Author: Christopher Cocca

Christopher Cocca is a Pennsylvania-based writer and community organizer. His fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Brevity, elimae, Pindeldyboz, Geez Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, Generate, and elsewhere. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 2005 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (fiction) from The New School in 2011. He helps lead the Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley - Berks and is the Associate for Urban Mission at FPC Allentown. Opinions expressed on-line are solely his. Quotation does not equal endorsement, except for when it does.

Bill Russell On Michael Jordan (and Cartesian Circles)

I get a few queries for this topic every day, but I’ve never actually posted about it.  I’ve talked about Kareem on Russell and Jordan and about what Jordan says about Russell (as little as possible), but given all the recent talk about who should be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore and Will Kobe and/or LeBron Ever Get There, I thought I should see what I could do.

In so doing, I found a still-extant Tripod (yes) website explaining why Russell is the greatest ever, and you need to see it.   There’s also a detailed Straussian discussion about how Russell’s claim that Jordan was the greatest is purposefully meaningless.  I sort of said the same thing about Kareem.  And there’s also this picture of Wlit Chamberlain wearing a fanny pack that says Wilt.

Jesus Chills With Spider-Man, Hulk, and Captain America and The Comic Book Where Batman Was a Priest


So many hits on this blog are because of things I’ve said about Jesus or things I’ve said about comic books.  Roll with it, right?

I saw this via George Takei via In Good Faith.  I love that George shared this and what he said about it.  Everybody wins.

It also reminded me of this, from one of the best Batman Elseworlds ever:


I’m fairly certain this book has informed a lot of what I do.

Opening Lines: Victory by Joseph Conrad

There is, as every schoolboy knows in this scientific age, a very close chemical relation between coal and diamonds. It is the reason, I believe, why some people allude to coal as “black diamonds.” Both these commodities represent wealth; but coal is a much less portable form of property. There is, from that point of view, a deplorable lack of concentration in coal. Now, if a coal-mine could be put into one’s waistcoat pocket–but it can’t! At the same time, there is a fascination in coal, the supreme commodity of the age in which we are camped like bewildered travelers in a garish, unrestful hotel. And I suppose those two considerations, the practical and the mystical, prevented Heyst – Axel Heyst – from going away.

Joseph Conrad, Victory, 1915.  page 1.


The Wop-Shaming of Matteo Renzi

I know there are many more and many worse injustices perpetrated every day against my sisters and brothers of different backgrounds. But today, wop-shaming just went a little too far for me.

“Italy’s political stability has just gone from bad to worse,”  The Daily Beast says.  Basically, because the new PM is a “Tony Danza look-alike” and “he has also been dubbed “the Fonz” thanks to his penchant for t-shirts and leather jackets.”

Really, Daily Beast?  Really?

Fa nable. 

David Byrne. (Photo via Getty Images)

David Byrne: What If We Broke Up With the Internet?

A few problems with David’s observations.
1) Spotify is awesome. Spotify didn’t kill all that was good about music. Spotify lets us make playlists. If DB’s bringing back analogue tape, I’m all for it.
2) Skyping With Grandma is what some art school band aping the Talking Heads are calling themselves right now.

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Ken Cuccinelli: Stop The Widespread Collection Of Americans Metadata

Christopher Cocca:

So is THIS the angle with which Republicans will gain some traction? Crudely, progressives fear the tyranny of business more than the tyranny of government; conservatives the inverse. Is it possible to fear both (as we all should) AND legislate with both fears in mind? I think so. Neither major party has been great at that. Too often, once-progressives settle into “liberal” middle-age (think Ed Rendell) and the fear of corporate tyranny goes out the window as the campaign cash comes rolling in. Too often, their conservative counterparts place unbridled faith in the market and its rigged system (often as the campaign cash comes rolling in). And so, let the fight over metadata begin.

Originally posted on CBS Philly:

By Dom Giordano

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ken Cuccinelli, a former candidate for Governor in Virginia, spoke with Dom Giordano today on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, about a lawsuit he filed with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky against the National Security Agency.

“The NSA sweeping up all of our telephone metadata, the phone numbers we’re calling, who we’re getting calls from, how long those calls are, and all sorts of other things, Americans generally expect that information to be private,” Cuccinelli said laying out his case for protecting what can and cannot be collected by the federal government.

“That expectation of privacy under the 4th Amendment is critical to determining whether the NSA is actually violating the Constitution which we have asserted in this lawsuit we filed,” he said explaining his argument that current levels of data collection have crossed the line into illegality.

Listen to full podcast here…           

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Kyle Minor on Alice Munro; The Atlantic on Kyle Minor

photo by Jennifer Percy.

photo by Jennifer Percy.

I came to know of Kyle Minor’s work because:

  • the title of his first collection, In the Devil’s Territory, is also the name of a Sufjan Stevens song, but
  • Stevens and Minor both took the phrase from a reworking of Flannery O’Connor’s observation about her own work, and
  • Stevens has more than one song named after stories on Ben Taylor’s New School MFA syllabus, and
  • Ben Taylor had Sufjan as a student a few years before I learned everything I know about Flannery O’Connor (and Alice Munro) in that that same seminar. So.

Even if I’d never stumbled upon Minor’s work before the recent release of his new collection, Praying Drunk, I would absolutely know about him now.  He is everywhere, and Praying Drunk is lighting everything on fire.  It has been a joy, and whatever the opposite of schadenfreude is, to watch this career develop over the past few years and come into this season of more widespread acclamation.

Today, Mr. Minor has a great piece up at The Atlantic about Alice Munro.   Part of the By Heart series, which puts Kyle in the company of Serman Alexie and Jonathan Franzen, his essay is introduced by an Atlantic editor with high praise for Praying Drunk. Kyle, to say your hard-won recognition is encouraging to me as a writer would be a gross understatement.  Keeping with the theme, it’s sobering in the way that sobriety is, for those who have worked long and hard for it, a true thing of celebration.