The Viscerally Satisfying “Get Out”: My review

for America magazine: Rarely have I seen a movie audience as viscerally satisfied as the audience with whom I saw “Get Out,” the new horror-comedy written and directed by Jordan Peele of the comedy duo Key and Peele. I saw “Get Out” in a downtown D.C. theater on a Saturday night, amongst a big and mostly black crowd, drawn in by the promise of a horror movie where the villain is racism.You could describe several previous horror films that way. Think “White Zombie” or, to a lesser extent, “Ni … [Read more...]

“Grandfather Had Fangs”: I review an Estonian satirical novel

at AmCon: Kivirähk is well-known in his native Estonia. Snakish is his crossover novel, winning the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, lending its name to a board game, and, in 2015, becoming the first of his books to be translated into English. It’s a wild ride, full of twists and violent incident. The mordant fairytale tone will please fans of Angela Carter. Snakish is a novel about decline and fall, the passing of a way of life—or rather, it’s a novel about several conflicting narratives of decline. … [Read more...]

“Their Wives and Their Wealth Have Made Them So Mute”: Reading Waugh’s biographies of Campion & Knox

Recently finished Two Lives, which encloses in one volume Evelyn Waugh's biographies of St Edmund Campion, a martyr of the English Reformation, and Ronald Knox, a semirandom priest. You should absolutely read the Campion biography. It's passionate and the prose hangs in garlands, with thorns tipped in blood. It isn't swoony or silly (like the sentence I just wrote), it isn't sentimental or polemical although this is Waugh so he does stick a shiv in occasionally; in general it's crisp and acrid, … [Read more...]

“To Fast Again”: Eamon Duffy

says a lot of important things: The ritual observance of dietary rules—fasting and abstinence from meat in Lent, and abstinence from meat and meat products every Friday, as well as the eucharistic fast from midnight before the reception of Communion—were as much defining marks of Catholicism before the council as abstention from pork is a defining characteristic of Judaism. The Friday abstinence in particular was a focus of Catholic identity which transcended class and educational barriers, uni … [Read more...]

Two Short Gay Catholic Whatnot Notes: An Apology (Mine) And Possible Specifics (Yours)

LOL what a terrible title.Okay, so I did a couple speaking engagements last week, including one at the Catholic University of America (go whatever their mascot is! Doves?). At CUA I got a couple questions which I didn't think I answered well, and which are general enough that I think it makes sense to say something about them on the blog.One guy connected my general support for Pope Francis's call for the Church to apologize to gay people with something I said in this Atlantic piece: "I … [Read more...]

Catholic Churches in the Philippines Sheltering Targets of Duterte’s “Reign of Terror”: The Guardian

reports, with good historical background: The Catholic church in the Philippines is operating a network that hides addicts and others targeted in president Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war, priests have told the Guardian.More than 7,000 people have been killed by Philippine law enforcement officers and vigilantes in Duterte’s crusade against alleged addicts and dealers, often in hit-and-run style attacks by gunmen on motorcycles.Victims are occasionally tipped off in advance that they a … [Read more...]

“Corruptible Crown”: I review “King Charles III”

at First Things:The most reactionary thing about King Charles III, the modern Shakespeare pastiche playing through March 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, is that nobody kneels to the king. Charles, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by David Muse, takes place in the near future, between the obsequies for Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of her successor. Bartlett imagines a Prince of Wales who has been unwittingly training himself for dictatorial self-assertion. His … [Read more...]