“Last Year’s Horror Cornucopia: Suffering in Style”: I’m at First Things

every Halloween is self-parody Halloween: Last night I watched The Final Girls, Todd Strauss-Schulson's 2015 slasher parody about mourning. It's charming, touching, and mostly successful—and a great example of the reasons 2015 specifically and the '10s generally have been such great years for horror fans. 2015 was just a cornucopia of bloody fruit: the lush Gothic fantasy of Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, David Cronenberg's nihilistic satire/poignant ghost story Maps to the Stars, and J … [Read more...]

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Pascale Monnin, An Artist of Haitian Resurrection

Over the weekend I discovered a new artist: the Swiss-Haitian painter and sculptor Pascale Monnin. Monnin's sculptures were what struck me most. She uses raku, a technique in which glazed clay is taken from the kiln and immediately plunged into water, creating cracks across the sculpture's surface which are then filled with smoke and soot. So her faces have turquoise veins across their delicate pale skins, and the soft curves of nose and cheek are contrasted to the forking raku lines. The faces … [Read more...]

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(How) Do Scary Gay Statistics Matter?

Ever since that Courage conference I've been trying to figure out a way to write a post about the many, many, many problems with the way scary statistics about gay people are deployed in some Christian circles. You know the thing I'm talking about: Gay people are more likely to be depressed, to beat our partners, to use drugs and abuse alcohol (why do you call it abuse when the alcohol never complains), to die young and leave a fabulous corpse, lol I'm clearly making myself angry just typing … [Read more...]

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“The Night I Outran My Demons”: A British Doctor

check out the tags on this article...: Looking back over my 29 years as a medic, I think my year at the cancer hospital was the hardest. Every fourth day and weekend without fail, I would cover the intensive care unit for 24 hours as the resident middle-grade doctor. In all my time there, not one patient survived, though not for lack of trying. Not one. more … [Read more...]

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Take Me to Church–But Not the Ones that Hurt: Starting a Book Project

Hey y'all. This is all in the very, very first stages, but I'm talking with a publisher about the possibility of doing a book of essays by Catholics who were badly mistreated by their churches or by Catholic communities or institutions, but who continue to practice the faith. My working title is Wounded in the House of a Friend, so that gives you sort of the idea. I'm looking for a wide range of experiences--there are so many different sorrows--and a wide range of genres, from personal memoir to … [Read more...]

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The Human Heart Is a Cactus, The Desert Makes It Bloom: Notes on Friendship and a Courage Conference

So I was invited to a conference run by Courage, a Catholic ministry to people with same-sex attraction. Prof. Janet Smith and I had a dialogue which I thought went fairly well, and which I think they'll eventually make available online. I also have an essay in the book that resulted from the conference, Living the Truth in Love. Here are three smallish thoughts about friendship, in light of what got said at that conference.1. One of the speakers was Dan Mattson, and as always I was so … [Read more...]

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“Selling Plasma to Survive: How Over a Million American Families Live on $2 a Day”: New Book from Kathryn Edin

coauthor of the excellent Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City: In early 2011, 1.5 million American households, including 3 million children, were living on less than $2 in cash per person per day. Half of those households didn't have access to in-kind benefits like food stamps, either. Worst of all, the numbers had increased dramatically since 1996.Those are the astonishing findings Johns Hopkins' Kathryn … [Read more...]

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