Not Peace But a Sword: “The Birth of a Nation” (2016)

The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker's searing life of Nat Turner, is a brilliant and iconic piece of Christian moviemaking--right up until Turner's slave rebellion begins.Birth has attracted intense controversy in part because of rape charges against both Parker and his co-writer. I'm not going to get into that, largely because you'll have your own beliefs on whether or how those charges should color your ticket-buying decisions, except to say that the portrayal of sexual violence in the film … [Read more...]

“Free to Choose, Revisited”: David Lapp

on Yuval Levin: Yuval Levin believes that neither hyperindividualism nor centralization can help financially struggling Americans like Lance, whom I wrote about yesterday in the first part of my review of Levin’s The Fractured Republic. I basically agree with Levin and found his focus on empowering mediating institutions—beginning in the family and spreading outward to places like schools, religious congregations, and the marketplace—right on point. And it’s precisely because I agree with him th … [Read more...]

Prophet and Loss: I watch “Roger and Me”

Along with Barcelona, my other RNC counterprogramming was Michael Moore's 1989 documentary, Roger and Me. It's structured around Moore's quest to get a personal interview with Roger Smith, the head of General Motors, who is in the process of basically devastating Moore's hometown of Flint, Mich. by closing the GM plant there. It's incredibly powerful--I don't think there's a wasted frame. A few thoughts, beyond my basic thought which is just, "You should see this movie."Artistically it is … [Read more...]

“Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport”: The Marshall Project

this piece starts grim and only continues in that vein: In July 2012, Steven Galack, the former owner of a home remodeling business, was living in Florida when he was arrested on an out-of-state warrant for failing to pay child support. Galack, 46, had come to the end of a long downward spiral, overcoming a painkiller addiction only to struggle with crippling anxiety. Now, he was to be driven more than a thousand miles to Butler County, Ohio, where his ex-wife and three children lived, to face … [Read more...]

“Why It’s So Hard to Measure Racial Bias in Police Shootings”: Ezekiel Kweku

I feel v. old telling you to go to MTV for hard-hitting statistical and political analysis, but this is our world: What if the core of the Black Lives Matter movement is based on a lie? What if there is no racism involved in police killings? Harvard economist Roland Fryer Jr. has come out with a headline-grabbing study about police shootings: a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper that arrived with a write-up in the New York Times' data blog The Upshot. According to The … [Read more...]

“The Gun Control We Deserve”: Terrific article

at n+1: At the deepest level, the schizoid landscape of American gun control is the product of two phenomena, both baked into the American past and protean in their contemporary manifestations. First, a long history of skirmishes over who should be armed and how—fraught battles that pivot on questions of race, class, masculinity, and the role of law enforcement.1 Second, the synergy between American militarism and capitalism: a perennial entanglement that has produced a society in which there a … [Read more...]

“Poor Citizenship”: I watch “Behavior,” a 2014 drama of Cuban childhood and faith

review at AmCon: Behavior, the 2014 movie from Cuban writer and director Ernesto Daranas that is still playing festival circuits in the U.S., is not one-of-a-kind. It is not unprecedented; it does not break (much) new ground. What it is, is an exceptionally heartfelt, moving, and artistically accomplished example of its genre. As Brooklyn is what an Irish-American romance should aspire to be, so Behavior is the “coming of age in the underclass” story at its most luminous. more … [Read more...]