“Order, Chaos, Peace”: I review a biography of an architect of conservatism

for The American Conservative: Back when I was involved in the late-’90s conservative student movement at Yale, I noticed something. The libertarians, whose philosophy celebrated individual choice and experimental living, were normal and in control of their lives. The traditionalists were disorderly drunks who got kicked out of things. Libertarian pastimes included knitting and swing dancing; trads held contests to see which of them could punch his own face the hardest. (Always bet on the T … [Read more...]

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“Tenderness in Moonlight”: I’m at First Things

reviewing a movie, and also contemporary American Christian masculinity: Years ago I was reading testimonies from people who had experienced abusive corporal punishment. One man reached adulthood before he was able to give the right name to something for which he was frequently beaten. His parents had called it a lot of things, but the true name of his crime was “tenderness.”Moonlight, written and directed by Barry Jenkins from a story by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, tells the story of … [Read more...]

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All Their Wars Are Merry: Short movie reviews

In the order in which I saw them.Specter of the Rose: Utterly whackadoo noirish thing by Ben Hecht, set in the world of ballet. You'd think I'd love it! But the acting is just not great, and the main characters are wafer-thin. If you're more willing than I was to succumb to the pasteboard melodrama of it all you might love this. There is one truly great line: "If we jailed all the people I dislike, the world would become a pensive vacuum."Hunger: Intense, complex Bobby Sands/Maze prison … [Read more...]

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“Cocktail Theology”: William Dailey

at First Things: That brings us to the most important spiritual aspect of cocktail culture: hospitality. Those people coming in off the streets, coming into churches and taverns, what do they seek? Home. What truly excellent pastors can help to provide for the wayfarer is a taste of the home that is promised us with our Maker, though of course we will never feel quite at home this side of the kingdom. But the work of helping people to feel a bit less estranged, a bit more comfortable in their … [Read more...]

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“12 Top New England Diners”: Boston Magazine

Americana (and defensiveness about how New England is totally the best region, how dare those brash Mid-Atlantics!, because of course. But these are gorgeous): Worcester Lunch Car Company began building its diners in 1906, producing some 650 units before it shut down in 1961. The several dozen that remain today—including the Rosebud in Somerville—are instantly recognizable thanks to their unique railcar exteriors and barrel-roofed, wood-paneled, and ceramic-tiled interiors. Many even continue to … [Read more...]

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Assisted Suffering

So, I voted.Remember how I said my ballot would be a fractal of civic helplessness? That's especially true because of the current DC political issue that isn't being put to referendum: Assisted suicide will almost certainly become law here early next year, due to support in the city council and likely from the mayor. Only two councilmembers (Yvette Alexander and Brianne Nadeau, both Democrats) voted against legalizing assisted suicide here.The arguments on our side that I've heard here … [Read more...]

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“Net Worth of White Households in DC Region is 81 Times That of Black Households”: Washington Post

basically runs a press release from the Urban Institute, but since I wanted to read that press release I won't complain: The Urban Institute report, “The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital,” said the Great Recession and housing crisis of 2007 to 2009 exacerbated long-persistent disparities, with black and Hispanic households losing about half of their wealth. In 2013 and 2014, white households in the D.C. area had a net worth of $284,000 while black households had a net worth of $3,500, the … [Read more...]

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