“How Guards Play the Retribution Game in Florida Prisons”: Fred Grimm

at the Miami Herald: Shawn “Jiggaman” Rogers must have seemed the perfect instrument for bloody retribution.Vicious, violent, angry, racist, known for his prison gang affiliations, known for his brutal attacks on other inmates, known to rape other prisoners, known for bragging about his status as a lifer with nothing to lose, Jiggaman, at 6-4 and 210 pounds, embodied all the attributes needed to fix a skinny, troublesome white punk like Ricky Martin.Martin, 24, a petty criminal near the … [Read more...]

Hi, I’m Stercorius and I’m an Addict

HI STERCORIUS.I was in Russian class, trying to describe a character from a movie I watched recently. "Он наркоман," I said--he's a drug addict."Он страдает от наркомании," my teacher corrected me. He suffers from addiction.I was reminded of being at last year's Harm Reduction Conference, where you'd sometimes hear about the need to stop saying "addict" and start saying "person struggling with drugs," or similar variations. At first I was all, Oh come on, please let me speak English a … [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...]

“To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship”: Amber and David Lapp

have basically the same conversation I just had with a woman at the pregnancy center: ...While Robert Putnam and others have documented the increasing isolation of all Americans, the alienation and distrust that we witnessed in this working-class town seemed like an advanced form of isolation. Things that we took for granted in relationships with new acquaintances—asking questions and listening to the responses, returning phone calls and text messages, extending invitations to dinner—soon ear … [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...]

An Extremely Generous Review of My Book in Commonweal

w/some well-taken criticisms: Eve Tushnet is, as she puts it, “the poster child for a poster nobody wants on their wall.” Raised “somewhere between atheism and Reform Judaism” and moved to convert to Catholicism while a questioning bisexual sophomore at Yale, Tushnet has for the past ten years been the blogosphere’s resident celibate lesbian.As readers of Commonweal and a host of other publications know, she writes with a style that is at once self-deprecating and confident, earnest and wick … [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...]


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