Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Maury's Silent Majority

From Web Exclusives

Maury’s struggling to stay in character. Normally he’s the picture of paternal stability: amused but not belittling, hortatory but not pedantic, firm but not overbearing. This is why they seek him out in their most difficult moments, this parade of wounded people from cash-poor neighborhoods across the country. They flock to his sound stage in Stamford, Connecticut hoping to find the sort of judge, the sort of social worker, the sort of counselor—and yes, the sort of father—that they haven’t encountered elsewhere. Maury Povich gives a fair hearing. But even Maury is occasionally worn thin by the monotony of human weakness, and today is one such day. Continue Reading »

Stephen Colbert and the Southern Catholic Charism

From Web Exclusives

Forgive us if we pack the streets around Ed Sullivan Theatre next spring, searching the sky for plumes of white smoke. True, the transition from David Letterman to Stephen Colbert hardly calls for a conclave, and the future of the Late Show has little to do with the life of the Church worldwide. Even so, it feels like a momentous occasion for Catholics, who despite constituting the largest religious body in the country, usually search in vain for signs of communion in popular culture (that second-largest religious body—lapsed Catholics—offers a more populous field of celebrity ambassadors). Continue Reading »

Life Under Instant Replay

From Web Exclusives

When taking stock of how far we haven’t come, I find myself reliving the early morning hours of July 27, 2011. Late-night comics have relinquished the airwaves to diet pill peddlers, city buses have ceased running here in Atlanta, and even Manuel’s Tavern is turning out the last of its regulars. South of downtown the Braves and Pirates play on, sweating through the nineteenth inning on a field approaching dewpoint. A journeyman Braves reliever, batting for lack of other options, hits a routine grounder to third. Breaking on contact, a baserunner pushing forty—also playing for lack of other options—sprints toward the plate, a kamikaze attempt at the winning run. Continue Reading »