The Lord Yeeteth and the Lord Yoinketh Away: 2021 best-of

The Lord Yeeteth and the Lord Yoinketh Away: 2021 best-of December 23, 2021

Apparently this title is from reddit. I can no longer pretend to be above reddit; one should always be beneath things, plus also they brought us Jorts. Links are usually to my reviews. Previous years are here. (Tell me where all past years are….)

Best books (nonfiction):

5- Peter Brown, Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350 – 550 AD.

4- Mitchell Duneier, Slim’s Table: Race, Respectability, and Masculinity.

ETA: OK, so I couldn’t find the little book where I wrote down what I read in the first part of the year, & forgot various items. I read Philippe Girard’s Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Life, and if I’d remembered it, it would’ve gone here.

3- Alice Baumgartner, South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War.

2- Nicholas Griffin, The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees, and Cocaine in Miami 1980.

1- Amy Richlin, Slave Theater in the Roman Republic: Plautus and Popular Comedy.

Also of note: John Edgar Wideman, Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File.

ETA: I forgot Bridget’s book!!! /o\ Because I’ve only read the draft–should read the final version next year. ANYWAYS Bridget Eileen Rivera’s Heavy Burdens: Seven Ways LGBTQ Christians Experience Harm in the Church has a fair amount that I loved, a fair amount that I disagreed with (or honestly, a lot of it was not about my personal opinion imho, she is coming from a different set of church commitments and there are things here to which as a Catholic I can’t assent, which is a normal thing to happen, lol), a small amount I found undertheorized… and one absolutely enormous, necessary thing, which is just the stories of actual real people. Real lgbtq people, and what they experienced among the people who say that God is Love. A foundational book, both in the sense that we need to build upon it and in the sense that we need it to build upon.

Best books (real books):

5- Douglas Coupland, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.

4- Nina Bouraoui, Tomboy (tr. Salvodon & Gavarini)

3- Mariam Petrosyan, The Gray House (tr. Machkasov)

2- Patricia Lockwood, No One Is Talking About This.

1- Garth Greenwell, Cleanness.

Also of note: Danielle Evans, The Office of Historical Corrections (plus my own historical note here); Joni Murphy, Double Teenage; Phil Klay, Missionaries; Carl Neville, Eminent Domain (this is the hon-mention I am most confident that a lot of my readers would find provocative… if you are down for experimental SF and the phrase “fully-medicated luxury communism” catches your attention, you should grab this); Stephen King, The Dark Half; Ted Chiang, Exhalation and Other Stories; R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, eds., Kink; Samit Basu, Chosen Spirits; Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider (tr. Bernofsky); Joseph Roth, Tarabas: A Guest on Earth (tr. Katzin); Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Slave (tr. Singer & Hemley).

Best movies, 10 instead of five because I couldn’t bear to cut Great Freedom:

10- Raging Bull

9- A Serious Man

8- The Rules of Attraction

7- Great Freedom (review forthcoming)

6- Ganja & Hess

5- The Hole

4- Stromboli

3- Nights of Cabiria

2- My Darling Supermarket

1- Lawrence of Arabia (which I will probably write about in the New Year, finally.)

Also of note: The Social Network, Fires on the Plain, Sleeping Beauty, Night Comes On; The Strangers: Prey at Night; Night of the KingsFlatlinersHis House; The Hitcher; Minari; Project Nim, One Night in Miami, It parts 1 & 2; The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, Hell Night; The Night Porter; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (which I watched because of this podcast, btw–scroll down to February); Drunks, Monsoon Wedding, Dave Made a Maze; Candyman (2021), Salt of the Earth; Venom: Let There Be Carnage; Days of Heaven, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Petite Maman, The Red & the White, The Stepfather.

Best things I wrote for money: 5- “The Violence of Reason: ‘Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985’

4- Can the “redemption arc” be saved?

3- My long reported piece on anti-gay “conversion therapy” in Catholic settings.

2- My Tablet essay on, basically, the “violence interrupters” of late medieval Italy. Neither reform nor revolution but penance. (As with #4, you will need to register your email to read it, but lol I may as well say I hope you take the time to jump through that hoop if you’re interested in criminal punishment and its alternatives.)

1- “Velvet and Pus” at Commonweal–the “Catholic imagination” I discovered on conversion was the queer imagination I’d known before. Or, everybody talks about the Catholic imagination but nobody does anything about it….

Also, I started a substack, basically for writing too incoherent to justify an article. I think it’s gone well! Here are my favorites:

Thomas Becket and Kesha

a long ramble about the dangers of “story” and also playground rhymes for some reason

Then When the Hurdy-Gurdy Man Came Singing Songs of Love

the bit about Vampire: The Masquerade

Putting Morality in Its Place“–I mostly do my Gay Catholic Whatnot elsewhere but this is one substack post I think might be esp relevant to my queerer readers. The second bit, in which I gnaw on “wholesome culture,” I think is also pretty good and perh somewhat less obnoxious than that summary sounds.

And the people’s choice, which I refuse to consider irony: “A Habsburg Behind the Veil of Ignorance.”

Best essays etc by others: I think I will do this as “one thing per genre” rather than ranking them.

genre: economic apocalypse: Lauren Smiley, Wired, “He Thought He Could Outfox the Gig Economy. He Was Wrong.” Heartbreaking and also very well-structured.

here’s another one: Diana Hubbell, Eater, “There Has Been Blood.” On palm oil, and powerless people coming together.

genre: substack post… sorry to my friends but: Aaron A. Reed, 50 Years of Text Games, “1992: Silverwolf.” Seriously, just strap in to this rollercoaster and let it take you.

genre: devotional: Stephen Staten, Black Catholic Messenger, “The Sacred Heart Beats for LGBT Catholics.”

genre: personal essay: Heonju Lee, Plough, “The Baby We Kept.”

genre: BD McClay (although the Margery Kempe one and especially the Netflix Gothic adaptations one are also excellent): Commonweal, “I Firmly Resolve

genre: response to being attacked by a literal serial killer, genre: off-label uses for a plastic roast chicken, AND genre: beard: Iris Benaroia, Toronto Life, “‘I feel like I live in a ballroom in Versailles.’

Also, if you have any interest at all in their subjects, I would strongly recommend subscribing to In Spirit and Truth (about the sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church) and Other Feminisms (about feminisms of interdependence rather than independence).

Miscellany: Here is the text of my speech from this year’s Revoice conference, which is not a bad intro to my basic gay Catholic shtik.

Here is my post about Harrison Lemke’s terrific indie/pop album about debt, getting what you need but don’t deserve, and staying in your hometown for reasons you’re starting to regret: Forever Only Idaho, aka Music to Violate Your Parole Conditions By.

I did an interview with the Pelican, a pro-life newsletter, about crisis pregnancy counseling and depictions of decisionmaking around abortion in art.

Here’s some underrated twittering: devotional/hilarious; meta.

Best book I published in 2021: Tenderness: A Gay Christian’s Guide to Unlearning Rejection and Experiencing God’s Extravagant Love. I’m doing a playlist soon so feel free to suggest songs.

Here, let’s let the Pet Shop Boys close us out, speaking of things that are both extremely gay and extremely Christian.

Cat who’s about as ready for Christmas as I am via Pixabay.

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