“Last Year’s Horror Cornucopia: Suffering in Style”: I’m at First Things

every Halloween is self-parody Halloween: Last night I watched The Final Girls, Todd Strauss-Schulson's 2015 slasher parody about mourning. It's charming, touching, and mostly successful—and a great example of the reasons 2015 specifically and the '10s generally have been such great years for horror fans. 2015 was just a cornucopia of bloody fruit: the lush Gothic fantasy of Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, David Cronenberg's nihilistic satire/poignant ghost story Maps to the Stars, and J … [Read more...]

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“Why Transgender Kids Should Wait to Transition”: Pacific Standard

short essay:...But research has shown that most gender dysphoric children outgrow their dysphoria, and do so by adolescence: Most will grow up to be happy, gay adults, and some, like myself, to be happy, straight adults. There is a small proportion of trans kids whose dysphoria will persist and who would benefit from medical intervention, but the tricky part remains predicting whom these ideal candidates will be. For a young child whose gender dysphoria would have desisted without … [Read more...]

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“Everyone I Love Is an Allegorical Representation of Ireland”: And Other Catchy Folk Tunes

I forget where I found this: im putting together a couple of scottish folk mixes bc that’s what i do and im honestly curious if anyone in my country has ever been unequivocally happy about anything ever scottish trad music genres:Everyone I Love Is Dead The English Have Stolen All My Sheep You Want To Be My Boyfriend? First You Must Answer These Riddles Three The Protestants Have Stolen All My Sheep I Love You A Lot But You’ve Left Me And It’s Raining [fiddle solo] The Sea Is Tre … [Read more...]

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A Retraction, Re: Marriage. Too Bad, This Bit Had a Good Line in It.

So in an earlier post I wrote this: It's important that marriage--its norms and expectations, more than its explicit legal benefits--is one powerful cultural response to the fruitful/destructive volcanic force of eros, and especially heterosexual eros. It's important that out of the many cultural institutions that try to channel the lava, marriage is typically one of the gentlest. (That's often true even when a marriage culture is oppressive and misogynist--in those cases the alternatives are … [Read more...]

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Marriage Unconstrained: In Which I Argue with Myself

So I don't know if you noticed, but that Pixar/gay marriage post was really two posts awkwardly yoked together by a cartoon about singing volcanoes. And some of the latter half of the post, especially, made Christian marriage sound like a social-improvement project: Live in mutual self-gift, mirroring the love of Christ and His Bride the Church, because it will lead to a stable bourgeois society. I have these studies showing that surrender of self-will is good for child educational … [Read more...]

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“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...]

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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...]

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