June 4, 2021

reviewin’: A half-century after ARPANET created networks of computers, the “Internet novel” is coming of age at last. Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This and Samit Basu’s Chosen Spirits take radically different approaches to depicting the unreal cities we’ve created online: the time-sucks and the comments-box arenas, the sloughs of scrolling despond and the candylands of trivia. Reading either novel will show you something about this shadow-world. Reading both together gets you even closer to understanding the experience—sometimes choral, sometimes cacophonic—of life online. more those who subscribe to… Read more

May 28, 2021

No theme! The Lunchroom: Argentinian/Uruguayan drama about two office janitors who also run the building’s lunchroom. When new management arrives, it turns out that the lunchroom is against government regulations. Lila battles to save the lunchroom, while her best friend and former co-conspirator Marcela seeks revenge for what she sees as Lila’s role in her daughter’s firing. In summary this movie sounds like I should love it. It’s got people on the lower rungs of society building and defending small… Read more

May 13, 2021

with interviews, and some reflections on how influential the theories behind conversion therapy really are in Catholic families and institutions: In order to understand the inner experience of conversion therapy, I interviewed nine people who sought or were pressed into therapy to change their sexual orientation under Catholic auspices, several of whom received this therapy within the past 20 years. Although only a small minority of L.G.B.T. Catholics will ever seek conversion therapy, the assumptions underlying that therapy often influence… Read more

May 12, 2021

and discover more than I expected: …Generation X is something stranger than a novel of social observation. It is a scrappy, almost zinelike collage of images, marginal text, and patchwork narratives, making it feel like a back issue of a magazine that never quite existed. It’s full of incisive nouvelle slang: “McJob: A low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one.” Coupland provides all the… Read more

May 4, 2021

Hitchcock and horror. First up, I rewatched two films in which Ingrid Bergman plays an intensely honorable dipsomaniac. This may have been an expectations game, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed Under Capricorn more than Notorious this time around. On an intellectual level the relationship in Notorious makes sense to me: Cary Grant’s character hides his true feelings because of emotional repression, and maybe also because he thinks undermining the Bergman character’s confidence will commit her more… Read more

April 19, 2021

I’m in the America spring books issue: As contemporary secular writers notice how attenuated our concept of friendship has become and look for ways to build lives where friendship is central, they are also rediscovering the sacrifices common to deep friendships. A new book, Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close, by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, gives one of the best defenses of sacrificial friendship I have read in a long time. more Read more

March 29, 2021

Lol I promise that is the last non-Holy Week appropriate movie I will watch until after Easter. OTOH I did watch it last night. Anyways this is a 2009 Karyn Kusama/Diablo Cody joint about a best-friendship whose lowkey destructiveness turns highkey after one of the two friends gets turned into a succubus. It’s got so much going for it. I love any horror movie about friendship (Creep, Let the Right One In); I love especially when it’s two girls; I… Read more

March 22, 2021

You guys, sometimes I get tired of being a self-parody. But then I watch something like The Rules of Attraction (2002, but in a very 1999 kind of way), and I love it, and I have to accept my station in life. Rules is a comedy (????) of undergraduate sexual folly, based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis & set at a college which I assume is based loosely on Bennington. It opens with a scene mixing weird brilliance… Read more

March 17, 2021

I said my main thing about the CDF statement on blessing same-sex unions already & I think that was fine, lol, but even at the time there was one strand I wondered if I should explore further. I noted that in Western traditions of vowed friendship, in which friends became kin to one another and accepted the obligations as well as the joys of kinship, a priest’s blessing was not actually traditional. The friends’ commitment to one another was displayed… Read more

March 15, 2021

expanding on the thing I’m quoted saying in this America piece. My apologies if the line breaks are weird; this is c&p’d from my email. I’m glad that the CDF mentioned “positive elements” of sexually-active gay relationships. It’s an act of wisdom and humility to see that many people enter into these relationships because they’re trying to lead lives of care, devotion, and love. But what happens when people in such a union come to the Church and seek Her… Read more

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