“Poor Citizenship”: I watch “Behavior,” a 2014 drama of Cuban childhood and faith

review at AmCon: Behavior, the 2014 movie from Cuban writer and director Ernesto Daranas that is still playing festival circuits in the U.S., is not one-of-a-kind. It is not unprecedented; it does not break (much) new ground. What it is, is an exceptionally heartfelt, moving, and artistically accomplished example of its genre. As Brooklyn is what an Irish-American romance should aspire to be, so Behavior is the “coming of age in the underclass” story at its most luminous. more … [Read more...]

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From What’s Probably an Afterword to Andrey Platonov, “The Foundation Pit”

this book looks super All these works appear at first glance--especially to a reader unversed in Soviet history--to be highly surreal. This impression, however, is misleading; they contain barely an incident or a passage that does not directly relate to some real event or publication from these years. Platonov's focus is not on some private dream world but on political and historical reality--a reality so extraordinary as to be barely credible. buy book here; cf also my constant refrain, … [Read more...]

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“Tony Kushner’s Communist Turducken”: I watch “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures”

for AmCon: My heart is by dejection, clay And by self-murder, red.–John Donne, “A Litany”Gus’s heart is Red, all right. He’s a 72-year-old Communist Party member, former longshoreman, and union organizer; he’s already tried to kill himself once, and has called his children together to explain his new plan: Sell their Brooklyn brownstone, split the proceeds among the kids, then finish himself off. Tony Kushner’s “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key t … [Read more...]

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Musical Rosary #13: Descent of the Holy Spirit

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Kind of a stretch today, but the Holy Spirit calls us together and guides us when we act as a Christian community. Pentecost is a story of diversity within unity: the wildly varied languages which express a common call from God, like the many weird vocations by which we serve that same … [Read more...]

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From Yumiko Kurahashi, “The Adventures of Sumiyakist Q”

“Everything’s permitted here, you see. I suppose one could say with the theology instructor that if God does not exist then everything is permitted; but here it doesn’t matter if God exists or if he doesn’t, since one is free to do everything. The result of making use of this freedom is that the one freedom one does not have is that of knowing what is going on.” --it's a Japanese surrealist satire of Communism; check out Helen Rittelmeyer's review here … [Read more...]

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“The Secret Document That Transformed China”

via Ratty, and definitely read to the end (it's short): In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal pro … [Read more...]

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