“Divine Disco: The beatific sub-genre that delivered sermons on the dance floor”: The Guardian

grauniading: With its reputation for sex, drugs and unbridled hedonism, disco doesn’t have a reputation as the most god-fearing genre. But, as every clubber knows, on a great night you can have something akin to a spiritual experience on the dancefloor, putting your hands in the air and giving yourself over to a higher power: music itself.A new compilation, put together by DJ and inveterate crate-digger Greg Belson, confirms that the cultures of Saturday night and Sunday morning aren’t so di … [Read more...]

Kids Under 12 Drink Free: I review the “AbFab” movie & “Bojack Horseman”

together! The third season of Bojack Horseman arrived the same day the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie opened here in D.C. So audiences who want to watch appetitive people careening through aimless lives have two starkly opposed portrayals of antiheroes who gobble drugs and guzzle booze, corrupt minors, and abase themselves for fame and maybe kill people.AbFab is the simpler pleasure. The movie plays like an extended episode of the TV show, in which lifelong best … [Read more...]

I Don’t Believe in Modern Love (But I Do Love “Modern Manners”)

Recently revisited Modern Manners: An Etiquette Guide for Rude People, my favorite PJ O'Rourke. I think what makes it work is the mix of elements. It's mostly corny humor, like the extended segment on food fights ("Use a raw oyster to show someone what a French kiss would be like if she'd married a reptile"). There's also a lot of witticism: a lot of peppy, preppy cynicism. But mixed into all that there is just enough genuine insight (the bit about how modern people have replaced love with … [Read more...]

Sad Bible Songs: I review Harrison Lemke’s “Fertile Crescent Blues”

at First Things: "Christian pop is unrelentingly cheerful.” That was Leah Libresco's conclusion when she analyzed the frequency of positive and negative terms (“grace” vs. “sin,” for example, or “love” vs. “fear”) in Billboard's Christian pop top-50. Grace and love and life and light are all great things. But if your soul needs a smoke break from the endless Christian pep rally, a lay-me-down instead of yet another pick-me-up, Harrison Lemke's beautiful new album Fertile Crescent Blues is what y … [Read more...]

Antisocial Housing: I review “High-Rise”

at AmCon: The xkcd cartoon “Logic Boat” shows the familiar problem of the man who has to carry a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage across a river. The problem: “The boat only holds two, and you can’t leave the goat with the cabbage or the wolf with the goat.”There’s a logic-puzzle solution here. There’s also the xkcd solution: “Leave the wolf. Why do you have a wolf?”High-Rise is a dystopian science-fiction flick about an experimental skyscraper in an alternate-history ’70s Britain. Eccentric … [Read more...]

Amoris Laetitia: Pregnancy Counseling, Penitence, And Pudding

my take at First Things:Philip Larkin lamented that whether or not anybody refills your drink at a party “seems to turn on where you are. Or who.” In our divided Catholic Church, pastoral care is a lot like Larkin's cocktails. Catholics who sincerely desire to submit themselves to the Church they love come to their local parish seeking the wine of resurrection; and receive sometimes water, sometimes vinegar. If you're in an especially culturally-contentious position, you may be favored with a … [Read more...]

“Needing My Neighbor”: Great piece by Matthew Loftus

“I’ve always wanted to help people.” My medical school application essay opened with those words, and when I came to Baltimore at age twenty to start my medical training, I was dead-set on helping people in Africa. After two years of attending church in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, though, I fell in love with the community, so my wife and I decided to move into the neighborhood in 2009. I admired the work my church there was doing to deal with the poverty, racism, and institutional negle … [Read more...]