Masochism, Macbeth, Mayors, Marvel and More: My May Movie… Notes.

Missives? Anyway.The Duke of Burgundy: Lush flick about two butterfly researchers and their dominance/submission relationship. Some early scenes made me wonder if this would be about attention as submission--the submissive gaze, the gaze of service, as the gaze which most truly knows its object--and I'd super still want to watch that movie, but that definitely is not what this is. Then later when the twist is revealed I was like, "Ugh, I hope this isn't just going to be a movie-length … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Corrections and Overcorrections

"The Myth that Fewer People Are Going to Prison": John Pfaff, a legal scholar at Fordham University, pointed out the paradox in a series of tweets on Tuesday. While more people are being sent to prison than in 2010, the total population declined because prisoners are serving shorter terms, partly as a result of lawmakers' efforts to reduce minimum sentences. The reduced sentencing are welcome for convicts and their families, but incarceration is not affecting fewer lives. more; also, did Cal … [Read more...]

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Bad Catholics, Anxious Christians

A very small thought about this review of several "young evangelical memoirs."So first, there's a lot of good stuff in that review, even if Jake Meador is not quite as sympathetic to the authors as I think he thinks he is. (Yes, I am reviewing a review, because the Internet is bad.) I really liked the discussion of performance vs "putting on Christ"--cf the mask of obedience. Liked the line, "The problem [scandal and its discrediting of religious authority] creates is that religious … [Read more...]

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“Amends” reviewed by Rachel Manija Brown

author of All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: ...The prose and dialogue of Amends is a real pleasure, biting and clever and snappy, quotable and re-readable. At times it’s almost too polished. One of the points of Amends is how modern American society is constructed to allow us an endless amount of shallow quick fixes we can use to stave off whatever raw and terrifying emotions or reality we’re hiding from. Reach out, and there’s always something there to grab, whether it’s drugs and booze, TV an … [Read more...]

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“Famous Monsters of Filmland”: I review Tim Powers’s new novel

for AmCon: The novels of dark fantasist Tim Powers often flow out of weird, grim moments in real history: the strange encounter of a fox and an English spy; the long lit matches burning in a bloodthirsty pirate’s beard. Powers’s latest book, Medusa’s Web, got its start when Powers encountered one of these disturbing little bits of trivia: Rudolph Valentino received Last Rites twice. Why? To answer that question, Powers spins a tale of family secrets and Hollywood ghosts–and an otherworldly, addi … [Read more...]

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Architecture and Human Dignity: Love and Urban Planning

An email from Rosary Abot (this is a glorious name), in response to the person who asked me about city planning and vocations. I am skeptical of "urban planning" as a concept (who will save us from our solutions? how likely is it that people who specialize in urban planning will have the same priorities as e.g. the children of the poor?) but this thing sounds fascinating. I haven't had time to listen yet but I'm passing it on to you all in hopes that you will find time before I do: Eve - Lucien … [Read more...]

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“Christian Love and Kinship Outside Marriage: Thoughts from a Gay Catholic”

My talk at Calvin College is available at Livestream and YouTube (below):I thought this one went well. Oh man though, I'm so glad I got new glasses about a week after this was filmed. Look at how far I have to push these down the bridge of my nose to read. … [Read more...]

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