Why Name-calling is Exactly What It Sounds Like


If I could offer a single corrective to our culture, a solitary word to collar-yank us safe from the semi-truck of The Intolerably Boring that daily bears on me and my generation, it would be -- "describe." (Maybe with a "dammit" thrown in for good measure. (Describe, dammit. (There we go.))) Description gives us insight, allowing us to see in, to move through the exterior life to an encounter with a person's’ interior life. Great works of literature achieve this.He was a man over fifty, b … [Read more...]

Too Much Information

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Honesty can be dishonest. The over-emotional, tell-all status-update we awkwardly scroll past is a brilliant revelation of this paradox. You know the one. Sandwiched between a crappy meme and a glowing duck-face, listing the miseries of life and the falseness of friends with vague but poignant references to a significant other who has slighted/ignored/left or otherwise hurt the author of the update -- it's a staple of any news feed worthy of its nauseating nature. All of its information may be … [Read more...]

Dirty Secrets of the Gay Male Subculture: A Brief Bolster


I've read something brilliant, and I want to tell you about it.It was a long read (the phenomenon of which turned out to be a pleasant exertion. (Pleasant, that is, amidst our thriving inability to process any piece of prose not malformed into a list of 10 and crowned with a desperate, panting headline. (Internet Writing, dear friends, subsists on viewage, on the "like" and the "share." That's how bloggers make money. We need to promise an unbelievable, all-previous-experience-defying ending … [Read more...]

Coming (Hopefully) Soon…


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The Harmonium Project


The goal is simple. My friends and I are trying to integrate the impoverished downtown of Steubenville, OH with the student body of Franciscan University, for the mutual benefit of both parties. Our first step is to establish a thriving music scene -- giving students a reason to come downtown, to encounter their neighbors and build personal relationships, to patronize local businesses, and to give local business leaders a reason to invest in the downtown area, to open up shop, to bring life, … [Read more...]

Millennial Misery


These are odd days. In 5 minutes I may come to know your appearance, birthdate, hometown, interests, likes and dislikes, favorite movies, recent thoughts, friends, family, acquaintances, occupations, and relationship status -- all without ever encountering you.These are delightful days wherein an Internet connection enables me and millions to observe a stranger's genitalia, days I may know the intimate details of another person to the point of their nakedness -- and never know them. I have … [Read more...]

Drawing Stuff on the Pope’s Face


What is really remarkable about Pope Francis is his unremarkable, by-the-books Catholicism -- for his is an odd religion with remarkable books to live by. The world rightly raves about the rumors that their Pope is sneaking out of the Vatican to feed the poor, but to the Catholic with the balls to read what his Church demands, these are acts of radical obedience, not radical discontinuity. The Church sayeth: God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from … [Read more...]

Gratitude as Felt Poverty


Gratitude responds to gift.Consider our experience of the thing in its most obvious, most burning and urgent form, when we are acutely aware that we have nothing to offer the gift-giver but our thanks. How hard we feel this in the face of love, full of the wonderful, painful knowledge that there is nothing we could do or say to christen us its worthy candidates, no words or gestures to serve as love's equalizing response -- and yet we are loved. So we collapse with a profusion of … [Read more...]

What We’re Doing In Steubenville


Over the summer, my friend Joseph Antonielloand Ion a porch in Steubenville, Ohio discussed -- as only sleep-deprived undergraduate philosophy students can discuss -- the radical nature of action, the terrible possibility of doing something, the near-infinite apathy of our age and our selves, and the Herculean effort it takes to shrug the malaise of just-letting-things-happen in order to act. We were both reading the texts of Karol Wojtyla......who argues it is precisely in … [Read more...]

Presence as Absence


The absence of people we love isn't absence at all. For absence is just that -- nothingness, a lack, the not-being-there of a particular person. If this is what we felt in the gone-awayness of our loved ones, than the phenomenon of missing them would not exist. Would we experience their absence as just that -- absence, nothing at all, experienced as I currently experience the absence of Costa Rica, as simply not there for me.The absence of the loved one isn't absence at all, but the … [Read more...]