What We've Been Reading—2.12.16

Francesca Murphy On the night after the actor Alan Rickman died, I watched the version of Sense and Sensibility in which he plays Colonel Brandon. What a beautiful movie, and what a wonderful performance he gives. Since then I have been reading Sense and Senibility on my kindle. Jane Austen was . . . . Continue Reading »

The Disconnected Establishment

Rod Dreher recently posted excerpts of a letter from one of his readers. It was an extended, largely negative assessment of my analysis of our political moment, “An Abandoned White Middle Class.” There I argued that the changing nature of our leadership class explains the populist rebellion, at . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare Through Anecdotes

Did you hear the one where . . . ?

Paul Menzer has heard it. He’s heard the one with the drunk Richard III, the one with the fat Ghost of Hamlet’s Father stuck in the trapdoor, the one with the father–daughter pair playing Romeo and ­Juliet, the one where Othello’s makeup rubs off on Desdemona’s face to give her a beard. In fact, he’s probably heard several variations on any given Shakespearean anecdote, a handful verifiable, but most patently recycled, exaggerated, or apocryphal—yet in a different sense, in Menzer’s paradoxical view, no less true. Continue Reading »

First Links — 2.10.16

Whatever it Takes to Make Lent Hardcore
Melinda Selmys, Patheos

Cover Story: The Headscarf, Modern Turkey, and Me
Elif Batuman, New Yorker

A Conversation with Rowan Williams
John F. Deane, Image

A Pope, a Patriarch, and Great Expectations in Cuba
Ivan Plis, National Interest

Debased Coynage
Edward Feser, Edward Feser

The Psychologists Take Power
Tamsin Shaw, New York Review of Books

To Hell With Hope
Fr. Chase Pepper, C.S.C., Holy Cross Vocations

Chess is not a Sport but a Game. So What's the Difference?
David Papineau, Aeon

Pope Francis and the Two Cities

For a class on Catholic Social Teaching this past fall, I assigned my college students Robert Hugh Benson's dystopian novel Lord of the World. I thought the book would pair well with our extensive studies of the thought of Pope Francis, in part because Francis has conspicuously mentioned Benson’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter from a Toronto Jail

One of Canada’s prisoners of conscience, Mary Wagner, in a moving letter from her Vanier Centre cell, writes of her concern that many members of our Christian medical associations, “despite their earnest desire to resist doctor-abetted suicide, have succumbed to defeatism.”She points to . . . . Continue Reading »

What Should College Students Read?

Last summer, if you were going to enroll in college at Washington State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UNC-Chapel, Michigan State, and a dozen other schools, you had an assignment to complete. You had to read Just Mercy, attorney Bryan Stevenson’s tale of a life devoted to social . . . . Continue Reading »