The Student Loan Mafia: Based on a book by Alan Michael Collinge called The Student Loan Scam, explains how hard-working, responsible graduates become mired in impossible debt. Reviews the history of a predatory industry that has bribed universities, financial aid officers, and Congress to strip all consumer protections. Details the underhanded tactics, usurious fees, and draconian collection practices that have driven borrowers out of jobs, out of the country, and out of their minds. Gives some biography on Epictetus and the Stoics, and presents elements of the religion started by “Bokonon” in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Elucidates the checkered past of Daylight Saving Time and questions whether it’s saving time or stealing it.
Songs and/or Music Videos:
Joy, Luck, and the Religion of Prosperity: Examines prosperity consciousness and magical thinking from nineteenth century mind-cure healers to New Age spiritual hucksters and the megachurches of consumer christianity. Responds to “The Secret” with the “Joy Luck Club.” Reports on Douglas Rushkoff’s article in the e-zine Reality Sandwich called “I Am God,” giving the history of wealth-creationism and the spirituality of selfishness. Discusses Willis Barnstone’s translation of the New Testament from the Greek, and his decision not to “soften the blows” of anti-Semitism. Compares the gospels as apologists for Rome to Josephus. Reads excerpts from Life, Inc: How the World Became a Corporation on Christian branding.
- Hafiz, “A Handful of God”
- Nelly Sachs, “Perhaps God Needs the Longing”
Songs and/or Music Videos
- Kronos Quartet, “Ya Habibi Ta’ala” or “My Love, Come Quickly”
- Depeche Mode, “Your Own Personal Jesus,” MTV concert video
- The Frey, “Happiness”
- Sun Dream, “Shahasrara (Crown Chakra)”