Author Archive

O Lord our Lord, Shining in the Starlight

So, I feel kind of weird posting something so very pink here, but whatever the argument requires, I guess:

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Brains v. Babies (But Only in Books)

I’ve read many a classic in my time, but if you give me a choice, I’ll almost always pick up a children’s book.  Yes, of course there’s plenty of rubbish marketed at the 8-12 set (or good books wrapped in rubbish covers – I’m looking at you, copy of Mr. Popper’s Penguins with Jim Carrey’s mug on the front!) but there’s a long history of really excellent reading as well.  One of the reasons I love children’s literature is the impact it has; without us realizing it, the books we read as children shape the way we think about the world.  This is good if you read good books like A Wrinkle in Time or The Wednesday Wars, but can also be problematic. Continue reading

On Reading a Good Book I Didn’t Like

Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying “Classics are books which people praise and don’t read.”  As there are about a million variations of this sentiment floating around the internet, I’ve decided not to pick a fight with his definition of a classic.  Instead, I’ve been contemplating the idea of what makes a book good – a far more subjective and tenuous concept. Continue reading

On Duties (Sort Of)

Lately I’ve been thinking about duty, so the other day I picked up Cicero’s On Duties to help my thought project.  Unfortunately, the second book – all I happen to have on my shelf – doesn’t have much to say about the kind of duty I’ve been pondering.  It does have a good many other things to say, however. Continue reading

Lenten Feasting

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the forty days before Easter set aside for reflection, meditation, and penitence.  For many people, myself often included, “Lent” is synonymous with “fasting”; “What are you giving up for Lent?” is a common question as the season approaches.  While, certainly, Lent has far more depth than can be plumbed by not going on Facebook or eating cookies, the daily denial offers the most obvious reminder of this very somber reason for the season.  I was raised in many low- or non-denominational churches that never mentioned Lent, but since I entered college I’ve found the practice of sorrow to be extremely useful as I approach the Easter celebration.  However, this year I’ve realized that Easter seeps through even the intentionally joyless period, never letting one forget the joy of the Resurrection. Continue reading

When the Whole Truth is Too Much: A Response to Christopher Hitchens

In the last month or so, Christopher Hitchens has written several articles about The King’s Speech, which, this last weekend, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.  In the first, Hitchens states that while he thinks the film well made, it has several historical errors he wishes had been addressed, primarily dealing with the film’s portrayal of Winston Churchill.  The second, written in response to an interview with the screenwriter David Seidler, makes the same points more vitriolically.  A more serious accusation receives more attention in this article as well: that George VI (known in the film as Bertie) and his government actively pursued an appeasement policy towards Hitler in the late 1930s.  I do not intend to find fault with Hitchens’ history; I am not a 20th century historian and know far more about the dynastic alliances of 15th century Habsburgs than Churchill’s foreign policy.  However, I do believe his articles do both the movie and the general public a disservice by insisting that the entire truth be told. Continue reading

On the Public Persona

Or, Introducing Alica
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