“Criminal or Prisoner?”: I’m at Aleteia

on the differences between the two roles in Christian life: What do homicide and stealing curled hair have in common?They're both crimes for which you could get transported to Australia for life, during its days as a penal colony. I learned this at Hyde Park Barracks, a museum dedicated to Sydney's penal days. Part of what makes the museum so striking (and so worthwhile if you're ever in Sydney) is its empathy for the convicts: its willingness to view them primarily as prisoners rather than … [Read more...]

And All at Once I Had to Face the Big Light: Some movie reviews

Rachel Getting Married: The story of a woman coming out of rehab just in time for her sister's wedding. I think even people who don't share my particular issues would find this a gripping, intensely painful story, showing our attempts at self-justification (and how even our attempts to do the right thing, be good, and/or make amends become self-centered and self-justifying) and how hard it is for well-meaning people to love one another. The set-piece scenes, like the toasting, are uniformly … [Read more...]

Increasing Empathy Is a Really Weird Reason for Public Humiliation

But drugs have a funny effect on the brain, I guess: ...It was the second such heroin sweep where authorities sought to publicize the names, hometowns, ages and photos of alleged buyers and distributors. Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said that tactic would help further educate the public.“We are working toward eliminating the notion that a heroin addict is a person that is in an alley with a needle sticking in their arm,” Valdes said. “We are so removed from that.” more (and a … [Read more...]

“Five Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser’”: Cracked

well worth reading even if you have no especial interest in weight loss or shows about ditto: ...Every week on the show, you watched us exercising and working out. That's part of the process, of course -- making people healthier. But they don't show the additional mandatory six hours or so of us furiously flailing the pounds away. They much preferred filming us right at the end of a workout, when we looked like lazy quitters for stopping so early. Even the giant scale they had us all weigh in … [Read more...]

“Hideous Strength”: I review “Degenerate Art” at the Neue Galerie

for AmCon: Leave it to the Nazis to make charity posters into advertisements for power-worship.In the late 1930s the Nazi regime created a traveling exhibition which contrasted Fuhrer-approved artworks with “degenerate” works produced by modernists, New Objectivists, and other riffraff. The exhibition was a bizarre contrast to the book-burning and art-destroying we might expect from a totalitarian regime. Instead of preventing people from seeing the art at all, the Nazis encouraged them to v … [Read more...]

King of Cups: Rereading Tim Powers’s “Last Call”

Fantasist (and mackerel-snapper, if we're counting) Tim Powers does high-concept tales in which hard-bitten characters struggle to learn to love one another and escape complex, unforgiving systems of magical dark forces. Last Call is probably my second-favorite of his fantasies of salvage--the greatest is Declare aka "the one where demons fight the Cold War"--and as I reread it I loved it even more than I did the first time around. The high concept this time is "war for succession among the gods … [Read more...]

Poor Little Rich Christian: Hulu’s Intermittently-Insightful “Rev.”

“First let's say morning prayer. But let's say it quietly, in case somebody here has got a hangover.”That's from the first episode of Rev., a Hulu series about an Anglican vicar in a tough London neighborhood, and it captures the show's best side: a humorous acceptance of human weakness, combined with a seriousness about prayer. There's a lot to love about Rev., so although I'm going to be critical, I want to start by highlighting what's so intriguing and endearing about the show. Its first t … [Read more...]


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