November 29, 2022

In the last couple of weeks, there’s been a lot of intense discussion surrounding Stephen Wolfe’s new book The Case for Christian Nationalism. (I have a much longer review of that volume forthcoming.) Most of the recent drama surrounds Wolfe’s longtime podcast collaborator Thomas Achord, who was recently discovered to have been tweeting out antisemitic and white nationalist statements under a pseudonym. In the minds of many of Wolfe’s critics, Achord’s apparent embrace of “kinism”—a philosophy of racial separatism justified... Read more

October 5, 2022

Allow me a brief meditation on a thing I’ve learned since becoming a dad. Were I a single man, without children, I’d probably spend a lot of time reading in my comfy armchair (technically, I do spend a lot of time doing that, but I’d spend even more). For the sake of argument, let’s say we’re talking about three hours in the evening. That’s a good thing, and it brings me joy. Ever since our son came along, though, our... Read more

September 13, 2022

Spider-Man: No Way Home is one of those movies that, by all accounts, I should’ve enjoyed. Of course, the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men was more than welcome. But as with so many “multiverse”-themed stories, I thought its story beats tended to lack any emotional weight. That being said, the film sparked some thoughts that’ve never quite left me, even nine months later—and I’ve only just come around to formulating them more clearly. The central conflict of... Read more

August 30, 2022

Yesterday, a number of well-regarded theologians—including John Milbank, David Bentley Hart, Adrian Pabst, Phillip Blond, and Eugene McCarraher, among others—published “An Open Letter Responding to the NatCon ‘Statement of Principles’” in the pages of the online magazine The European Conservative. As that title indicates, the open letter is a response to the recent document “National Conservatism: A Statement of Principles” penned by scholars and writers affiliated with the Edmund Burke Institute. The response letter, while expressing support for the NatCon... Read more

August 3, 2022

If you’ve picked up a volume of “literary” fiction in the past decade or so—preferably one that drew favorable coverage in the New York Review of Books or snuck its way onto the Man Booker longlist—you’re probably already familiar with the phenomenon of the “MFA novel.” Strictly speaking, of course, one does not need to have the degree to write such a book. It is a matter of style and tone rather than a rigid descriptor, reflecting the distinctive mode... Read more

June 2, 2022

After seeing a lot of folks I respect rave about it, earlier this week I checked out Everything Everywhere All At Once, a genre-blurring sci-fi drama that’s both delighting critics and defying gravity at the box office. I have a pretty high tolerance for quasi-experimental stories like this, so I expected to really enjoy it. Sadly, I didn’t. (Spoilers ahead. You’re forewarned.) In the very simplest terms, the film recounts the story of Chinese immigrant mother Evelyn (a very good... Read more

May 19, 2022

It’s become almost an article of faith that “toxic fans”—those who like to rail online against the recent installments of sagas like Star Wars and Jurassic Park—are mad about casting diversity, “wokeness,” or bad CGI. That’s always felt incomplete to me. There have been bad movie sequels since time immemorial, but those failures are not all alike. Nobody thinks, for instance, that Jaws is retroactively tarnished by its wretched follow-ups. No, I suspect that the sequels that make audiences genuinely... Read more

May 11, 2022

Over the last week or so, there’s been something of an online dust-up involving the approach to Christian cultural engagement modeled by Tim Keller—pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Keller has long been a favored target of those who would challenge “establishment” American evangelicalism from the right, but in recent weeks he’s been subjected to a level of criticism previously reserved for perceived defectors like Russell Moore. The current brouhaha began when the ever-interesting James Wood published... Read more

April 26, 2022

Over the last few months, in various corners of the internet I’ve started to notice a certain backlash against a “neo-fundamentalism” that is (allegedly) emerging among conservative American Protestants. A common target of such (implicit or explicit) attacks appears to be the publication American Reformer—where, full disclosure, I’ve published some prior work. Danny Slavich characterizes this neo-fundamentalism as follows: First, the new fundamentalism holds secondary and tertiary doctrines as tightly as core Christian convictions, seeing them as a dividing line... Read more

April 4, 2022

Matthew Walther, the decidedly curmudgeonly editor of the wonderful Catholic magazine The Lamp, is always worth reading—and his recent essay, “What Killed Cultural Aspiration,” is no exception. Amidst a cultural moment that tends to insist that video games are no less “art” than the paintings of Jasper Johns or Mark Rothko, Walther shamelessly celebrates the value of highbrow culture for its own sake. And yet Walther’s essay shouldn’t be read as an exercise in snobbishness, but as a defense of... Read more


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