“Lava” in the Western World: Justice Kennedy and Pixar

Yesterday afternoon I watched Inside Out. You'll get more from me about that later, but for right now I want to write a bit about "Lava," the short, and the weird coincidence that I saw it on the day of the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision.Aesthetically "Lava" is a mixed bag--or rather, a bag with one great thing and one awful thing in it. The designs for the two volcanic main characters are charming, lovely, and just weird enough. But the short tells a simple story--it could easily … [Read more...]

From Pierre Clitandre, “Cathedral of the August Heat: A Novel of Haiti”

Then the ragged crowd pressed forward, in spite of the threat of the guns. They were ordered back. The tide of men came forward, silently, heavily, big hands by their knees. The gun shots rang out again. The men kept on coming. Heavily. Stepping over bodies soaked in blood. A third time the guns fired. At that moment out of the crowd, amid the dead bodies of men, pregnant women, the dust, blood, sun and gunfire, came the beautiful long-haired brown girl, dazzling in her white dress. With arms … [Read more...]

Neighbors and Strangers: Edward P. Jones’s Tales of Black Catholic D.C.

The title of All Aunt Hagar's Children gives you an idea of one of the strengths of this short-story collection: Edward P. Jones has woven a tapestry portrait of a community. Or, to switch metaphors, he has laid a table where everyone in the family can come, get their due, and have their say.The stories aren't linked by anything other than their setting: black D.C., mostly black Catholic D.C., from the late 19th century to the latter half of the 20th. These people are farmers and porters … [Read more...]

Where Do Men Still Cuddle?: Vlad Chituc

writes: ...If it weren’t so threatening to seem gay, there wouldn’t be a need to police the appearance of it so firmly. Culture has been giving us a choice since the latter half of the 20th Century: seem gay or be lonely. That so many chose “be lonely” shows only the depth of our collective gay panic.I’m not just speculating, as [Anthony] Esolen does. This is at heart an empirical question—in what conditions is platonic male affection common and in what cases is it restricted? One way to go … [Read more...]

An Amazing Exchange from the Deleted Scenes of “Damsels in Distress”

ROSE: One thought reassures me: Our stupidity must be part of God’s divine plan. He must have made us stupid for a reason.VIOLET: Because he wants us to have kids? Be fruitful and multiply…ROSE: Yes. Probably. via … [Read more...]

Hell Is for Children: “Krabat,” A New Entry in the Field of Scary Christmas Movies

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.-Gal 5:1 One of my favorite novels when I was a girl was The Satanic Mill, by Ottfried Preussler. The title is not a metaphor or an allusion; the book is about a mill that is run by a man who has sold his soul to Satan. An orphan child finds his way to the mill and enters its sinister brotherhood, getting to know the other apprentices and journeymen--and, eventually, learning magic alongside … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

Arm out like a hack's arm, Gately blasts through B.U. country. As in backpack and personal-stereo and designer-fatigues country. Soft-faced boys with backpacks and high hard hair and seamless foreheads. Totally lineless untroubled foreheads like cream cheese or ironed sheets. All the storefronts here are for clothes or TP cartridges or posters. Gately's had lines in his big forehead since he was about twelve. It's here he especially likes making people throw their packages in the air and dive … [Read more...]


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