A Poisonous Portrait of Partnership

polypic

In a coda to my series on Lewis, Sondheim, and friendship, I'm back at The American Conservative today to respond to a feature from The Atlantic on polyamory.  Here's a teaser, and you can read the full post at AmCon.  Marital Completionism: A Bad Model for Thruples and Couples Alike Why assume you need to make compromises to achieve connubial bliss?In an article for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan profiles several polyamorous couplesand wonders whether more families should consider open … [Read more...]

Missing Facets of a Friendship

frank charlie

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.In Merrily We Roll Along, composer Frank loses his friendship with his writing partner, Charlie, but their mutual friend, Mary, manages to stay close to both of them for a while afterwards, before she and Frank have their final fight.  But, as Lewis would argue, Mary is impoverished by her friends' falling out, even though she continues to see bot … [Read more...]

Christ’s Loyal Widows [Pope Francis Bookclub]

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In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In this week's chapter of Open Mind, Faithful Heart, Pope Francis braids together three moments in Christ's ministry: his discoverty by the Magi, his baptism, and the wedding at Cana.  As Francis tells it, these stories are all about Chr … [Read more...]

Putting the Casual Back in Casual Dating

Buffy Riley

Boston College students have been signing up for a class on dating, using it as a precommitment device to go on actual dates.  (Extra credit is given to any student who asks out someone s/he is romantically interested in -- in person only). [Professor Kerry] Cronin says this all came together for her during a lecture she gave about the campus hookup culture eight years ago. She says she was nervously anticipating controversial questions about sex and intimacy, but instead one student asked, … [Read more...]

Designing Emotional Contraception

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Over at The American Conservative, I'm discussing a bioethicist who's done a literature review to find anti-love drugs.  He's not discussing science fiction, but drugs that currently exist which could have the side effects of suppressing lust, attraction, and/or attachment if prescribed off label (anti-depressants are high on the list).  His ethics questions are mostly focused on the level of the individual, but I've got concerns about how they'd shift societal expectations about responsibility a … [Read more...]

Praying with Viola’s Firm Resolve

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Ross Douthat and PEG have been having a back and forth over the possibility of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics (part 1, part 2, part 3), and my attention was caught by Douthat's discussion of the "firm resolve" to turn from sin required to make a good confession and return to communion.  He writes: To use a higher-stakes version of the professional case Gobry references — if you work at a job that by its nature requires grave sin for full participation (let’s say, I dunno, you’re … [Read more...]

What Are Shakespeare’s Lovers Talking About?

beaucoup de bruit pour rien

I don't have any strong opinions yet about Nate Silver's revamped FiveThirtyEight, but, on their first day, they did have a piece on statistics and Shakespeare, and, what can I say, I'm an easy mark.Emma Pierson took a look at how many lines any given pair of characters in a play spoke to each other.  (She tried out four methods of tallying, described in her footnotes).  Here's what she found: I wanted Romeo and Juliet to end up together — if they couldn’t in the play, at least they could in … [Read more...]


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