Convention of Ex-Slaves in 1916

Just fascinating, via Ghosts of DC. … [Read more...]

“In the Hour of Chaos”: I review Charles Johnson’s short stories

at AmCon: Somebody–I hope a commenter will remind me who it was–has suggested that the Left typically thinks in terms of an opposition between oppression and liberation, whereas the right typically thinks in terms of an opposition between civilization and barbarism. I would reframe the latter opposition as order vs. chaos; if we do that, it’s obvious that both oppositions are unrelentingly relevant, yet few thinkers or artists are able to hold both conflicts before our eyes at once.I just fi … [Read more...]

“In Love and Struggle”: I review LaToya Ruby Frazier at the Brooklyn Museum

It's a terrific show, closing THIS SUNDAY, so check it out if you're in the area! It’s the kind of Mother’s Day card you might give if you come from an especially unflinching family: A mother stands tall and imposing in front of the camera, facing it squarely and glaring at it. The daughter stands behind her mother–she’s slim enough that her body fits entirely behind her mom’s, as her face looks away and down. Their two shadows merge on the wall, creating one larger, indistinct shadow. The mothe … [Read more...]

Tales of a “Bootleg Baptist”

various good stuff in the First Things tribute to the late Will Campbell, but this part leaped out at me: My favorite Will Campbell story is about a Baptist pastor he once knew in Louisiana named Thad Garner. Despite his affable smile and trips to the Holy Land, Reverend Garner was not a model pastor. One day Campbell cornered him with a question, “Thad, why did you ever decide to be a Baptist preacher?” “’Cause I was called, you fool!” he thundered. more … [Read more...]

“Prodigals and Preachers”: me on Marilynne Robinson

at Acculturated: This is the halfway point for my series of posts on great novels about marriage, and with this third installment I think I see some intertwined themes emerging. All three of the books so far—Kristin Lavransdatter, How to Be Good, and now Marilynne Robinson’s generational Iowa epic-in-miniature Gilead—are also stories about being sorry, and trying to be better, and wondering how much any person can ever really change. more; keep in mind that all of these posts necessarily overs … [Read more...]

10 Great Books About Small-Town Life

I forget where I found this list. And I think New Haven is the smallest town I've ever lived in, so, you know, I'm no expert! Still, I have read none of these, and now I'm intrigued.... … [Read more...]

“The Armies of the Prince of Peace”: I review “The Convert”

at Woolly Mammoth until, I think, March 10. … [Read more...]


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