File Under Sacred Music: Movie Notes

Daisies: A mid-'60s Czech feminist romp, and incredibly enjoyable from the first frame to the last. The costumes and set designs are all about childlike fun; the overall ethos is, "Eat dessert first!"Victor Morton points out the way this film is women's lib, not women's rights, and like all purely liberatory gestures it can't be justified--and Daisies itself acknowledges that! It cheerfully admits that it's unsustainable and gratuitous, utopian in the fullest sense, a Candyland and not a … [Read more...]

“The Right to Look Your Judge in the Eye”: I’m at AmCon

w/the theology of the body of the defendant: Last month a Michigan appeals court considered the case of a man convicted of methamphetamine possession. Although the man received an unusually harsh sentence (30 to 120 months in prison, based in part on his prior record), the decision of the three appellate judges addresses not only the length of the sentence but also, and at greater length, the way it was delivered: via videoconferencing. The defendant was in the county jail when he was … [Read more...]

Against Air Conditioning: Aesthetics Finally Have a Say at the Washington Post!

This piece covers a surprisingly wide range of arguments, from film noir to cost savings to the human need for siesta--it isn't the expected environmental scold. I assume the author didn't write the headline. While I strongly prefer the un-AC life (I have permission from my landlady to cover the AC vent in my room with a magnetic panel, so my Literal Garret gets gloriously subtropical, with soft caresses from fresh air and the tidal howling of crickets and cicadas) I try not to tell other people … [Read more...]

Ask Melinda Selmys Your NFP Questions!

Would you like a practical, philosophical, and psychological look at natural family planning from someone for whom it has been at times a grueling and frightening struggle? Someone who understands why you might be bitter and exhausted, who has experienced some of the beauty and promises of NFP but also been harmed by the Pollyannaish or judgmental attitudes with which it's often promoted? You are in luck: Eve Tushnet has been twisting my arm a bit to try to get me to write an NFP book. My basic … [Read more...]

“What’s Missing from the Conversation About Transgender Kids”: New York Magazine

makes an increasingly-important point: “If you wait until puberty has got a little way along, a fair proportion of the children change the clinical presentation and feel more like straightforward lesbian and gay kids,” said Barrett. “They don’t seek social role change any more and will end up with no need for lifelong medical intervention, surgery and with no loss of natural fertility should they want children.” more. This article notes the limits of the studies we have about kids with gender d … [Read more...]

“Ecstatic Dance”: I review “The Fits,” A Stunning Film

review at First Things: Anna Rose Holmer's extraordinary new film The Fits begins with a young girl whose body obeys her will implicitly. “One,” eleven-year-old Toni (Royal Hightower) counts, as she pulls herself into a sit-up in the very center of the frame. “Two.”She works her body, grunting and gasping and twisting just a little with the effort, all the way past twenty. Then it's time to box. She spars with her older brother (Da'Sean Minor): She is a child, a disciple. She helps him clean … [Read more...]

The Relics of Richard III: An older but provocative post on medieval bones and modern worship

by Eleanor Parker aka A Clerk of Oxford. The rest of this post is quite peaceable and non-polemical but I fastened my fangs on the very David Foster Wallace/"everybody worships" bit: There's no doubt that many people today are fascinated by the relics of kings, even as they look down on the medieval age for caring about the relics of saints. We're quite accustomed to the idea of a royal shrine as a place of historical pilgrimage - or else Westminster Abbey wouldn't be able to charge such steep … [Read more...]