“Modernity as an Overlearning of Christianity”: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

good food for thought all the way through: ...Heresy therefore always poses a tricky double challenge for orthodoxy: a heresy that affirms a thing that orthodoxy also affirms (albeit to the exclusion of other necessary truths, or drawing false consequences from it), by definition, cannot be wholly evil, and orthodoxy must affirm the good things in it; and there is always a temptation to face the overemphasis on one pole by overemphasizing the other pole and falling into the other heresy (w … [Read more...]

“Geishas by Gaslight”: I review a show at the Freer

for AmCon: The Freer Gallery named their show of wood-block prints by fin de siecle Japanese artist Kobayashi Kiyochika “Master of the Night” (on display through July 27th), but night is ancient and Kiyochika’s work is distinctly modern. His prints show a world in transition. Some of the street scenes might almost be Victorian London; even the rickshaw used to pull a geisha through the night turns out to be a recent import, an innovation. Many of the scenes show people in traditional kimono mixi … [Read more...]

Painting the Town Red: “The Exiles,” A Masterpiece of Lost L.A.

Kent MacKenzie's The Exiles played exactly once, at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, and then vanished for more than forty years. It was rediscovered in 2003, and you can find it now on Netflix--which you should do, for real, here's why.The Exiles follows a group of American Indian men and women over the course of one night at the very end of noir-era Los Angeles. The neighborhood where the film was shot was demolished--excuse me, I mean renewed--shortly afterward. The Native actors were … [Read more...]

From “Going to the Dogs”

"That happens to many women. We young men have cares of our own, and they leave us sufficient time for pleasure, but not enough for love. The family is disintegrating. After all, there are only two possible ways in which we can shoulder responsibility. Either a man accepts the responsibility for a woman's future, and then, if he loses his job the week after, he realizes how irresponsibly he has acted. Or his sense of responsibility forbids him to make a mess of a woman's future, and if, for this … [Read more...]

From Evelyn Waugh, “Men at Arms”

They performed an exercise of "company in the attack," became entirely intermixed, extricated themselves and bivouacked under the stars. A warm night, smelling of dry furze. Guy made a round of the sentries and then lay awake. Dawn came quickly, bringing momentary beauty even to that sorry countryside. They fell in and marched back to camp. Rather light-headed after his sleepless night Guy marched in front beside de Souza. From behind them came the songs: "Roll out the barrel"; "There are rats, … [Read more...]

“What Classic, Orthodox Celibacy Isn’t”

at Spiritual Friendship: If we follow the tradition’s logic, celibacy cannot be a synonym for singleness. Classic, orthodox celibacy is not a solitary priest rattling around in an oversized rectory, or an isolated yuppie in a high rise apartment building a profile on an internet dating site, or a gay person toughing it out solo at Christmastime. All these are modern day tragedies, the kind of things which deserve compassion but which cannot be normative. Classic, orthodox celibacy is rather a w … [Read more...]

“Material Madchen”: I read “The Artificial Silk Girl”

at AmCon: I picked up Irmgard Keun’s 1932 novel The Artificial Silk Girl at the Neue Galerie in New York, basically on a whim. It promised to be a dizzying tour of Weimar Berlin, last call before Hell and all that, from the perspective of a young, single woman whom the introduction compares to Madonna’s “Material Girl.”Certainly our heroine, Doris, is materialistic in a certain sense. She pays her bills by dating men. Her closest relationship is with her stolen fur coat. (The letter she writ … [Read more...]


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