nixon’s, and be honest, Bill isn’t in the same league as Nixon.

    the reason why nixon still has a lot of supporters because they are lower middle class and full of resentment, just like him. and central indiana, where i live, has a lot of them.

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  23. Gasman said on July 8, 2008 at 12:50 am

    “But comparing them to Hitler and all things bad? Right. Some of us need to breath very slowly into a paper bag for awhile.”

    I could not disagree more. There were plenty of people in Germany and Austria that said, “What Hitler is doing, it doesn’t really effect me. It’s no big deal.”

    Remember the words of Rev. Martin Niemöller:
    “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.”

    We have seen the suspension of habeas corpus, illegal wiretapping, a series of end runs around the constitution, recreational use of military force, illegal invasion and occupation of a country, and the use of the Justice Department to mete out political vengeance. At what point are we actually in a fascist dictatorship? These thugs have sent a Democratic governor to prison merely for having the temerity to be of a an opposing party! There’s also that gem where Karl Rove and Dick Cheney outed Valerie Plame (genuinely searching for WMDs) and endangered her life – and our nation – because her husband would not lie for Bush. And let’s not forget the several felonies surrounding Cheney’s drunken shooting of his lawyer hunting buddy. Cheney and Delay spoke openly about a permanent Republican majority. One party rule sounds a lot more like the bad guys, not us.

    If the above tactics don’t sound like creeping fascism and prompt some to scream out, soon we will have no one left to speak out.

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  24. moe99 said on July 8, 2008 at 1:16 am

    There was an article about Nixon in the New Yorker many years ago when the author met with Nixon and reported that Nixon referred to himself in the third person, as in, “When Nixon was the leader of the free world.” Now if that isn’t bat shit crazy, I’ll eat my hat.

    I have two friends from college, who married and did very, very well thereafter. But he (the male half of the duo)still keeps a framed copy of Nixon’s resignation note in their downstairs bathroom. Always a treat to see it.

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  25. Sue said on July 8, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I am in awe. That was perfect. (Danny, I don’t mean as a rebuttal, just a perfect encapsulation of what I feel.)

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  26. Danny said on July 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    If the above tactics don’t sound like creeping fascism and prompt some to scream out, soon we will have no one left to speak out.

    Don’t worry, even if Obama gets elected and both houses are Democratically controlled, there’ll still be lots of whining going on. Speaking of one-party rule, remember when the Dems had a 40-plus year majority? Real wonderland, wasn’t it?

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  27. Dave said on July 8, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    KYW was in Cleveland at one time, I very much remember listening to the KYW AM station through static in Columbus, 1100 AM, because I thought they played much cooler rock than WCOL in Columbus. They had DJ’s Jim Labarbra, Jerry G, and Jay Lawrence, and Jerry G was big on the Beatles, there was a British-oriented radio show every Sunday night.

    Sometime about late 1965 or early 1966, KYW went to Philly and 1100 AM and Channel 3 in Cleveland became WKYC.

    I believe KYW was also the home of regionally famous Ghoulardi and also where Tim Conway started.

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  28. jcburns said on July 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    KYW and WKYC. WKYC Cleveland used to have the KYW call letters…and they switched em. This is back when both were owned by Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting. It’s a complicated story, summarized more or less well on wikipedia.

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