“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

Exec. Director [of Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (sic)] Pat M. is due in at 0900 and has application interviews with three people, 2F and 1M, who better be showing up soon, and Gately will answer the door when they don't know enough to just come in and will say Welcome and get them a cup of coffee if he judges them able to hold it. He'll get them aside and tip them off to be sure to pet Pat M.'s dogs during the interview. They'll be sprawled all over the front office, sides … [Read more...]

“Doctors Say Arizona Prisons Mocked Sick Inmates, Left Stroke Victims in Soiled Diapers for Weeks”

I post these now and then but keep in mind that this is like the fingernail polish on the tip of the iceberg: Arizona’s privatized prison healthcare system routinely abuses and ignores sick and mentally ill inmates, according to newly released confidential reports from doctors who visited prisons and reviewed inmates’ medical records. The experts are serving as witnesses in a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and expected to go to trial this fall.The phy … [Read more...]

The Anima Christi: A Deleted Chapter from My Great Big Gay Catholic Book

I had to cut a lot from the book, and this chapter was eccentric and zigzagging enough that it made sense to get rid of it. But I'm glad to share it with you guys now. Some of these thoughts will be familiar to readers--and some of them get recycled in the book itself, e.g. "Will I be gay in Heaven?", because I thought that stuff was important to keep in--but I hope there's enough new material to keep y'all interested.The full list of DVD extras I hope to provide between now and the book's … [Read more...]

“Another Mom Thrown in Jail for Letting Kids Play in Park”: Reason

I know I say this all the time, but what really gets to me is the tone of contempt. There's pride in the police chief's condescending dehumanization. Like, he's so pleased that he came up with this super clever way to put down a woman trying to get help for her family. Lenore Skenazy agrees: Ashley, Richardson, a mom of four who went to a food bank while her kids, ages 6-8, played at the park for more than two hours, was arrested and jailed in Winter Haven, Florida. While the park day sounds … [Read more...]

“The Man Who Ate Liberty Valance”: I’m at AmCon

on Ravenous, a cannibal Western with a Looney Tunes win-by-losing climax--yes, I loved it: 1999′s Ravenous turns up on a lot of lists of underrated horror movies. It’s hard to get people to take you seriously when your plot is, “Guy Pearce eats people in the Old West.” But now that I’ve finally taken advantage of “Ravenous”‘s availability through Netflix streaming, I can tell you: This movie is criminally underrated. It’s not just a creepy, haunting cannibal Western from the producer of “Donnie … [Read more...]

From Christopher Beha, “Arts and Entertainments”

"Eddie, this is Geena Tuff from Star Style. I'm calling to see if you'd like to sit down with me for an interview.""No thanks.""Think of it as a unique opportunity to get your side of the story on the record.""I don't really have a side of the story." --Eddie Hartley, saying something we should all say more often … [Read more...]


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