The Further Adventures of Melinda Selmys

I have many friends who loved Melinda Selmys's 2009 book, Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism, in which she explored the philosophical issues arising from her own shift from lesbian atheist to married Catholic mom. It did not work for me at all. I admit that I am probably overly-harsh on Gay Catholic Whatnot. I wrote my own book--forthcoming Fall 2014 from Ave Maria Press, GET EXCITED--because nobody else had yet written the book I wanted to read. But I … [Read more...]

“Thanks for Sharing”: Let Your Inhibitions Run Wild

Helen Rittelmeyer is obviously right that we're in a cultural moment where addiction and recovery provide almost the only common language we have for exploring subjects like grace, penitence, and hope. Thanks for Sharing, the sex-addiction romcom starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark "Ruffalo Ruffalo ruffalo ruffalo ruffalo Ruffalo ruffalo" Ruffalo (...sorry), is yet another example of Helen's point. Ruffalo (ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict named Adam, who after five years of sexual sobriety is … [Read more...]

“In Love and Struggle”: I review LaToya Ruby Frazier at the Brooklyn Museum

It's a terrific show, closing THIS SUNDAY, so check it out if you're in the area! It’s the kind of Mother’s Day card you might give if you come from an especially unflinching family: A mother stands tall and imposing in front of the camera, facing it squarely and glaring at it. The daughter stands behind her mother–she’s slim enough that her body fits entirely behind her mom’s, as her face looks away and down. Their two shadows merge on the wall, creating one larger, indistinct shadow. The mothe … [Read more...]

“The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness”: For when you’re done reading about the new pope

I'm at Acculturated. Don't worry, it's not an endorsement of "happiness research": The title of this article is also the title of a 2009 study by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. The study looked at data from the United States and Europe, focusing on the period from the 1970s to the mid-2000s: a time of medical advances, the second wave of feminism, the rise of no-fault divorce and the personal computer. And also a period in which women got less happy—both absolutely, and re … [Read more...]

Unnatural Women and Natural-Law Feminism

One cheap but useful definition of natural law is that it's the belief that there is a universal human nature which is knowable by reason (and here we fight about what we mean by "reason," but ignore that for now), and so our desires can be rightly ordered based on what would express and support this nature, even though we have never seen this nature instantiated anywhere in our lives or history, ever. You can see why this is both a tempting place to ground your ethics, and a tough sell to … [Read more...]

“Love Contract”

That was the original (and better) title of Mike Bartlett's Contractions, a one-act play I saw at the Studio Theater on Wednesday. The play starts when Emma, some kind of saleswoman, is called to a sterile, glowy dystopian boardroom to speak with a corporate apparatchik about a possible contract violation. The apparatchik, also a lady, has her read the section of her contract on "romantic or sexual relationships." The contract requires all employees to notify management when they begin such a … [Read more...]

A Vindication of the Rights of Clip-Joint Girls

Recently watched "Marked Woman," an early Bette Davis/Humphrey Bogart flick in which Davis is a nightclub hostess who tries to go up against the toughest gangster in town after he kills her sister. Bogart is the crusading, by which I mean lecturing, DA. It's actually a startlingly powerful film, largely because it takes everything about the clip-joint girls' lives so seriously: their friendships, their families, their courage, their distinctive personalities. It's about the compromises they made … [Read more...]


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