“The Gift of Belly-Button Lint”: Calah Is Great

I suspect many of you have been here: ...Simcha wrote a funny post once about how stupid this song is, particularly this version. But this is one of my favorite Christmas songs, especially this version. It reminds me of The Clown of God…you give the Christ child what you have to give, even if it’s the only thing you have to give. Shane McGowan singing this song breaks my heart, because I recognize that kind of brokenness. There is an exquisite beauty in giving the only gift you can, even if it’ … [Read more...]

It’s My Feast Day!

And I am not making a "Christmas Eve! Get it? Get it???" pun here. Today is the Feast of Sts Adam and Eve. So there's hope for us all. … [Read more...]

Richard Rodriguez on God of the Desert

Some crankiness, but lots of challenging stuff here: ...Well, I think obviously we would have a different experience of nature. And maybe a different notion of what God expects from us; this is said as a believer, I should stress. It seems to me that a God who would reveal himself to Abraham in a place of such desolation is at least reminding us that our place on this Earth is temporary, and this is a place – a landscape – that reminds us of just how empty it is. The word desert comes from the n … [Read more...]

The Catholic Writer and the Skating Boom, Or Every Day Is Self-Parody Day

"[Kathleen] Hanna wanted to become a writer. But Kathy Acker, a counterculture writer Hanna admired, told her that no one listens to spoken word, and instead she should be in a band."--as recounted in The Punk SingerAlan Jacobs weighs in vs. me vs. Dana Gioia, on the past, future, and subjunctive tense of "the Catholic writer." A few scattered thoughts follow.* Jacobs' second point is really important: "Why should we not simply think of the generation of Percy, O’Connor, Lowell et a … [Read more...]

Wesley Hill’s 2013 best-of books list

For your delectation: I taught a course on Christology last spring, and in preparation I read a lot about St. Cyril of Alexandria. Three books are especially memorable from that time: Cyril’s treatise On the Unity of Christ, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought by John Meyendorff, and St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy by John McGuckin.I also read a few books this year from and about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, as I continue to try to figure out wher … [Read more...]

What Are the Right Questions About Catholic Fiction?

Eight thoughts on Dana Gioia's "The Catholic Writer Today." It's a listicle, because we live in a degenerate age.* Look, let me get this out of my system: We all know that First Things publishes basically this same essay once a year, right? Here's me teething on the last one I can remember. Gioia's is the best one I've read so far, but I have read way too many of them, and they all have the same GIANT FRUSTRATING LACUNAE. Stop publishing this article. You've published Gioia's version now and … [Read more...]

“The Giraffe Trick”: I review Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty”

at AmCon: In decadent Rome, an aging art critic rides the success of his one, long-ago novel, and wonders if there’s more to life than having the best conga line in the Eternal City. He watches young nuns playing in a hedge maze, drifts into and through relationships with damaged women, and does a lot of eloquent smoking.The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino’s update of/homage to La Dolce Vita, offers a lot of expected pleasures. Our antihero, Jep Gambarella (Toni Servillo), sometimes seems to … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X