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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

March 6, 2021

Four very different films–all of which I’d recommend! This past week has been very good to me as a moviegoer. (Or, you know, a moviestayhomeinmychildhoodbedroomandclick”begin streaming”er.) I also reviewed Minari for America magazine. I also really liked that movie, which, pace the Golden Globes, is so American it might as well play “The Old Rugged Cross” over the closing credits. My Darling Supermarket: This is a Brazilian documentary about a supermarket and the people who work there. It starts out… Read more

March 5, 2021

I’m at America: A boy starts to run across a field, and his parents call out to him to stop, to be careful of his weak heart. A tornado threatens the mobile home where they live, but it doesn’t reach them. The boy and his sister convince their grandmother, who speaks only Korean, that Mountain Dew is a health food. A white man carries a huge wooden cross down a country road, and when the boy’s baffled parents offer him… Read more

March 1, 2021

I recently watched 17 Blocks on streaming. This is a documentary shot over almost twenty years, with some of the filming done by the subjects: a black possibly-Catholic family on the harder side of DC. (We see a family funeral at a Protestant church but also references to Confirmation names and attending Mass, and a couple other hints which make me think they might be Catholic or maybe mixed-faith.) The fact that the family did some of the filming themselves… Read more

February 4, 2021

writing about the penitential peace movements of medieval Italy, and their lessons for the contemporary US: …Throughout the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries peace movements arose in Italy’s blood-rich soil: As a Florentine official described one such movement, “They seek peace, they pray for peace, they repeat peace, and all in one voice they call for peace, they clamor for peace.” The peace preachers were not only priests but also brothers from the new mendicant orders, the Franciscans and the Dominicans,… Read more




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