A Couple Best-Of Lists from Wesley Hill and Helen Andrews

Hill: ...I write often about the consolations of friendship, hospitality, and Christian community, but sometimes I wonder if I’m too sanguine, writing as if these were easily attainable and capable of straightforward engineering. These three books, in very different ways, puncture my naivety. more!Andrews: ...Any culture that bestows fame on fiery young radicals will see some of them punished with remorse in old age, but there are surprisingly few role models for writers who find t … [Read more...]

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Tenderness, Penitence and Estrangement: I Review the El Greco Show at the National Gallery of Art

for the Weekly Standard:The nickname “El Greco” reveals two things about Doménikos Theotokópoulos, the weird and sublime painter of the Counter-Reformation: He was Greek, and he was a stranger. When everybody around you is Greek, nobody is “the Greek.” El Greco’s vision reflected the second part of his identity even more than the first.more … [Read more...]

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“How Should Secular People Approach Sacred Art?”: The Best Essay of Its Kind

I've read a ton of these and Pelagia Horgan's appreciation of Fra Angelico is the best by far. Give it time to build: The loveliest image I know is Fra Angelico’s ‘Entry of the Blessed into Paradise’, a scene from his painting The Last Judgment of 1431. In it, the blessed, just risen from their graves, gather together in a flowering garden to join hands with angels and dance into the light of heaven. There’s a scene in D H Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow (1915) when Anna Brangwen sees a copy of the … [Read more...]

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“The Mother and the Monster”: I review “The Babadook”

for AmCon. Should've decided in advance how spoilerous I wanted to be; if you haven't seen it yet, I'd definitely recommend either skipping this review or stopping after the first couple paragraphs. One of the year’s most widely-praised horror movies, Australia’s “The Babadook,” methodically chews through a list of terrifying questions: What happens when you can’t protect your child from tragedy and grief? When you can’t protect him from the people around him? From himself? From yourself? … [Read more...]

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“How to Be Intoxicated”

This article is annoyingly coy (it's all "there's danger in intoxication! there are no guarantees!" but it's scared to say what that actually looks like) but the basic idea is right on and important. And if you want specifics there's always The Secret History so I guess somebody's already written the stuff he leaves out: ...When colleges pick the one book that every new student should read (as they increasingly do through required summer reading programs), they tend to choose something of the … [Read more...]

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Small Screens: Several Very Short Movie Reviews

What I've been watching.Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Actually pretty fun, once you get past the narcissism and abuse of women.EDIT: I should say that the latter two elements aren't things I wish they'd left out of the movie. They add texture to what could have been a plasticky, "drugs R fun!", self-consciously edgy cliche. F&LILV manages to be neither a cautionary tale nor an ad for addiction.Whiplash: Miles Teller is a super actor. This is not the movie to see him in. It's a … [Read more...]

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The Horror of Wallpaper/Wallpaper in Horror

I'll always be grateful to my parents for leaving up our bizarre dining-room wallpaper with the huge nodding flowers. Sort of mutant-like. The late '70s and early '80s were a special time for wallpaper... as Kindertrauma proves. I love the idea of this post and love the execution even more. … [Read more...]

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