William Doino Jr. on the modern films and the enamel of our souls:
During the height of the Sopranos’ appeal, it was amazing to see how many practicing Catholics were addicted to the series—notwithstanding its ultraviolent, sexually degrading content—discussing each episode, as if the experience was no more unusual than attending a local parish council. Alas, one suspects they knew more about the depravity of Tony Soprano and his fictional family than they did about John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which specifically condemns abuses in the audiovisual arts; or the 1989 pontifical document directly linking “sadistic violence” in film with pornography.
Also today, John Daniel Davidson reviews The Good of the Novel:
Declaring the novel dead has been a kind of parlor game in the literary world for a century. Every now and then a prominent critic will proclaim anew that fiction as we know it is finished and offer a vision of what’s to come. A few years ago Lee Siegel did the honors with a New York Observer op-ed that argued contemporary fiction is culturally irrelevant, hermetic, and crassly commercial.