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...]

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...]

Meal Scheduling When Friends Are in Need

Because these days traditions may need a little high-tech help. Take Them a Meal seems like a good idea. … [Read more...]

Hope Stumbles Eternal: “Frances Ha”

The director of The Squid and the Whale made a movie with the star of Damsels in Distress, and it's about friendship between women, forgiveness, and coming to terms with your life. Ordinarily this is the kind of sentence I end with, "...and then I woke up." But no! Frances Ha is real, it's in DC at E St Cinema and Bethesda Row, and it is a really good, small slice-of-life movie. I don't know that it's earthshaking but it is about two hours of Greta Gerwig being thoroughly luminous, with her big … [Read more...]

And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly…

In the continuing saga of my criticism of critical thinking.... An astute reader pointed out that some people give their hearts and trust too easily. That's definitely true, and in fact I suspect one reason I'm so quick to wave the pom-poms for trust and the leap of faith is precisely that I'm a trust-and-leap kind of person. I realize that when I criticize the hypercautious, "every doubt is a reason to say no, every answer is just another more troubling question" approach I'm also offering a … [Read more...]

“Believe” is a transitive verb, and other good points against me

Christian H at The Thinking Grounds makes an attempt to figure out why on earth I'm against critical thinking and what I even mean by saying that. We're pretty clearly talking past each other to some extent, but he does give me an excuse to extend, qualify, and generally shake the kaleidoscope of my AmCon post to see how it rearranges itself. Here are some scattered shards.I. Where I'm coming from: I wrote the post because I have talked with so many people who perceive themselves to be … [Read more...]

“You’re Not the Horrible Man I Married Anymore!”: me on Nick Hornby’s How to Be Good

In the first installment of this series on great novels about marriage we looked at a thousand-plus-page epic novel about life and death in medieval Norway: early death, mutilation, miserable weddings, war, prowling wolves, even the Black Plague itself. So you might be relieved by the book I’ve chosen this time. Nick Hornby’s 2001 How to Be Good has a bright yellow cover, a modern British setting, and a manageable three-hundred pages. This first impression is misleading. How to Be Good is a bru … [Read more...]


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