Hammered Horror: “A Horrible Way to Die”

Indie horror flick A Horrible Way to Die is a great example of how a moviemaker can misunderstand what's so special about his idea. The basic story of the film is straightforward: A woman tries to settle in to her new life in a new town, but her serial-killer ex (whom her evidence put away) has escaped from prison and is on the road heading back to her. There are some twists and turns, because Not Everyone Is What They Seem, and then there's a final confrontation between killer and girl.But … [Read more...]

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“‘Middlemarch’ and What We Mean When We Say Shame Works”: me at AmCon

sorry for length!: The idea that “shame works”—that stigmatizing behaviors and shaming the people who do them are necessary and honorable tools of public policy—is a recurring theme in both conservative and more communitarian/paternalistic liberal rhetoric. It’s often based on personal experience, or home truths from one’s mom, and because people do sometimes say that shame worked for them I had a hard time articulating why I rejected this rhetoric so completely.But I recently finished readi … [Read more...]

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“A New York Needle Exchange Program in Action”: Sarah Beller

at The Fix: Around 6 pm on a spring evening, I walk with Hector Mata through an area of northern Manhattan known as “the Zig-Zag," sculpted by the off-ramps of the George Washington Bridge. We pass a playground, go down through a woodsy area, slip through a hole in a fence, and step into a clearing next to a highway. We see cushions, blankets, a makeshift tent and a near-human-sized doll. A real woman is sitting against a stone wall."That's Chris," says Mata. As she hears us approaching, s … [Read more...]

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Speaking of Endurance

His-and-hers perspectives on chronic relapse. Strong stuff. She: I met my husband, Jimmy, at my very first AA meeting. I stumbled into the 14th Street Workshop, bloated and reeking of booze from the night before, in my pajamas. I hadn't showered in days, and I was wary of the people in the room. I didn't trust anyone.Jimmy recognized that I was new (it wasn't hard to spot), and he put out his hand to shake mine, welcoming me and giving me a meeting list. I don't remember much about that … [Read more...]

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So Many Steps to Death: Revisiting “Brideshead Revisited”

Hey, so I read Brideshead Revisited again. I was in college the first time. Probably read the entire book drunk. Can't think of a better introduction to it! Anyway, here are some scattered thoughts on re-reading it, all of which are ridiculously spoilerous. Seriously, if you haven't read it, SKIP THIS POST and just go read it. It's short! It's phenomenal. I loved it even more the second time. You'll like it more if you don't know what's coming.* The contrast between the "heavy," plodding … [Read more...]

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“Mothers Who Lost Children to Overdose Find Hope”: Tessie Castillo

at The Fix: BJ Sanders of Lumberton, North Carolina, also felt the sting of judgment after her 19-year-old daughter, Shelly, overdosed in her college dorm room in 2005. BJ recalls visiting a grief group for parents and hearing, “Well, my child didn’t deserve to die—she didn’t do drugs.” The experience was so humiliating for BJ that for a long time she would not openly speak of her daughter’s death. more … [Read more...]

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Ask Your Doctor If Solidarity Is Right for You… or AA, CBT, LOL

I have a lot of small thoughts about this piece at The Fix about the similarities and differences between cognitive behavioral therapy and the 12 Steps. I don't know that these small thoughts come together into one big Voltron thought, so I will just put them out there in a list. As always, my opinions are worth exactly what you paid for them.First, although this post will focus on what's left out of the article, I want to make clear that I'm basically pro-CBT and I know several people who … [Read more...]

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