“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...]

Working at the Disco: I Watch “The Last Days of Disco”

For the first half of this movie I was not totally sold on it--despite its setting in "The Very Early '80s" and its discussions of group socializing vs. "ferocious pairing off" and the Robert Sean Leonard of it all. "It's fun enough, but it's no Damsels in Distress," I thought.By the end I was so fascinated and pleased that I wanted to rewatch it immediately. I listened to the commentary track, which I rarely do with Netflix dvds because I am greedy and want my next one as fast as possible. … [Read more...]

The Killing Joke: I read “Infinite Jest”

Finished it and flipped back to the very first page. Hugely tempted to just go in for an immediate re-read. It's an engrossing, brutal book.I found the first 100 pages or so a really mixed bag--my one real criticism is that the book itself sometimes seems... bewildered and amused?... by the existence of people who aren't white. There are definitely exceptions. The Hugs Not Drugs/"shit down your neck" scene is fantastic, and feels real, or rather feels exaggerated in the way both life and the … [Read more...]

“Gay and Catholic” Book Extra: Bridal Mysticism for the Rest of Us

One of the biggest gaps in the book is its relative silence about prayer. There's a lot about horizontal relationships with other people--even when prayer is mentioned it's often prayer to saints, which is still a horizontal relationship although maybe a tilted one--but not much about the vertical relationship of the human soul to God.This is why e.g. I was so struck by St Gregory of Nyssa's discussion of virginity: For him the vertical relationship is overwhelming, and horizontal … [Read more...]

Dark, Dark My Light: “Martyrs”

Well, let's start spooky movie season with a series of horrifying bangs.All I knew about Martyrs going in was that people argued about whether it should be considered "torture porn," and that the title ended up playing a big, religiously-inflected role. I'm glad I didn't know anything else about it; I was totally unprepared for its genre shifts and plot twists. I got a lot out of it and am convinced that the movie does not treat torture pornographically--there's no chop-licking, no greasy … [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...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: Me in AmSpec

not really a book review!I read John Darnielle’s 2011 novel Master of Reality under the unfamiliar constellations of Australia—which was fitting, since the slender book is about being both physically and spiritually far from home. Master of Reality is an entry in Continuum’s “33 1/3” series of books about pop or rock albums. (The other books in the series tend to be straightforward critical studies.) I’ve never listened to Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, but Darnielle’s diary of a 1980s te … [Read more...]


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