Art, Propaganda and Evil's Easy Way – UPDATE

At 50th Annual Academy Awards bash of 1977, Vanessa Redgrave thanked the Academy for giving her an Oscar (for "Julia") despite "the threats of of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums."The respected screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky wasted no time in responding to Redgrave's provocation: "I am sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal propaganda," he said, memorably.Chayefsky was speaking to the wind. Why wouldn't the people who lived and worked … [Read more...]

Colbert's Covert Catechesis

Matt Emerson, who has recently served up some excellent, challenging and provocative reads for us in the Catholic portal (and will soon be launching his own column with us) considers Stephen Colbert's sly, "cloak and dagger catechesis" and why it makes him a cheerful ambassador for the church, and perhaps the "best thing going" in American Catholicism.Colbert is a practicing Catholic and so is his character, and sometimes something apostolic appears to break through. Consider the confetti of … [Read more...]

How lovely is this?

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Oprah's Final Show – UPDATED

Over at National Review they're running a Symposium exploring whether Oprah Winfrey's long-running talk show has been a net-positive or negative for the nation.I participated in the symposium, along with Charlotte Allen, Cal Thomas, Suzanne Venker, Danielle Bean, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, Pia de Solenni and many others. It makes for a very interesting round-up of opinionsMy own response was quickly dashed-off and had I taken more time, I believe I would have stricken the too-easy joke at … [Read more...]

Resistance & Humility Feed Creativity

My column at First Things this week is all about the efficacy of the word "no" in our lives, and how deadening to the spirit and one's own creative juices is can be to hear only praise, and no criticism:Nothing quite so humbles as a tumble, and humility is often the deep place where creativity resides. When a successful artist or writer becomes so insulated from criticism that he never comprehends a failure, or when he has gone a decade or two without hearing the word “no” spoken in his dir … [Read more...]

The Church is not a Democracy – UPDATED

As Holy Week approaches we can always count on provocative headlines, like Time Magazine's Is Hell Dead? which looks at the latest book by Evangelical preacher Rob Bell. In October, it wouldn't warrant a cover, I'm sure.This entire Lent, however, the Catholic church in America has been roiling with Cult of Personality issues. The scandals of recent years have shaken the faithful; Rome seems distant to many and in our media-obsessed society a passionate orator proclaiming "the truth" … [Read more...]

Are you Happy?

When my Elder son was very small, and was trying to figure out facial expressions, he would ask me, or my husband, or the lady at the grocery store, "Are you 'appy?"He was missing his h's for a little while.Sometimes my husband and I will still tease each other with that. He'll see me looking pensive and ask "are you 'appy?"It's a sweet question, and it always makes me smile, for the warm memories of my son at such a young age. But sometimes I wonder if, rather than asking people if … [Read more...]

The Confession, Fr. Corapi, SOLT, Baseball, More!

Have any of you folks been watching The Confession, on Hulu? I saw the first three chapters and found the confession scenes just riveting:When a cold-blooded hitman bursts into a hotel room to execute someone, the intended victim does something unexpected: he asks the hitman for a moment to make his peace with God. The hitman lowers his gun as the victim takes a chain with a crucifix from around his neck, holds it tightly in his hands, kneels down with eyes closed, and begins moving his lips … [Read more...]

"The Music Box" – Intriguing!

Joseph Susanka, our resident movie maniac -- you should read his piece on the future of film -- sends this along. I likee!Stay with it; it's very inventive and charming and winning! … [Read more...]

Another reason to defund PBS!

Mad men, sad men and ... happy men?Is it too difficult for Sesame Street to teach the concept of gladness? While watching this video, everything in me was screaming, "glad! GLAD! You're GLAD MEN!"They missed an opportunity to make education dynamic: "This makes me happy! This makes me GLAD!""Happy, happy, happy, we're GLAD men!""We've been mad, sad, and glad!Add "glad" and you've given the children the concept of a synonym, plus a fun rhyme, and you've added a little wordplay for the … [Read more...]