The psyche and the soul–and the religious, psychological and media apparatuses of knowledge, power and ethics that breathe life and materiality into them–they matter today in ways far more significant than our current secularized, cognitivized and chemicalized discourses of mind would have us believe; and that in spite of what Dr. House has to say on the matter:
You have reached the website of Michael E. Thorn, PhD, a scholar of Communication and Culture focusing on religion, psychology and popular culture.
Here you will find posts that sit at the intersection of the psyche, the soul, and the pleasures and entertainments of both, with some encyclopedia posts, Canadian content and random nonsense thrown in for good measure. Check out my Blog page. Check out my Encyclopedia Entries page. Check out a book, but please bring it back.
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada I spend my time studying religion and psychology in our popular collective conscious while obsessing over Canadian politics.
Indeed, while my focus on “popular” culture requires a certain privileging of American content,
because we in Canada consume mostly American entertainment, much like William Shatner, I am Canadian (Go ahead, click on Mr. Shatner).
In 2015 I defended my PhD dissertation on the mass media/popular culture debate surrounding the Christian Ex-gay Movement. (The ex-gay movement is a controversial conservative religious movement that uses ancient religious practices combined with largely discredited 20th century psychological practices to “confess the gay away.” The movement encourages an at best exceptionally difficult and stressful and at worst completely ineffective and harmful process of religiously mediated sexual orientation change.) Today I continue to think religion and psychology together, beyond my dissertation, but still through popular culture.
Indeed, I must confess, there isn’t a day that passes wherein I don’t stop to ponder at least once the exploits of a psychologically distressed young man named Ryan Newman (Elijah Wood) and his furry, talking dog-god, Wilfred (Jason Gann). See my blog post on religion and psychology in Wilfred or just click on one of the pics below to watch Ryan take a break from his distress to dance with Wilfred on YouTube.
Which is more believable? Talking dog-gods sent to make us happy (and dance with us) or confessing away the gay? The correct answer is talking dog-gods. Just ask Gaius Baltar, who, in spite of the quote below, came to believe that there is no such thing as coincidence (click on the picture to hear his final Battlestar Galactica sermon):
PLEASE NOTE: I wish to confess that I hold no copyright over most of the pop culture images I have borrowed for my website and most of the videos and websites I link to are posted and created by others. I borrow and use them through copyright fair dealing/fair use as part of my research and as convenient illustrations for my reviews, reporting and cultural criticism.
Here are links to all of the websites from which I borrowed images for this page:
The picture of my degree is my own.
A Joke on God: http://bizarro.com/comics/may-6-2008/
Be Rational: http://randomfunnypicture.com/funny-pictures-motivationals/motivational-math-jokes-be-rational-get-real/
EKOS Poll Graphic: http://www.ekospolitics.com/index.php/2015/07/race-narrowing-again/
Shatner at Olympics: http://trekmovie.com/2010/02/28/william-shatner-helps-close-out-winter-olympics/
Ryan and Wilfred Dance 1: http://ca.ign.com/articles/2012/08/03/wilfred-avoidance-review
Ryan and Wilfred Dance 2: http://citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-25713-existentialism_in_a_dog_suit.html
Gaius Baltar on God: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175288610468309867/
My Banner picture is a version of this picture that I modified myself. The copyright holder for the picture is probably FX but I borrowed the picture from here: