“Marilynne Robinson Returns to Gilead”: I review “Lila”

at AmCon--I think this piece turned out well: Ten years ago Marilynne Robinson began telling us the story of Gilead, Iowa, a tiny town surrounded by fields and farms. A droplet of water in which the whole world is reflected.She began with Gilead, a novel in the form of a long letter written from the dying John Ames to his young son. Ames situates the town in its historical context, showing how this apparently all-white enclave nonetheless falls under the shadow of racism, from the Civil War … [Read more...]

The Hidden History of “Gremlins”: An Interview with Joe Dante

at Film Comment: ...On Gremlins, it did become a problem, though, when Steven [Spielberg] had to sign off on everything. We had to get him to make up his mind. For example, we had a lot of different designs for Gizmo, and Steven always found fault with whatever they were. We were getting to the point where we really had to lock this down, or we weren’t going to make our dates. So we came up with the idea of giving Gizmo the color of Steven’s cocker spaniel, so that he would be happier with the d … [Read more...]

“Does Decriminalization Work?”: Really Solid Interview at Slate

asking the right questions: After three decades of watching the incarceration rate climb to unprecedented heights, Americans seem ready to usher in a new era of leniency. Some legislators are pushing to eliminate mandatory sentencing minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. Others are calling for the federal prison population to be slashed by letting some prisoners out early. Others still are advocating for incarcerated juveniles to be treated less harshly. Meanwhile, states all over the country … [Read more...]

Marriage as Work vs Marriage as the Cross

From the department of Those Who Can't Do and/or Fools Rush In, so as always, this post is worth at most what you paid for it:Conservatives often argue that Americans have a Disneyfied, "soulmate" view of marriage, which makes us unprepared for the fact that marriage--like all vocations--can be terribly hard. I don't think that's quite right. We do have a cultural vocabulary for talking about the "hard parts" of marriage. The problem is that we have only one vocabulary, only one metaphor; … [Read more...]

“Detroit’s ‘Walking Man’ Walks On”: Vice

reports: ...That's how it's been for a decade for James Robertson, Detroit's Walking Man. Twenty miles a day. One-hundred miles a week. More than 5,000 miles a year. In total, the equivalent of two trips around Earth. In that time, Robertson has never missed a day of work."I just believe a man should work," he told me. "Work takes care of your soul. The rest takes care of itself."This outlook may have made Robertson rich in spirit, but it has not made him rich in fact. He can't afford a … [Read more...]

Success Perm: “Fresh Off the Boat”

This is just a quick Saturdayish post to say that ABC's new sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" is surprisingly enjoyable. It's based on a memoir, which probably explains the specificity of the setting: The central character is Eddie Huang, a rap-loving plump kid whose parents move from DC's Chinatown to suburban Florida in 1995 in order to open their own restaurant, the perpetually-struggling Cattleman's Ranch. The humor mixes culture-clash jokes and nice specific details (one episode gets a lot of … [Read more...]

“Governance Feminism” and Sexual Assault on Campuses

this bit leapt out at me but whole thing is worth reading--if I had to give it an extremely reductive summary it might be, "Sex isn't rational, and power is a temptation, not a tool"--see also btw the section on race: Increasingly, schools are being required to institutionalize prevention, to control the risk of harm, and to take regulatory action to protect the environment. Academic administrators are welcoming these incentives, which harmonize with their risk-averse, compliance-driven, and … [Read more...]


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