“Some Possibilities for Narratives of Friendship”: I’m at Spiritual Friendship

readin' books: I loved Wes’s post on writing about friendship, and figured I’d throw some specific examples out there to see what actual novels and movies suggest about the nature of friendship. These are very much first-draft thoughts, as I hope you guys will riff on them.“The Body” & Stand By Me–friendship as childhood. This heartbreaking Stephen King novella, which was turned into probably the best adaptation of his work for the screen, tells the story of a group of boys who go on a j … [Read more...]

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If You Don’t Honor Celibacy…

This is a more tentative section of my "three false gods" presentation. It's about what we lose when marriage crowds out the practice of celibacy.Catholics have marriage as an image of Heaven--the wedding feast of the Lamb. But we also have celibacy as an image of the life of Heaven, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. Putting marriage in its proper place means not only renewing other forms of "horizontal" love, but also a rediscovery of the beauty and passion of … [Read more...]

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“One Nation, Under the Influence”: I review a National Archives show on US Boozin’

for The American Interest: “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History,” on exhibit at the National Archives through January 10, is a lot like a 2 a.m. barroom yarn: rambling, studded with odd and fascinating moments, but lacking the one thing that might make it all make sense. ...“Spirited Republic” is organized mostly-chronologically. The opening sections make creative use of the archival material to tell the story of alcohol’s role in early American civic history: A reproduction of Ge … [Read more...]

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“Who Dares to Say That Love Is Like the War?”: A Gay, Catholic Poet in the 20th Century

I don't want to be tokenistic but I'm betting the best way to get you to read this terrific article is to show you these paragraphs: In the meantime both men underwent a private transformation. Thompson had abandoned Catholicism at Harvard, though he had never entirely renounced the faith. In 1952 he told his lover (who had been raised an Anglican) that he wanted to practice the Catholic faith again. Trower was initially taken by surprise, but six months later he followed Thompson into the … [Read more...]

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“This Town Is Dead at Night”: I watch that Iranian-Californian vampire flick

for AmCon: When I heard there was an Iranian-Californian vampire movie where a lady vampire skateboards through a deserted town under the streetlights and the palm trees, her chador blowing out behind her like Dracula’s cape, I thought, That’s awesome!But by the time we actually reached the skateboard scene in “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” all I could think was, That’s terrifying!“A Girl” is a totally effective piece of atmosphere: dreamlike, black and white, with a phenomenal sound … [Read more...]

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Fra Angelico and the Sex-Hating Church

A really rambling post.Now that my book is out I've been doing a lot of interviews, and in many of them I've been asked to tell my conversion story. A huge part of my conversion involved realizing that the Catholic Church wasn't what I'd thought it was. For example, I had this image that the Church opposed and rejected the human body--the beauty of the body, the joy of the senses--and denigrated all sensual beauty and pleasure, from the beauty of a Japanese maple to the ecstasy of sex. (I'm … [Read more...]

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“How to Be Intoxicated”

This article is annoyingly coy (it's all "there's danger in intoxication! there are no guarantees!" but it's scared to say what that actually looks like) but the basic idea is right on and important. And if you want specifics there's always The Secret History so I guess somebody's already written the stuff he leaves out: ...When colleges pick the one book that every new student should read (as they increasingly do through required summer reading programs), they tend to choose something of the … [Read more...]

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