“Chthonic,” “Miasma”: David Bowie Answers the Proust Questionnaire

and it goes about how you'd imagine it would: Which living person do you most admire? Elvis.Who are your heroes in real life? The consumer.What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? While in New York, tolerance. Outside New York, intolerance.What is the trait you most deplore in others? Talent. more … [Read more...]

“Singing Gospel, Growing Up Gay”: I review “Choir Boy”

at Studio Theater: “Choir Boy” is about the struggles of a gay teen coming of age in a black, Christian prep school for boys; but it’s also about the complex interweaving of religion, ambition, and emotion. In Studio’s staging it’s almost entirely effective. This story could easily be melodramatic—McCraney makes several heavy-handed choices in terms of character development and dialogue—but the committed actors and stylized use of singing give it an emotional power which carries it over its occa … [Read more...]

Me on “Marta Oulie,” Sigrid Undset’s First Published Novel

at the University Bookman: Marta Oulie opens with the confession, “I have been unfaithful to my husband.” So it comes as no surprise that the novel depicts a woman’s sexual awakening: the obsessive thoughts of him, the thrill at his touch. “I suddenly felt scared and didn’t dare look at the scrap of chest visible below his throat, but then couldn’t resist glancing at it.”What might be more surprising is that this is the sensual passion of a virgin for the man who will become her husband. Lik … [Read more...]

You Do Realize, This Means Waugh: Four Small Thoughts on Gay Catholic Whatnot

If I were clickbaitier these would all have their own very short post. YOU'RE WELCOME. Anyway, various things I thought about while on the road, bookhawkin'.1. Remember my whole "we aren't trying to solve problems; we're trying to replace less-Christian problems with more-Christian problems" shtik? This is relevant to progressive churches because so often their approach to the questions posed by gay people is to say, "Okay, you can get married!" They solve the problem of gay people by … [Read more...]

From Peter de Vries, “The Blood of the Lamb”

...I was being railroaded and he knew it. All the same, he may have felt, without too much casuistry in his heart, that I had that coming to me. We often deserve our injustices; after all, we get away with murder. … [Read more...]

Queen of Hearts: I review “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea”

for Commonweal:The most beautiful portrayal of Marian devotion I’ve seen in literature came unexpectedly in New York Times columnist David Carr’s 2009 addiction memoir, The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life—His Own. Carr, finally drug-free and sober, had been been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma; the treatments left him too weak to move, and he resorted to giving his three-year-old daughter Meagan cash for the pizza guy so they could eat. “Keep the cha … [Read more...]

“Merry Widows, Weeping Brides”: I review a costume show at MoMA

for AmCon: In college I noticed something new on the coat of a sartorially-eccentric friend. “What’s with the black armband?” I asked. “Some sort of fascist thing?”“It’s for my father,” he said simply.That’s the only time I’ve seen someone wear mourning. And my friend, after one too many encounters with similarly foot-in-mouth undergraduates, stopped wearing the armband because it got too grueling to keep explaining. It no longer served as an outer key to his inner grief; it no longer si … [Read more...]


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