“The Right to Look Your Judge in the Eye”: I’m at AmCon

w/the theology of the body of the defendant: Last month a Michigan appeals court considered the case of a man convicted of methamphetamine possession. Although the man received an unusually harsh sentence (30 to 120 months in prison, based in part on his prior record), the decision of the three appellate judges addresses not only the length of the sentence but also, and at greater length, the way it was delivered: via videoconferencing. The defendant was in the county jail when he was … [Read more...]

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The Cathedral-Builders: Movie notes

In chronological order of when I saw them. The cathedrals are toward the end.Vic and Flo Saw a Bear: Formally-daring suspense flick about a lesbian returning home from prison; and yet somehow this didn't grab me. Victor Morton loved it and argues that it is, in a subtle way, about patriarchy. I can see that, and the subtlety of that is really powerful: The "main villain" is not a man, but men lurk on the edges of the narrative, wielding power. To me the film often lacked tension and I didn't … [Read more...]

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Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

Let's start with an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette showing how easy it is to camouflage increased punishment and surveillance as "support services": "More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail":This week the New York Times revealed the content of an internal NYPD report showing that a much lauded juvenile crime program doesn’t work. It’s yet another example of misguided punitive policing, offering little by way of actual progress. Originally developed under the title “Juvenile Robbery Inte … [Read more...]

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Contrarian to the Stars: I Defend the “Star Trek” Episodes You Hate

I have finally finished my epic rewatch of "Star Trek: The Original Series." (Previous posts here, here.) The final stretch was defined by my discovery that lots of supposedly terrible episodes are either genuinely good, or better than I'd remembered.There is one exception. That exception is, of course, Spock's Brain.Let's do this thing. Bread and Circuses, infamous for supposedly pushing Christianity with Uhura's final line, "Not the sun in the sky, Mr. Spock--the Son of God!", is … [Read more...]

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“Looking Away from Abortion”: Ross Douthat

on the meaning of the Planned Parenthood videos:IN an essay in his 1976 collection, “Mortal Lessons,” the physician Richard Selzer describes a strange suburban scene. People go outside in the morning in his neighborhood, after the garbage trucks have passed, and find “a foreignness upon the pavement,” a softness underfoot. Looking down, Selzer first thinks he sees oversize baby birds, then rubber baby dolls, until the realization comes that the street is littered with the tiny, naked, all-to … [Read more...]

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Unnatural Women and Natural-Law Feminism

One cheap but useful definition of natural law is that it's the belief that there is a universal human nature which is knowable by reason (and here we fight about what we mean by "reason," but ignore that for now), and so our desires can be rightly ordered based on what would express and support this nature, even though we have never seen this nature instantiated anywhere in our lives or history, ever. You can see why this is both a tempting place to ground your ethics, and a tough sell to … [Read more...]

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