Francis’s Conservatism (Uh, Sort Of)

I finally had the chance to read that really fascinating interview with the Pope. And the first thing that really struck me was a passage I'd been expecting to basically skim: Francis's description of what it means to be a Jesuit. I ended up thinking that, at least from one perspective, this and the discussions of art were the most important elements of the interview.I mean, first of all I do love that he cops to loving the Jesuits' discipline despite/because "I am a really, really … [Read more...]

“How to Recognize the Artists of Paintings”

Some of them don't really work (including the first one, unfortunately) but the good ones are really good, and I dare you not to laugh out loud at the last one. Via the Rattus. … [Read more...]

“A Personal History of African Cinema”

This is really great at putting African movies in contexts people who know nothing about African cinema will understand: It's very "If you like X, you should try Y." I added some stuff to the long, long list. Via VJM. … [Read more...]

Christianity in Three Books?

Rod Dreher asks which three books we'd use to introduce Christianity--in at least a few of its many catastrophic forms--to an open-minded reader seeking religious literacy, not conversion. You should check out his post for a better sense of what he's talking about. I pictured the ideal reader as a well-meaning American secular journalist, from a background much like my own only a lot less Jewish, who wants to know how to write fairly about Christians in the news.EDITED: Having read a bit … [Read more...]

Glorious Jewelled Skeletons

SO AWESOME. For the two people who read me yet haven't already seen these. Even back when I was reflexively anti-Catholic I was fascinated by reliquaries and similar examples of Catholic tenderness toward and adornment of the bodies of the dead. ...This Daily Mail piece also gets points for describing one of the awesome skeletons as "louche." … [Read more...]

“Short Term 12,” A Long-Term Memory

The new indie drama Short Term 12 looks like one of those well-meaning, poignant, emotionally powerful films I would never, ever want to see. It's about a very young white lady named Grace (Brie Larson) who works with kids and teens in foster care; she begins to heal her own inner wounds because of the unexpected connection she forges with a sullen, angry white girl in her care. Despite several unrealistic elements, the movie creates incredibly compelling characters and beautiful, potentially … [Read more...]

The Dishonorable Poor: “Harakiri”

It's 1630. A desperate, aging ronin arrives at the gates of a big estate and asks permission to commit harakiri in the courtyard. The estate's counselor lets him in and tells him a story: the story of the last samurai who came there, not too long ago, with the same request.This is the arresting opening to Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 Harakiri, a tense, tragic movie which includes the requisite crazy samurai fight scenes and discourses on the nature of bushido, but goes far beyond those elements … [Read more...]


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