“In the Hour of Chaos”: I review Charles Johnson’s short stories

at AmCon: Somebody–I hope a commenter will remind me who it was–has suggested that the Left typically thinks in terms of an opposition between oppression and liberation, whereas the right typically thinks in terms of an opposition between civilization and barbarism. I would reframe the latter opposition as order vs. chaos; if we do that, it’s obvious that both oppositions are unrelentingly relevant, yet few thinkers or artists are able to hold both conflicts before our eyes at once.I just fi … [Read more...]

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“The Healing Power of Violence”: My somewhat misleadingly-titled piece

about the portrayal of penitence in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, an intensely powerful movie: An old Buddhist monk is raising a little boy, alone together in a floating temple in the middle of a lake. The boy has the casual cruelty of most children, and the old monk catches him tying rocks to small animals to torment them: a fish, a frog, a snake. The monk says nothing, but when the boy wakes up the next morning there’s a huge stone tied to his own back. He acknowledges his guilt … [Read more...]

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From “Children of Light”

"How nice Quaaludes are," she said. "The world is possible with art." … [Read more...]

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“So Deep a Wound”: Garrett Keizer on “Home”

not entirely my own take on things, but it will be a while before I can write up my own response to this novel with honesty and peace of mind, I think; in the meantime, this is very spoilerous, so you should read Gilead and Home and then read this! Had I an atheist friend who asked, “Can you tell me please what this religion business is all about, not as some metaphysical hypothesis or historical phenomenon, but what it really means to be religious?” I might hand him or her a copy of Marilynne R … [Read more...]

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“Jesus Dropped the Charges”

I realize this particular hard-workin' metaphor doesn't work for everybody, but it pretty much always works for me.Via Mockingbird. … [Read more...]

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I Hope You Know That This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record: “The Spectacular Now”

Man, I was so close to loving this movie. Basically it's a John Hughes movie where you replace the romantic lead with a barely-functional alcoholic, which to no one's surprise turns out to be the way to make me finally love a John Hughes movie. I really, genuinely adored a lot of this and found it funny, sweet, and poignant, with at least some degree of wisdom.Most of the audience I saw it with (at Bethesda Row Cinema; it's also at E St) did not agree, and to be honest, they were right too. … [Read more...]

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Wesley Hill on Robinson’s “Home”

here; and definitely spoilerous for the overall mood of the book's ending: Imagine that someone failed and disgraced came back to his family, and they grieved with him, and took his sadness upon themselves, and sat down together to ponder the mysteries of human life. This is… human and beautiful, I propose, even if it yields no dulling of pain, no patching of injuries. Perhaps it is the calling of some families to console, because intractable grief is visited upon them. And perhaps measures of t … [Read more...]

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