“Obedience School”: Brian Dewan’s Utter Brilliance

a window into my id?via Simone R, back in 1993. Oh those bygone days! … [Read more...]

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I Watch “Mistress America,” The New Noah Baumbach/Greta Gerwig Flick About Women’s Friendship

for AmCon: One of the weirder trends in today’s art is the rise of a certain kind of comedy: cynical and even scathing on the surface, but in the end, staunchly moral. These comedies push forgiveness, humility, and love as self-gift; the great enemies are personal ambition, unwillingness to embrace adult responsibility, and concern for one’s own self-image. (The lesser enemy is positive self-talk, which all these comedies go out of their way to satirize.) It’s a sort of comedic burned marsh … [Read more...]

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It Always Rains on Ben Affleck: Short Movie Reviews

The Leopard: Burt Lancaster is the patriarch of an aristocratic Sicilian family whose role in society is inevitably being usurped by the rising middle class during the period of Italian unification. Directed in sun-soaked autumnal shade and color by Caravaggio--I mean, Visconti.Lancaster is so good at these autumnal roles (The Swimmer) and everything here is gorgeous to look at. My favorite social or psychological note was the complex role played by the Church/the family priest. The … [Read more...]

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Ian MacKaye (From an Interview I Haven’t Read)

What about legacy. Does that matter to you? No. I already have a legacy and I realise how perverted it is, and misleading. I’m not interested in legacy in terms of my reputation. I am however interested in leaving a trail. (here; via Mockingbird; and see also.)  … [Read more...]

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Wesley Hill: “Eve Tushnet’s Spirituality of Humiliation”

a super-neat piece that connects my new novel to some themes in my nonfiction writing: Eve Tushnet’s new self-published novel Amends (available as an e-book or a paperback) is peak Tushnet: there are more quirky one-liners than the best standup you’ve seen, more offbeat metaphors than even Michael Chabon can conjure; there are themes of friendship and sacrifice, themes of recovery and religion; there are gay characters, and there’s even a Christian one (the latter features in an extended scene n … [Read more...]

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“Jacob Lawrence’s Existential Sociology”: I’m at AmCon

reviewin': ...It’s easy to read artists—and maybe especially black artists—as mere reporters. Or, worse, sociologists. And Jacob Lawrence’s work does indeed have many reportorial or sociological characteristics: He’s racially conscious (and self-conscious about his role as a voice of his race), he’s influenced by folk art, he’s panoramic in his attempt to depict many layers of society. He has what The Wire would call “the Dickensian element.” These are all artistic choices he made that add to th … [Read more...]

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The Retro-Future Is Ours, Captain!: I Rewatch “Star Trek: The Original Series”

We got a VCR fairly early, and my sister taped all the reruns of the original and at that time only Star Trek, until we had a whole cabinet full of Kirk. I rewatched these tapes constantly. Kirk and Uhura were between the two of them my first crushes. (Also that one kid Esteban from The Mysterious Cities of Gold.) This summer my Netflix queue, which circles the earth like the Midgard Serpent, finally wound its way to the first season of ST:TOS, so I've been revisiting my old love. Does it hold … [Read more...]

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