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...]

From David Foster Wallace, “Infinite Jest”

But so some E.T.A.s [=students at Enfied Tennis Academy]--not just Hal Incandenza by any means--are involved with recreational substances, is the point. Like who isn't, at some life-stage, in the U.S.A. and Interdependent regions, in these troubled times, for the most part. Though a decent percentage of E.T.A. students aren't at all. I.e. involved. Some persons can give themselves away to an ambitious pursuit and have that be all the giving-themselves-away-to-something they need to do. Though … [Read more...]

Captive Virgins: St Gregory of Nyssa vs. … Well… Vs. Me, I Guess

and let's see what that title does for my search requests.Wesley Hill truffled up a really fine short article on Gregory of Nyssa's "On Virginity," which offers a much-needed corrective to the way I usually talk about vocations for celibate queer people. Here's an excerpt, but the whole thing is worth your time: ...Adults are single in greater numbers than ever before, but the singles who usually speak in public discussions are sexually active. Why is it that Christian adults who are single … [Read more...]

Art as a Vocation: Gay and Catholic Book Extra!

What do we want? Eve's book! When do we want it? ...Soon! (Preorder now; it releases 10/20.)I drafted a chapter on art as a vocation but cut it because I couldn't figure out a structure, which is always a sign that my thinking is disjointed and either muddled or in some important respect incomplete. Fortunately, in a blog post I can just post a listicle and call it a day. YOU'RE WELCOME. So, you know, here are some points about art as a vocation, especially a vocation for gay/queer/same-sex … [Read more...]

Snow Day Thoughts

A series of points too small for a real post.* While I was in Boston for the US National Figure Skating Championships (of which more later!! THEY WERE SO GREAT) I also got to go with Ratty to the Museum of Fine Arts. It has some terrific Spanish painting from the Counter-Reformation era--I love this stuff, even in the court paintings you feel like you can smell the blood. The only thing that glows is the flesh of the Crucified. There's an extremism which I think some people find wearying but … [Read more...]

“Identity Theft”: I review (and LOVE) “The Goldfinch”

in the Weekly Standard: When we speak of “the permanent things,” we should mean the enduring, inescapable, and unfulfilled longings of the contradictory human heart: the helpless yearnings found across radically different times and cultures. And among these permanent desires, the need for home and the need for ecstasy stand preeminent.Donna Tartt made her name with 1992’s bestselling murder-by-paganism tale The Secret History, which explored our longing for ecstatic release from the self. Th … [Read more...]


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