The Restoration and War

A stray M16 on my pulpit in Shukvani, Afghanistan

Written on Memorial Day, 2014  This is my first Memorial Day home after combat.  In Afghanistan, I prayed over the injured, the dying, and the dead—and I suppose it's fitting to pray for all of them again, today.  I'm not as haunted by the dead as I am by these words, which I often heard when a casualty came in and a Marine or Sailor would respond, "Don't worry, Chaps: it's only an Afghan."  I suppose the moral wounds are greater than the physical. As a mili … [Read more...]

There Will Be Blood

On Saturday President Obama took to the podium in the Rose Garden and announced that he had decided that in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, resulting in well over a thousand casualties including hundreds of children, he believed that the United States “should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”  Acknowledging paralysis at the level of the United Nations Security Council and a lack of will even among our closest allies, he assert … [Read more...]

A Plea for Identity on the Internet

I recently watched a preview for The Fifth Estate, the new film about WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.  At one point in the trailer, which seems to me to lean toward an image of a crusader for democracy and free speech, Benedict Cumberbatch earnestly portrays Assange as telling a hushed crowd, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. But if you give him a mask, he WILL tell you the truth.”I don’t buy it.Much as I have studied, discussed, and analyzed the questions surrou … [Read more...]

The Ethics of Bad Friends and Good Art

horvath

"We can keep being friends, just so long as you know you're a bad one!"What a line. Hannah Horvath, everyone's favorite narcissist, coked out of her mind and newly freed of her inhibitions, captured the entire ethos of the show Girls, in 15 words.The scene came back to me when I saw yesterday's new trailer for the next season of the show. It looks fabulous. Hannah's cut her hair! Jessa's reappeared from Peru/Bali/the South Bronx! The inevitable manslaughter-suicide of Ray and Shoshanna … [Read more...]


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