“The Reactionary Mind”: Ross Douthat Gives Me an Excuse

to push you toward the late virago Florence King (I'd start here) and also to suggest Charles Johnson as someone whose weird little parables expressed a lot of reactionary insights from a black American perspective. Also, follow Don Colacho on Twitter....Our intelligentsia obviously does have a conservative wing, mostly clustered in think tanks rather than on campuses. But little of this conservatism really deserves the name reaction. What liberals attack as “reactionary” on the American rig … [Read more...]

“Some Possibilities for Narratives of Friendship”: I’m at Spiritual Friendship

readin' books: I loved Wes’s post on writing about friendship, and figured I’d throw some specific examples out there to see what actual novels and movies suggest about the nature of friendship. These are very much first-draft thoughts, as I hope you guys will riff on them.“The Body” & Stand By Me–friendship as childhood. This heartbreaking Stephen King novella, which was turned into probably the best adaptation of his work for the screen, tells the story of a group of boys who go on a j … [Read more...]

Prison Visits Under Threat, “Hamilton” Behind Bars, Art & the NYPD: Three Links from a Criminal Justice System

"Prison visits helped prepare me for life after release. Why are they under threat?": Leaving prison was one of the hardest times in my life. Re-entry is like falling out of a plane: it’s hard to land on your feet. Before I even left, six-plus years at York Correctional Institution developed in me an inability to function in a non-carceral environment. But I owe it to prison visiting rooms – which allowed some contact with the outside world – that my re-entry wasn’t as bad as it could have been. … [Read more...]

The Rise and Saul of Practically Everything: Some movie and tv notes

Well, I've started Better Call Saul. I'm only through five episodes. I watched I think the first three seasons of Breaking Bad, hating Walter and sort of myself the whole time. Saul is more my speed. The main character is that one character type that will always, always get its claws right into my heart: the dutiful sleazebag. Make somebody both really sleazy and really willing to serve another human being, and I am there for you. (I had some sort of formative experience with Grantaire as a … [Read more...]

Double Review: My Reality-TV Rehab Novel, Gil Fagiani’s Rehab Survivor Poetry

reviewed by Jendi Reiter: ...Logos is a collection of persona poems set at a heroin treatment center of that name, in the South Bronx in the 1960s. It comes out of Fagiani’s own experience, first as an inpatient there, and later as a social worker at a Bronx psychiatric hospital and the director of a rehab center in Brooklyn. The desperation of addiction has a way of levelling distinctions between races, classes, and professional backgrounds. The first-person narrator of some of these poems, p … [Read more...]

“Poor Citizenship”: I watch “Behavior,” a 2014 drama of Cuban childhood and faith

review at AmCon: Behavior, the 2014 movie from Cuban writer and director Ernesto Daranas that is still playing festival circuits in the U.S., is not one-of-a-kind. It is not unprecedented; it does not break (much) new ground. What it is, is an exceptionally heartfelt, moving, and artistically accomplished example of its genre. As Brooklyn is what an Irish-American romance should aspire to be, so Behavior is the “coming of age in the underclass” story at its most luminous. more … [Read more...]

“Art Matters, Even When You’re Poor”: Alison Stine

in The Nation--this is short and powerful all the way through: ...Not long ago, in the midst of making what I thought was a couch fort, he made his own art gallery. He turned the biggest cushion on its side and taped up his creations to the fabric. He’s also done an “installation” in which he taped greeting cards, string, an odd piece of paper from a grocery bag he cut out himself, and small toys to the wall. He did this after seeing me arrange my own postcards on the wall of our rented place, t … [Read more...]