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...]

The Kindle Version of My Novel, “Amends,” Now Available: Mysticism, Sleaze, Good Times and Bad Advice

You can purchase it (or the paperback, if you prefer books for mammals):A month in rehab would be stressful enough without a television audience. When the ramshackle cast checks in for "Amends," a new reality series about alcoholism and recovery, they don't know if they've been cast as villains or potential redemption arcs. Over the course of the show they learn what God sees when he shuts his eyes, how to appreciate the comforts of hallucination, and what it looks like when a wolf fights a … [Read more...]

“Amends,” My Novel About Reality-TV Rehab, Is Available in Paperback

now! A month in rehab would be stressful enough without a television audience. When the ramshackle cast checks in for "Amends," a new reality series about alcoholism and recovery, they don't know if they've been cast as villains or potential redemption arcs. Over the course of the show they learn what God sees when he shuts his eyes, how to appreciate the comforts of hallucination, and what it looks like when a wolf fights a troll. A conservative journalist woos a homeless Ethiopian visionary. … [Read more...]

A Vindication of the Rites of Whores: Rumer Godden’s “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy”

When I asked people to recommend books about life in religious communities, this (as well as Godden's In This House of Brede) was one of the most frequent responses. It's a story set among the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, whose charism involves prison ministry--and so many of the sisters are themselves former criminals, what we'd call "ex-offenders" or "returning citizens." These are I think the same nuns you see in Robert Bresson's terrific nun-noir The Angels of Sin. (This is the Bresson for … [Read more...]

Photographs from Miracle Village, A Florida Town for Sex Offenders

The Guardian writes: ...Sofia Valiente, a quietly spoken 24-year-old photographer who lives one hour’s drive from Miracle Village, came upon the community when she was photographing the small towns of south Florida. Intrigued, she started visiting the community and, having gained their trust, began documenting this enclosed world in portraits, landscapes and still lives. She even lived there for a time during the three months it took her to complete the project that has now become an intriguing … [Read more...]

“Let’s Talk About Monks, Baby”: More of My Dialogue w/Justin Lee on Relationships for Gay Christians

at Respectful Conversations:I loved a lot of things about Justin's first contribution to this discussion. I'm going to give a kind of slantwise rather than head-on response. First I want to highlight the areas where he is modeling the way this conversation should go. Then I do want to suggest a way in which his approach is still too much shaped by contemporary American culture. And finally I will offer a different angle from which to approach the question.more--I don't love how the third … [Read more...]

The Literature of Contempt: Some Rambling About DFW and Dostoyevsky

Over the holiday weekend I read through pretty much the entire Mockingbird archive of posts tagged "David Foster Wallace." Meanwhile I'm reading The Idiot for the third time (and finally retaining something other than the "worst thing you ever did" party game, I hope...) and slowly gnawing through Игрок (The Gambler) in Russian class. If you ever want to notice how super-contemptuous (презрительнейший! чрезвычайно презрительнейший!) both of these writers can get about everybody in the entire worl … [Read more...]