Beauty Will Survive

Beauty may not save the world, but it can do more than that: beauty will survive.There is no reason to worry or feel insecure about the fate of beauty.Beauty will be okay.Beauty is, always has been, even in deep time, and the future will not be any different.This prediction cannot be supported, but it is true: beauty needs nothing to be.Beauty flirts with and seduces nihilism, with total hope.The universal beauty of things --- the world, history, eternity, and what may live beyond … [Read more...]

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An Aesthetic Critique of Youth Ministry: Miley Cyrus vs. Bonnie Raitt

MARC BARNES' CRITIQUE OF YOUTH MINISTRY has, predictably, gone viral. Today there is a measured and intelligent response posted at Fr. Robert Barron's site, The Word on Fire, written by Fr. Damian J. Ference.This back and forth reveals many studious and sophisticated things: church documents and properly understood Catholic teaching and tradition. The important stuff.The only thing I will add to that discussion is this: there is no reason to assume that, if parents are the primary educators o … [Read more...]

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Criticizing Criticism and The Blue Evangelization: A Rejoinder

Read this first. This post is about that post. +++ It is not my first time being (mis)understood as a curmudgeon, provocateur, and a snob. I'm sure it won't be my last and I am not proud of that. I'm actually quite ambivalent about it. Polemics are a refuge for me, I feel at home in a debate. It comforts me. But I also grow weary and bored of the routine. More than anything else, debate is a routine. At best it is a subtle dance, at worst it is an exercise in shame and humiliation --- not unlike … [Read more...]

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Why Serious Catholics Should Hate Catholic Stuff

I love Mexican food.Bordertown street cuisine, Tex-Mex comfort food, and Southwestern red and green chiles and sopapillas...Tacos al pastor, tortas, elote (en vaso), carne guisada, frijoles a la charra, CABRITO AL PASTOR. I love the drinks, the tamarindo, the key lime, cilantro, the salt. Heat that actually isn't too hot.Mariscos, fresh.Una coca bien fria --- a Coca-Cola in an ice-cold glass bottle.The soups: from a clear, crisp fish soup to a beefy sopa de res. Or the spicy balance … [Read more...]

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LIVE at The Empire UPDATED

Last night I played the first all-original set I've played since 2006, at Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis, at The Empire theatre in downtown Grand Forks, North Dakota. The show lasted just over an hour and a half and I played songs I've written from 2003 to the present. I was joined by my brother-in-law, Shawn Kolles, on drums. Here is most of the full show (with part II below)  and, below that, I'll add links to the individual songs as they get uploaded. Enjoy!SPANISH CHOIR THERE WAS A BOY WHAT … [Read more...]

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LIVE FREE AND DIE

Libertines, everywhere. We have conservative libertines, liberal libertines, secular libertines, and religious libertines. We have reactionary libertines, sexual libertines, social libertines, cannabis libertines, economic libertines, and anarchist libertines. Groupie communitarian libertines, solo individualistic libertines, populist proletariat libertines, and ironic aristocrat libertines. Indigenous sovereignty libertines, nativist isolationist libertines, border-crossing pragmatic … [Read more...]

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The Womb of Love: A Womanist Manifesto

The Ascension is a soft-spoken Catholic feast about dwelling in a prolonged and reoccurring Advent.More and more, I feel like all feasts eventually collapse on each other, but today the feast of the Ascension feels unique because of its peculiar absence, its anti-climatic and even surprising exit.Birth, Death, and Resurrection is much more straightforward. It covers all the bases and leaves no loose ends.But there's more? Yes, yes, there is. Salvation history is an infomercial.Like the … [Read more...]

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(Un)Fashionable Nostalgia

I grew up wearing second-hand clothes. And hating it. Shopping was always ritual in humiliation. The psychology of used clothing, at least when you’re in high school, is all about branding. If I could buy a brand that was popular enough, Goodwill would always outdo Wal-Mart.When I didn’t find the right brand, when the cool clothes just weren’t there or didn’t fit, I'd go for the obscure names and console myself with the conviction that my obscure threads were actually cooler than cool. I suppos … [Read more...]

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Beyond the Funk: Prayers for Quvenzhane Wallis UPDATED

Last night on Twitter, during the fanfare of the Oscars, the satirical news publication, The Onion, posted a perverse tweet about nine-year-old actress, Quvenzhane Wallis, from Beasts of the Southern Wild. The tweet referred to the beautiful young girl using the C-word.The intent was clear: juxtapose the most adorable person at the Oscars with the most revolting description imaginable---and get lots of attention. Well they got it and now they seem to regret it. They removed the tweet, which on … [Read more...]

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Solidarity in Vulgarity: The Funk in Racist Jokes (A Reprise)

As a sequel to my previous Black History Month re-post, "White History Month," from earlier this month, here is an essay I published in the X-Position, the journal of  The Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies at Wabash College, last year. Enjoy!  Solidarity in Vulgarity: The Funk in Racist Jokes“I don’t want your stupid ethnic dances, I want dirty jokes!”-Slavoj Zizek“Gonna have a funky good time, gonna have a funky good time!”-James Brown“The man of knowledge must be able not on … [Read more...]

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