What Are the Right Questions About Catholic Fiction?

Eight thoughts on Dana Gioia's "The Catholic Writer Today." It's a listicle, because we live in a degenerate age.* Look, let me get this out of my system: We all know that First Things publishes basically this same essay once a year, right? Here's me teething on the last one I can remember. Gioia's is the best one I've read so far, but I have read way too many of them, and they all have the same GIANT FRUSTRATING LACUNAE. Stop publishing this article. You've published Gioia's version now and … [Read more...]

“The Giraffe Trick”: I review Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty”

at AmCon: In decadent Rome, an aging art critic rides the success of his one, long-ago novel, and wonders if there’s more to life than having the best conga line in the Eternal City. He watches young nuns playing in a hedge maze, drifts into and through relationships with damaged women, and does a lot of eloquent smoking.The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino’s update of/homage to La Dolce Vita, offers a lot of expected pleasures. Our antihero, Jep Gambarella (Toni Servillo), sometimes seems to … [Read more...]

“Stephen King and That Awful Muttering Voice”: Me in the American Spectator

It's an overview of King's work plus a review of his two most recent novels: What do you do when you’re in a Stephen King novel, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? Or rather: What do you do when you’re Stephen King, but you’re not a Stephen King character anymore? subscribers-only; I do actually think I make some good points here, so if you're interested in King you might get a hold of it. … [Read more...]

In Which Our Heroine Attends a Truly Fantastic Skating Choreography Competition

What do you mean, Sunday was the first day of Advent? It felt just like Christmas to me!That's because I got to attend the MK Young Artist Showcase 4 at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena. Choreographers from otherworldly locales such as Salt Lake City and Austria competed, plus there were exhibitions by local synchro skaters and also 2011 national champion Ryan Bradley, seen here in his "Doublet Your Pleasure, Doublet Your Fun" program and here in his winning short program.I really had no idea … [Read more...]

“Never Quite Free”: My series on portrayals of penitence concludes

with a look at the Mountain Goats, We Shall All Be Healed. This piece has a couple lines I really like: One way to mistell stories of penitence is to envision penance as a linear process of restoration. You do a bad thing, you feel bad, you make amends (often in a way which involves saying ritual words like “I’m sorry,” or doing something which offers an obvious symbolic parallel to your wrongdoing), status quo ante. There can be truly sublime portrayals of this kind of almost mathematical penit … [Read more...]

A Piano That Ate a Violin

Here's a thing! Designed but never built by Leonardo da Vinci, the viola organista is shaped like a piano but the strings are played by a bow. Weird and fascinating.Via Libresco. … [Read more...]

“God’s Away on Business” in Hebrew

I like this on its own merits, as well as for its high concept. Via TKB. … [Read more...]


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