Monday, April 3, 2006

Cathleen Falsani

It’s a great pity that the Sun-Times’ Cathleen Falsani, its religion editor, hasn’t had the benefit of substantive editing at her paper for we all would be a lot better off—readers of the paper and now unwary book consumers. Showing what a good editor could do for Falsani, the Wall Street Journal assigned a top flight editor from the New York Daily News to review of Falsani’s wafer-lite pop book, The God Factor [Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2006]. Dawn Eden made short work of it. First, the headline over the review carries the day: “A Different Kind of Celebrity Worship.” Well put. Falsani is more than a celebrity worshiper but a celebrity gawker. I would hope a worshiper would be able to give the interviews some tone. It’s obvious reading it (and I did so in a remarkably short time free at Barnes & Noble) that Falsani is balefully ignorant and just plain uninterested in religion but got a hoot out of meeting Dusty Baker, movie-maker David Lynch, professional lefty Studs Terkel et al. Reviewer Eden asks the right question: “Do cultural icons really have something special to teach us about faith—something we couldn’t learn from interviews with people whose names don’t sell books?” If her editor at the Sun-Times had asked the question and kept pounding Falsani to answer with some depth, a lot of trees would be standing today that were decimated into pulp for what is certainly appropriately movie mag-style pulp. If you think it’s vitally interesting to discover what Bono, hoops star Hakeem Olajuwon, Al Sharpton and Bush speech-writer Michael Gerson think about God, go to Barnes & Noble and actually buy the thing. Also I heard her described both ways: is she a former evangelical turned Catholic or former Catholic turned Evangelical? On both questions, I hope you’ll educate me

1 comment:

  1. She wrote some time ago of being "raised Catholic", but is no longer. During that article, she mentioned with some bitterness of her Catholic background.

    Her March 3 article placed her at Assumption Church (Catholic) receiving ashes "doled out" by the priests.

    Her piece also mentioned a friend's lenten sacrifice of dancing about her living room to U2's "Yahweh".

    The rest of the article, though, was about Catherine.