“Last Year’s Horror Cornucopia: Suffering in Style”: I’m at First Things

every Halloween is self-parody Halloween: Last night I watched The Final Girls, Todd Strauss-Schulson's 2015 slasher parody about mourning. It's charming, touching, and mostly successful—and a great example of the reasons 2015 specifically and the '10s generally have been such great years for horror fans. 2015 was just a cornucopia of bloody fruit: the lush Gothic fantasy of Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, David Cronenberg's nihilistic satire/poignant ghost story Maps to the Stars, and J … [Read more...]

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“Carol” and the New Morality

I saw Carol, the Todd Haynes/Patricia Highsmith '5os lesbian drama, at the tail end of last year. I haven't written about it until now because it was so jagged--parts really worked, although I wasn't sure I wanted them to, and the remainder was so off-putting that I just didn't feel like talking about it. But writing that review of Rat Bohemia helped me figure out why the film didn't work for me: It's really two movies, set in two entirely different moral universes.In the first universe … [Read more...]

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“Exterminatrix”: I review Sarah Schulman’s “Rat Bohemia”

for AmCon: I spent last weekend at the Gay Christian Network Conference in Houston, and I needed something to read on the plane. Something short, punchy, an in-flight entertainment that could keep my attention after an event that is equal parts spiritually uplifting and emotionally harrowing. I threw Sarah Schulman’s Rat Bohemia into my bag and grinned as I set my alarm for 1995. More fool me.Rat Bohemia is in some ways the scathing nostalgia trip I was hoping for. It’s sometimes a satire of … [Read more...]

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Contrarian to the Stars: I Defend the “Star Trek” Episodes You Hate

I have finally finished my epic rewatch of "Star Trek: The Original Series." (Previous posts here, here.) The final stretch was defined by my discovery that lots of supposedly terrible episodes are either genuinely good, or better than I'd remembered.There is one exception. That exception is, of course, Spock's Brain.Let's do this thing. Bread and Circuses, infamous for supposedly pushing Christianity with Uhura's final line, "Not the sun in the sky, Mr. Spock--the Son of God!", is … [Read more...]

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“‘Hamilton’ and the Romance of Government”: My take

for AmCon: I’ve finally heard “Hamilton,” the Broadway hip-hop musical about the first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and I can say: It’s a brilliant, empathetic example of a genre I don’t believe in. more … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Modern Dance, The Rise and Fall of Restorative Justice in a NY Town, And the Top Stories of 2016

I'm super breaking my supposed rule that I won't link to the Marshall Project here because you should be following them on Twitter. You should be following them on Twitter! And you can donate to their work here. Anyway, check out their "Next Year in Criminal Justice":The challenge at the end of any year on any beat is to make sense of the great majority of stories that fall somewhere in the middle. What’s going to “trend” in 2016 in criminal justice, and what’s not, and how can anyone possibl … [Read more...]

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“The Far-Out Sci-Fi Costume Parties of the Bauhaus School in the 1920s”: Ring in the New Year Right

with some retro-futurism: As we get ready to tell yet another year to kiss our collective asses on its way out the door, that also means it’s almost time for that annual liver-killing bacchanal known as New Year’s Eve. But no matter what you have planned this year, I’m fairly certain that your party will not even come close to the costume parties thrown by students and teachers of Germany’s Bauhaus school back in the 1920s. more; via WKO … [Read more...]

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