“Out in the Fields with God”: I vvatch “The VVitch”

for AmCon: “What went we out into this wilderness to find?”With that resounding, iconic opening line, The Witch announces that it may not be what you were expecting. Writer/director Robert Eggers’s “New-England folktale” may have been marketed as a horror movie, but horror is only one of its genres–and not the most prominent. The Witch is a family tragedy and a religious drama, and these elements are even more successful than the horror-show aspect. more (and here is a... probably-drunk pos … [Read more...]

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The Three False Gods of Marriage, Freedom, And Morality

So I spent a long weekend in Holland, MI, the heart of Dutch Reform USA and home to Hope College. I was there to talk about Gay Catholic Whatnot, in a variety of settings--a mix of public and private, etc--organized by the St Benedict Forum, the college's small but growing papist posse. It was a fantastic experience. I'd esp like to note the way aesthetic concerns surfaced throughout the trip. Hope College people really care about sacred architecture and music; the chapel service I spoke at had … [Read more...]

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“Stephen King’s Doubt”: I review “Revival”

for AmCon: There’s a cheap rhetorical move you see a lot in religious debate, where the God-pusher retorts, “But don’t you ever doubt your doubt?” The hero of Revival, Stephen King’s 2014 novel of loss and obsession, could reply in tones of trembling horror: “All the time. God help me, I doubt my doubt all the time.”King has always loved to wring horror from Americana: the bad hot dog, the classic car, the prom. In Revival he takes on the Methodist Youth Fellowship, where, back in the mid-’6 … [Read more...]

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“‘Hamilton’ and the Romance of Government”: My take

for AmCon: I’ve finally heard “Hamilton,” the Broadway hip-hop musical about the first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and I can say: It’s a brilliant, empathetic example of a genre I don’t believe in. more … [Read more...]

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In the Year of the Dragon: Ross Douthat Writes About Guns

so I don't have to. He makes his point in his characteristically careful, suggestive style, so I will add value by being incautious and blunt: Crime hysteria leads to expansions of state surveillance and punishment that target poor and minority communities. Gun control isn't different just because you personally are a progressive. Progressives are advocating for tools that others will wield. That is still true--in some ways more true, because the fear runs deeper--when the crime is real and … [Read more...]

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“Don’t Stop Kids from Playing Rough”: Virginia Postrel

writes: ...Some kids are indeed prone to hurt others. “If you’ve ever watched a group of 4- or 5-year-olds play Duck, Duck, Goose,” says Carlson, “there’s always one child who, when it’s his turn or her turn, will not tag. They’ll slap.” Socially and developmentally behind their peers, the offending children are those who most need the lessons big-body play can teach. Keeping them from playing tag, says Carlson, “is not the way they learn how to tag more gently. Continuing to tag is the way they … [Read more...]

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Papal Fever: Prayer Grotto and Pope Plushies in Phila…. Security Barriers and Metro Madness in DC

So this country is kind of losing what remains of its mind over the Pope, yes? You guys know that the pope makes me feel minty, and this mintiness is not decreased by proximity. I will be sheltering in place for the duration of his visit.That said, I was in Philadelphia recently and they have done one fantastic thing. The city is pope-mad, the train station is just covered in giant scary Francis faces that turn out to be ads for Jesuit colleges, and you can buy stuffed Pope Francises in the … [Read more...]

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