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...]

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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...]

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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...]

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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 … [Read more...]

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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...]

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"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...]

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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...]

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Religion, Apps and New Media

Last week I mentioned that Eliot Spitzer and CNN had renamed their re-tooled panel show, turning Parker Spitzer, into In the Arena, and I groused that there is already a panel show by that name being aired by the Diocese of Brooklyn, which you can see each spring here.This week we'll be talking about the latest on the deplorable and depressing scandal within the church - you can watch that tonight at 7PM, Eastern or again at 11:30PM, if you're inclined.Last week's show was great fun, though, … [Read more...]

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Sweet Promise and Rank Propaganda

If you missed Sr. Lisa Doty talking about talking in Church, do check her out, and while you're over at the portal, do yourself a favor and avail yourself of some thoughts on promises and propaganda.First, read Max Lindenman -- typically sharp, sweet and funny -- On Dating Nice Catholic Girls:Annie Proulx once ascribed to a crippled ex-rodeo cowboy "a carved-wood quietude common among people who had been a long time without sex, out of the commerce of the world." That's it: the visible sign … [Read more...]

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In the Arena vs Oscar Dresses! UPDATED

I know, I know, the Oscars Red Carpet dresses/runway show begins at 7:00 PM, but if you're not into that, you might want to consider heading over to www.netny.net to watch this week's episode of the real (Spitzer-free) "In the Arena" where Jane Hanson, Commonweal's Grant Gallicho, Msgr. Kieran Harrington and I had a great time skype-talking to Patrick Leinen, one of the designers of the "Confession app," and playing with my iPad; we also talked alternative media, blogs - it was a fun show, so if … [Read more...]

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