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About Ian

Another post-Barthian Thomist Midwesterner growing weary of irony and exhausted by works righteousness. I've wanted to belong for a long time, have listened to those sad strains of saudade percolating through every good and beautiful and true thing in this world, and so I am overjoyed the Son of God defied all expectations and took the form of a servant to make me his own. Now I want to point up every fantasticity he's strewn throughout the cosmos and give myself in exactly the same way. Thanks for reading, and I appreciate feedback and dialogue!

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    Every Tear That Falls Must Converge: A Review of The Dusk In Us

    Every Tear That Falls Must Converge: A Review of The Dusk In Us

    After five long years, hardcore legends Converge are back. Their first album since 2012’s All We Love We Leave Behind, The Dusk In Us is an aptly titled exploration of the hurts and promises latent within a world receding from the light. And while Converge have matured with this album, that maturation in no way implies a mellowing of their characteristically caustic delivery. Scabrous, frenetic bombardments of metallic guitars and hyperkinetic drums support Jacob Bannon’s gargling-with-broken-glass vocals in ways both more damning and more life-affirming than ever. For no other band in this vale of tears better encapsulates the law/gospel…

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    He Descended Into Horror

    He Descended Into Horror

    The approach of Halloween and Reformation Day begs an interesting question for the modern Tertullian: what hath Halloween to do with Jerusalem? As a rhetorical move, the implied answer is: nothing at all. In the eyes of many a pious Protestant, it is some rough beast that slouches off towards Halloween while soldiers of the five solas parade to the fanfare of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” “Trick or treat!” and “Here I stand” seem poles apart, incommensurately opposite. But what if the convergence of the two in one day presents an apposite moment for reflecting upon solus Christus…

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    In This Hope We Rebel: Rogue One, An Advent Story

    In This Hope We Rebel: Rogue One, An Advent Story

    Everybody!!

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story delivers magnificently on the promise Star Wars fans have known still lurked within the franchise but struggled to manifest over the last seventeen years of films. Yes, I’m hyperventilating a little–but so will you. Rogue One is so excellent it would be easy to drown the internet in superlatives praising it but part of the excitement that accompanies it is the sheer wonder of witnessing a story that celebrates heroism and hope without resorting to the stale devices that characterize so many blockbusters. Gareth Edwards has composed an elegy to broken human beings consecrated to…

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    Halloween Is For All the Saints

    Halloween Is For All the Saints

    Do I love Halloween because I love darkness? That’s a trick question, albeit an unintentional one. Do I love darkness? Yes. Every son and daughter of Adam loves darkness, John records for us in the light of Nicodemus’ bumbling nighttime interview with Jesus. Our inheritance as a race is a disavowal of the light and an embrace of gloom and death. So am I somehow an exception that escapes the charge? Not at all. But is this affirmation the bottom line for why I delight in Halloween? For some the answer will be an obvious “Yes”, but I think the…

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    Ian & Blake's Terrifying Top Fives: The Scariest Short Stories for the Halloween Season

    Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: The Scariest Short Stories for the Halloween Season

    Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. Here’s this year’s final spooky top-five! Before you dive in, make sure you don’t miss last week’s installment on the best introductions to horror for kids.

    5. “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James (1904)

    This entry is a spring-loaded little yarn from M.R. James, the early 20th century master of the English ghost story, and follows Parkins, an antiquary investigating the ruin of a Templar preceptory. While searching through the remains he discovers a whistle inscribed with Latin and translates the…

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    Ian & Blake's Terrifying Top Fives: October's Creepiest Urban Legends

    Ian & Blake’s Terrifying Top Fives: October’s Creepiest Urban Legends

    Welcome once again to Ian and Blake’s annual Halloween series about a genre that does what few others can. This month, keep your eyes peeled for weekly top-five horror lists–with blistering #hottakes below. Be sure not to miss last week’s installment on horror double features, too!

    5. The Man In the Backseat

    This urban legend, like many others, takes a mundane scenario (driving home at night) and downloads an entirely new operating system into it. It toys with our capacities to intuit danger by presenting us with the “obvious” threat–the truck menacingly tailing the protagonist, repeatedly flashing its high beams and following her every…

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    To the End of the Line: Captain America: Civil War and the Demands of Love

    To the End of the Line: Captain America: Civil War and the Demands of Love

    How far would you go for your friend?

    Not an acquaintance, not an associate, not a work buddy: a friend, your companion, the counterpart whom you love. To what length would you go to protect her? Is there anything that would compel you to hesitate rushing to his side? What if the entire world were arrayed against him? Would you consider what the world had to say for even a second? Or would you grit your teeth and absorb its fury like a lightning rod for the one you love? Captain America: Civil War poses this question and shows us how…

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    The Word Within the Fracture: 20 Years of Infinite Jest, pt 2

    The Word Within the Fracture: 20 Years of Infinite Jest, pt 2

    To read part one, click here.

    (End)notes From Underground

    As much as Wallace’s bottoming out (and subsequent halfway house rehabilitation) contributed to the figure we now recognize as DFW, what proved decisive for the transformation of his moral imagination was his discovery of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky modeled earnest engagement with moral matters without succumbing to stale, propagandistic kitsch. As with any icon, Wallace grew to resemble Dostoevsky the more he fixed his gaze upon him and identified his experience with Dostoevsky’s. Both were authors of promise who experienced imprisonments, brushes with death, and nearly complete losses of hope before the gift of…

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    The World Within the Fracture: 20 Years of Infinite Jest, Pt. 1

    The World Within the Fracture: 20 Years of Infinite Jest, Pt. 1

    Demythologizing St. Dave

    It’s funny thinking about the sheer number of people who count reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest the first time as a hinge-point in their lives with the same sort of breathless awe others would fall into when remembering September 11th or Kurt Cobain’s death: funny, in part, because most (appreciators and detractors alike) admit to having no idea how to construe its plot; primarily, though, because it’s so unmistakably a product of the mid-1990s. The wonder of it is how it nevertheless confronts the predicaments of existence in the Twitter age with such eerie and yet comforting prescience….

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    The Civil War, Memorial Day, and the Politics of Embodiment

    The Civil War, Memorial Day, and the Politics of Embodiment

    Americans just observed Memorial Day, a day most spend watching parades and cooking out, enjoying a day off of work and anticipating the return of summer. You’ll see flags undulating in the breeze on porches and automobiles and hear bands blasting patriotic songs to honor the servicemen and women who lost their lives throughout our history. But if you’re anything like me you don’t know the grisly historical background that provoked the holiday in the first place. Until this past Monday, I had no idea it began as a national grieving for the cataclysmic loss of life and humanity the nation had endured…

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    Being Human in an Age of Ultron

    Being Human in an Age of Ultron

    Spoilers follow.

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron is a bafflingly different film from its cherished predecessor. It takes enormous risks which, when they succeed, succeed spectacularly, but at their worst only fail to spark. What The Godfather Part II is to The Godfather, Age of Ultron is to the first Avengers, and the enlargement of scope and emotional intensity smooth out the splintered edges where Joss Whedon’s vision outstripped his reach. Its scope is astonishingly wide: it probes an array of existential questions and, in true Whedon fashion, doesn’t shy away from answers the director himself doesn’t hold yet can’t avoid…

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    The Right Hand of Godzilla

    The Right Hand of Godzilla

    Ladies and gentlemen, the slate has been wiped clean: the 1998 Roland Emmerich catastrophe lies buried, and the ignominy cloaking Godzilla’s good name like a miasma has been decisively decontaminated. Gareth Edwards’ new reboot delivers it all: character-driven drama, gnarly creature effects, epic devastation, and a high dosage of misanthropic Law to unsettle comfortable Western viewers.

    Godzilla is a win because real, human characters find themselves engulfed within an unthinkable, inhuman crisis. Unlike most monster blockbusters, this film is first and foremost a drama about family. The narratives centers itself around Ford Brody (portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) a young…

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