for America magazine: If I had to sell you “Sorry to Bother You,” the corporate satire/horror film from writer and director Boots Riley, I would say it’s like if “Brazil” starred the lead in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Or should I say it’s like “Get Out” with a touch of “BoJack Horseman”? Like “The Stuff,” but with slavery instead of killer yogurt? If all these mashups give the impression of a disjointed, howling, passionate and sharply observed adventure that skids… Read more

…Sorry for the title. Anyway, since I am backward in all things, I waited until the end of June to watch some films about lgbt lives. In order of when I watched them. Transamerica: This movie made me think a bit about the difference between stereotypical characters and iconic ones. I think Julia Serrano may even name this movie specifically in Whipping Girl when she’s talking about the tropes filmmakers use to distance their audience from trans characters: The very… Read more

Back in high school I’m not sure I read any author as obsessively as I read Angela Carter. I gobbled everything I could get my hands on. I loved her ferocity, her voracity, that hedonistic prose, reading her is like eating cake with too much frosting, it smears all over your face. (She overworked comma splices the way I abuse semicolons. The comma splice is the grammatical form of rush and ecstasy, headlong and greedy, each phrase spilling out of its… Read more

for AmCon: When Leslie Jamison realized she had to quit drinking, she was also giving up on everything she’d ever been taught about literature. By the time Jamison took her last drink (so far), she had been taught by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and by most of her mentors and professors, a credo totally opposite from what she was learning in her 12-Step recovery. Lit culture prized originality, but AA scorned “terminal uniqueness,” the false belief that you alone cannot… Read more

(Title via Dorothy Allison.) Carriers: How long can you sustain pre-apocalyptic morals in a post-apocalyptic world? Carriers is a surprisingly heartfelt and effective plague tale. Its turning point isn’t all that well-thought-through (a kid will poop where you want them to if you wait long enough, I’m just saying), but the characters’ relationships work, the backstory comes out with surprising suspense and naturalness, and the sun-soaked setting makes the despair and violence more real. A horror film that’s also about… Read more

which I review for the American Interest: Many of our most formative experiences—the extremes of pain or joy, moments of terror or sexual ecstasy—can’t be represented within the conventions of so-called realism. In his new film Jeanette, The Childhood of Joan of Arc, writer-director Bruno Dumont (Outside Satan, Hadewijch) attempts to bring his audience inside two of these most personal and disorienting forms of experience: childhood, in which we have not yet learned what to expect from ordinary life; and religious vision,… Read more

In March, James Schwab quit ICE because he didn’t want to repeat his superiors’ distortions of the truth. “I told them that the information was wrong,” he said. “They asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that.” In April, Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts quit his post at the Montana Department of Labor rather than help deport undocumented workers. And a couple weeks ago, Antar Davidson quit ICE when he was told he could not allow sobbing children to hug one… Read more

(and beat up a bit on The Babadook) There are deaths that liberate a family. In an interview with radio host Marc Maron, John Darnielle of the indie band The Mountain Goats says that he was only able to write the autobiographical album “The Sunset Tree” after his abusive stepfather had died. And since he sang about his experiences of abuse, other survivors would come up to him at shows and talk to him about it. Darnielle told Maron that… Read more

Part One was all about how straight people are wonderful and we would like to be your friends! Part Two is… not about that. Sometimes when I talk about my own experiences of same-sex friendship, I’ll talk about the times when sexual desire transformed, over time, into deep friendship. Most of my friendships with women did not start with crushes (in the words of a t-shirt I spotted at Pride, “I’M BISEXUAL BUT I’M STILL NOT INTO YOU”). But a… Read more

I’m speaking at Revoice, a conference in St Louis next month aimed at “supporting, encouraging and empowering LGBT+ Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.” This seems like a good chance to yap a bit about what I see as my main projects w/r/t gay and same-sex attracted people in the churches. The conference has proved controversial and I’ll gesture at oblique replies to some of that controversy, but I don’t want… Read more

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