“Empathy Lessons for the App Generation”: Mockingbird

writes: ...Turkle here is indicating that there is a strong connection between empathy and solitude. I am reminded (beyond Louis CK) of Pascal’s famous line about humanity’s problems consisting of “man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” (Two Pascal lines this week?!) Turkle here conveys the human need to sit down with one’s self, to deal with one’s self, and while she doesn’t cover any religious dimensions, it is where prayer happens. For Christianity in particular, this is where repen … [Read more...]

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“On Abstaining from Communion”: Poignant, Funny Post from Max Lindemann

on a recurring theme here: ...As the episode with the baffled usher illustrates, some people simply aren’t used to non-communicants. During one early-morning Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan, I approached the celebrant with my arms crossed. (This was before I had been properly briefed on how barbarous an abuse of the liturgy abuse this constitutes.) The poor priest tried to thrust the Host into my mouth, forcing me to block his hand with the crux of my arms and clamp my mouth s … [Read more...]

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“In Your Guts, You Know You’re Nuts”: Mockingbird Reviews My Novel

woohoo! In her hilarious first novel, Amends, just released this past August, Eve Tushnet brings together a lively troupe of totally unhinged characters to participate in a reality TV show about addiction. The novel’s “talent” (the cast) lugs around dark histories and fears and sins, but their instability makes them not only interesting but also completely approachable. more … [Read more...]

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Link Round-Up for “Amends,” My New Novel About Reality-TV Rehab

First of all, you can buy the book and I would be quite grateful if you reviewed it at Amazon. You can also review it at Goodreads if you're a Goodreads person. All of this helps the book get to other people who might like it.Max Lindemann reviewed it; Zach Noble reviewed it. It has a Facebook page for some reason? And I may as well re-link Wesley Hill's neat piece fitting its themes into my other writing.More reviews coming soon but I'd love to hear what you guys think. This is by no … [Read more...]

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I Watch “Mistress America,” The New Noah Baumbach/Greta Gerwig Flick About Women’s Friendship

for AmCon: One of the weirder trends in today’s art is the rise of a certain kind of comedy: cynical and even scathing on the surface, but in the end, staunchly moral. These comedies push forgiveness, humility, and love as self-gift; the great enemies are personal ambition, unwillingness to embrace adult responsibility, and concern for one’s own self-image. (The lesser enemy is positive self-talk, which all these comedies go out of their way to satirize.) It’s a sort of comedic burned marsh … [Read more...]

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“I Reviewed Jail on Yelp Because I Couldn’t Afford a Therapist”: The Marshall Project

with many and varied windows into the human condition:...User-review sites have become an unlikely destination for raw, informative accounts of Americans’ everyday interactions with our criminal justice system. Yelp declined to provide the number of prison and jail reviews on its site, but dozens of correctional facilities are filed under “Public Services & Government” alongside DMVs and post offices. Search for your local prison or jail and chances are that Google reviews will pop up alo … [Read more...]

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It Always Rains on Ben Affleck: Short Movie Reviews

The Leopard: Burt Lancaster is the patriarch of an aristocratic Sicilian family whose role in society is inevitably being usurped by the rising middle class during the period of Italian unification. Directed in sun-soaked autumnal shade and color by Caravaggio--I mean, Visconti.Lancaster is so good at these autumnal roles (The Swimmer) and everything here is gorgeous to look at. My favorite social or psychological note was the complex role played by the Church/the family priest. The … [Read more...]

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