“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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“Disorientation”: I review a photography show at the Sackler Gallery

for AmCon: Now that the shutdown is over, I can tell you about a small but punchy photography exhibit at the Sackler.“Sense of Place,” which runs through November 11, disrupts many of the cliches of East vs. West. In these tired oppositions, Europe is a clash of swords and horses; China, Japan, or any other part of the undifferentiated East is a lone monk crossing a quiet pond. The West is the land of change and history, the East is the land where life is as fleeting and yet eternal as the s … [Read more...]

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From Jennifer M. Silva, “Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty”

In an era of short-term flexibility, constant flux, and hollow institutions, the transition to adulthood has been inverted; coming of age does not entail entry into social groups and institutions but rather the explicit rejection of them. … [Read more...]

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“To Achieve Existential Fulfillment, Brokers Must Spurn Webinars”

"...and instead come to grips with their insignificance, Smith said." Yes. … [Read more...]

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“The Church Failed Millennials, Just Not in the Way You Think It Did”

at Christ & Pop Culture, some interesting stuff--I take no position on either of the Rachel Held Evans pieces which sparked this conversation, and obviously I'm not an evangelical Protestant so in some ways this is outside my sheepfold, but I found the critique in this paragraph quite relevant to Cat'licks as well: One thing I think the pop Evangelical church has truly dropped the ball on is talking to us about the Church. I mean, honestly, during all the Sunday School lessons, high school t … [Read more...]

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This Mockingbird Article About Sex and Internet Porn

quotes literally all of the good bits of the Alain de Botton piece it's riffing on; dodges de Botton's more banal or wrongheaded generalizations (AdB writes as if internet porn is a male problem not a human problem, and says sex can get in the way of "other things we care about, like prosperity, safety, and happiness," which is a list of three things I don't care about all that much); and adds some gentleness of its own. You should read it! But I will give you a quick teaser of the AdB piece … [Read more...]

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A Lovely Example of Spiritual Friendship Between Two Protestant Women

here: To students of church history, Esther Edwards Burr (1732-1758) is known today as one of eleven children born to Sarah and Jonathan Edwards, America’s greatest theologian.To students of American history, she is known as the mother of Aaron Burr Jr., Thomas Jefferson’s vice president who mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel in 1804. When Aaron was all of 19 months old, she recorded in a letter that he was “a little dirty Noisy Boy . . . very sly and mischievous . . . no … [Read more...]

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