Celebrating C. S. Lewis: ‘The Screwtape Letters’

Editor’s Note: November 22, 2013, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of C. S. Lewis’s death. On that day, he will be given a place in Westminster Abbey’s renowned Poet’s Corner. In commemoration of this event, all this week Christ and Pop Culture contributors will be writing about the works by C. S. Lewis that have been most personally significant to them.I sat in a coffee shop with my friend Crystal, in the midst of our bustling university town, and our conversation inevitably turned to fait … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Joy Is Sufficient

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I’ve read a couple of articles lately about the benefits of two of my favorite pastimes—daydreaming and reading. In “Teach Kids to Daydream,” Jessica Lahey exhorts “Teach your kids how to just be. How to value silence and be at peace with nothing but their thoughts to occupy them. Make the romantic notion of laying back on the soft grass with nothing to do other than … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Jim Henson’s Compromise

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I’ve long appreciated the Muppets—those on Sesame Street as well as in the films and on the quintessential The Muppet Show—for their appeal to both children and adults. The quality of children’s entertainment programs often reveals the creators’ understanding of children; some shows are “dumbed down” with the unspoken belief that children are stupid simply by virtue o … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: “To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl”

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Last week, Stephen Colbert interviewed U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and emphasized that his is the only show that reads poetry on air. It’s probably unsurprising that as a collegiate English instructor, I am an advocate of poetry for the ways that it re-envisions language. I also love beauty for the sake of beauty, and find the rhythms and structures and pl … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Parental Ambition and ‘The White Queen’

My current reading obsession is Philippa Gregory; I watched the first episode of the STARZ show The White Queen as a free online premiere, but since I don’t actually subscribe to the channel, I can’t keep current with the series. No matter. Until the show becomes available on DVD, I am content to plow through the entire Philippa Gregory corpus, beginning with the “Cousins’ War” quintet. Beginning with The White Queen, the series chronicles the lives of women navigating the ever-changing political … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: So You Think You Can Dance, Where Iron Sharpens Iron

The season finale of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance airs tonight, and I’m as excited for this, the tenth installment of the show, as I was for the first. In a pool of reality television where cutthroat competition reigns supreme (even on shows where no real skill is involved), SYTYCD offers viewers something different—artistic excellence where the best dancers elevate their competitors instead of degrading them. Iron sharpens iron.Throughout the season, the audience does not get glimpses of … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Love It or List It

Right now it feels like my husband and I are playing our own version of HGTV’s show Love It or List It. Our house is on the market because we’d like to move closer to the town where we both work—actually, the office where we both work, since we share our space there too. But we’re not sure the cost will be feasible without sacrificing too many of the great things about our current neighborhood. We wonder if some modifications (namely, adding a quiet writing space for both of us) might make all th … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Will You Still Love Me?

I’m not really a music person in that I have little formal knowledge or training. My vocal range is limited and works best in a belting, show tunes style; my little daughter claps when I sing, and my older daughter asks me to stop. I rarely run with music or listen to it in the car, but I have lately started trying to be more intentional about incorporating music into my life. I listened to the entire Gatsby soundtrack while painting my kitchen, the intense and painful tunes contrasting with the … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: To a Wedding, and Beyond

My elder daughter has been waiting all summer for her uncle’s wedding; as the eventful day crept closer and closer, she started to generate more (and more difficult) questions for me. At first, she was concerned about her wardrobe: could she wear all white, like Cinderella? No. She convinced her uncle to let her wear a veil, actually, the one I wore at my own wedding. It felt so strange to pin a veil into my almost-four-year-old’s hair and then actually attend a wedding; it was one of those rare … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: The Borgias’ Twisted Version of Brotherly Love

Ever since I finished The Tudors long ago, I’ve been trying to catch up on The Borgias. I just watched all of Season 2 in a single week (my library’s limit for in-demand DVDs), and the show’s gruesome finale left me mulling over this twisted, power-hungry clan.I realize how loose historical interpretations can get, especially on Showtime. But the interpretation of the Borgia siblings’ relationships transcends distinctions of fact and fiction, drawing on historical speculation and biblical all … [Read more...]