Musical Rosary #8–Crowning with Thorns

Weaving a crown out of thorns,they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”--Matt. 27:29They talked for over an hour. Near the end, after they'd been sitting in silence for a while, Burns said quietly, "Do you know what Christ died of?"Rivers looked surprised, but answered readily enough. "Suffocation. Ultimately the position makes it impossible to go on inflating the lungs. A terrible dea … [Read more...]

“Rebellion vs Conformity in ‘We Are the Best!’”: Me at AmSpec

on a terrific new film. And given my readership, I'll note that Hedwig is one of the most fascinating and nuanced Christian characters I can remember in a recent movie which isn't centrally concerned with faith: If We Are the Best! were The Breakfast Club, Allison would make over Claire—and the boys would just be accessories.We Are the Best! is Lukas Moodysson’s confection about middle-school punker chicks in early ’80s Stockholm. Klara (Mira Grosin) is the cute, strident one with the cool  … [Read more...]

Musical Rosary #3–The Nativity

MORE BABIES, until now I don't think I'd realized how much the first three mysteries are like, babies everywhere. I've already posted a nice little Christmas ditty about eviction and racial violence, and anyway, I generally pray this mystery for my own rebirth of sobriety, my rescue from the nightmare basement. I pray to receive sobriety with the joy and gratitude with which Mary welcomed her Child, and to be protective of my very young sobriety as she protected and nurtured the infant … [Read more...]

My Vampire Spring Continues With 1987′s “Near Dark”

HOW HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS MASTERPIECE BEFORE?It is just so successful at doing what it promises. Kathryn Bigelow's horror classic is dusty, full of gorgeous sunsets and terrific use of light, breathtakingly sleazy, and emotionally effective. You get dirtbag biker-type vampires ("How old are you?" "Let's just say, I fought for the South") and a vampire child who's ridiculously fun, then actually scary, and then immensely sad. My jaw dropped at the brutal fights.I liked the moral … [Read more...]

“Music of the Trilobites”: Me in AmSpec

not really a book review!I read John Darnielle’s 2011 novel Master of Reality under the unfamiliar constellations of Australia—which was fitting, since the slender book is about being both physically and spiritually far from home. Master of Reality is an entry in Continuum’s “33 1/3” series of books about pop or rock albums. (The other books in the series tend to be straightforward critical studies.) I’ve never listened to Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, but Darnielle’s diary of a 1980s te … [Read more...]

Cheer Up with the Smiths! I’m at the American Spectator

reporting live from 1984! What everybody forgets about the Smiths is how much fun they were.And not just fun: The band careened through the '80s putting out four studio albums which were joyful, sexy, funny, self-deprecating, silly, and even sometimes compulsively danceable. The myth of Morrissey and his mopey muse has some truth to it—and he made the jokes first, in song titles like “Miserable Lie,” “Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now,” “Pretty Girls Make Graves” and the rest—but the band mocke … [Read more...]

Blogwatch, With Her Gummy Hands

Some links for a slushy Saturday evening."LGBT Rights and the UN: What the Church Does Not Teach." Powerful."Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators." Basically because we've always had it too easy and don't know how to work. I'd heard most of this before and it very much rings true for me--studying Russian has been a fairly brutal confrontation with my own limits, my quick temper and immediate frustration and a whole host of other character defects which are brought out when a task is … [Read more...]


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