Gregorio Allegri, “Miserere”

The choir at St Matthew's sang this at Tenebrae last night. Amazing.And with that, I'm out. See you on the flip side. … [Read more...]

“Public Policy’s Absent Aesthetics”: I’m at AmCon

rantin': ...What leapt out to me was the absence of the aesthetic side of smoking vs. wearing the patch. I don’t just mean that smoking looks good, although it does: Smoke dissolves like perfect conversation. Smoke turns women into chapels.What I mean is that all these aesthetic associations reinforce nicotine addiction. The sights and smells and sounds of smoking (tapping the cigarette against the pack; I knew one woman who made a little kiss sound every time she took a drag) intertwine in … [Read more...]

“Gay and Catholic” Book Extra: Bridal Mysticism for the Rest of Us

One of the biggest gaps in the book is its relative silence about prayer. There's a lot about horizontal relationships with other people--even when prayer is mentioned it's often prayer to saints, which is still a horizontal relationship although maybe a tilted one--but not much about the vertical relationship of the human soul to God.This is why e.g. I was so struck by St Gregory of Nyssa's discussion of virginity: For him the vertical relationship is overwhelming, and horizontal … [Read more...]

“Sublime Recovery and Banal Recovery”: I’m in AmCon

sketching: This week I’m preparing to go to the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference (which I’ll be reporting on for TAC), and also reading for the first time David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The conference and the novel offer strikingly different narratives of addiction and recovery–both of which are gaining cultural ground in different ways. more … [Read more...]

“Ivan Bilibin’s Russian Wonder Tales”

One of my favorite picture books when I was a child--second only to Tomie de Paola's Prince of the Dolomites--was a retelling of "The Tale of Czar Saltan" with Bilibin's illustrations.see them here! … [Read more...]

Dark, Dark My Light: “Martyrs”

Well, let's start spooky movie season with a series of horrifying bangs.All I knew about Martyrs going in was that people argued about whether it should be considered "torture porn," and that the title ended up playing a big, religiously-inflected role. I'm glad I didn't know anything else about it; I was totally unprepared for its genre shifts and plot twists. I got a lot out of it and am convinced that the movie does not treat torture pornographically--there's no chop-licking, no greasy … [Read more...]

“In Between Insomnia and Scandinavia”: Gorgeous Paintings Inspired by Norwegian Family Novels

via Matt Frost. TMN:You’ve said the novel trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter was an inspiration for this latest series. Are you depicting scenes from the books, or something else?Carson Ellis:I read Kristin Lavransdatter for a long time. I took breaks between the three books to read other things, but I was sort of plodding through it on and off for nearly a year. For people who don’t know: It’s set in medieval Norway, written by Sigrid Undset in the ’20s, meticulously researched, sort of … [Read more...]


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