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New from Leonard Cohen: “You Want It Darker”

New from Leonard Cohen: “You Want It Darker”

This post comes to us from Matthew Wilkins.

Wednesday, musician/poet Leonard Cohen celebrated his 82nd birthday, and gave us a gift in the midst of this particularly saddening week by releasing the title track from his upcoming album “You Want it Darker.”

Cohen has never been one to shy away from religious themes in his music, even deeply Christian themes though he considers himself both Jewish and a Buddhist, and “You Want it Darker” is no exception.

Over a somewhat brooding backing track with well timed choral support, Cohen delves into questions of God, evil, and human suffering in a way that not only…

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Reflections on the This Is Us Premiere: Shameless Tear-Jerking and the Theme of Adoption

Reflections on the This Is Us Premiere: Shameless Tear-Jerking and the Theme of Adoption

This post contains spoilers! If you have not yet watched the premiere of “This Is Us” head on over to NBC’s website, and come back in 45 min. Be sure to have your tissues ready.

It’s been a long time since I watched, let alone looked forward to, a network-produced TV show. HBO and Netflix have been dominating the silver screen of late, while NBC, ABC and the like have become channels necessary only for viewing sporting events (which, let’s be honest, I never do on my own accord). But NBC drew me in during the Olympics, when they aired (repeatedly)…

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Life Is Too Politicized When Seth Meyers Stops Being Funny

Life Is Too Politicized When Seth Meyers Stops Being Funny

Abraham Kuyper once said that there’s not a microbe in the universe that Christ doesn’t look at and declare “mine”. It feels like American political combative discourse makes the same claim today. Whether it’s chicken sandwiches or late night television, everything is turning shades of red and blue, which will likely lead to us all becoming increasingly black and blue.

I’m a political person. I’ve donated money to a presidential candidate this year. I watch lots of cable news, I sometimes take perverse delight in the combative rhetoric. I’d like to say political infotainment is a guilty pleasure, but I feel…

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Motherhood and the Maris Crane in Me

Motherhood and the Maris Crane in Me

I love being a mom. Motherhood, however, has also savagely birthed a hideous new version of my self into the world.

For example: Parenting has become the most tedious competitive sport since Scotland invented golf in 1457, and yet I frequently run to win it. I’ve even come to view preschool drop-off as a performance opportunity.

SCENE: I tenderly pull my kids from their car seats and immediately transform into the cheeriest, most in-control yet carefree version of “mom” since Carol Brady. I don my overly-priced active wear (the official jersey of mothers everywhere). I offer excessive hugs and kisses, the likes…

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Stranger Things and Upside-Down Kingdoms

Stranger Things and Upside-Down Kingdoms

“These men…have turned the world upside down.” Acts 17:6

My husband and I recently binge-watched Stranger Things on Netflix. And by binge-watched, I mean that we finished the series in about ten days, taking into account my propensity for falling asleep mid-episode and stretching a couple of the chapters over multiple viewings–like the last one, which we viewed on a laptop from a Sydney hotel room over the course of a night (I passed out thirty minutes in) and the next morning at 4:30 (thanks, jet lag). CJ already deftly covered the appeal of the show–themes of nostalgia, redemption, purity, and…

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Lady Susan Finesses Downward Mobility in Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship

Lady Susan Finesses Downward Mobility in Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship

Just in time for the DVD release of Love and Friendship, here’s a wonderful post about the film from our friend, Jeremiah Lawson.

The character Charlie Black made an observation disguised as a question in the 1990 film Metropolitan: why is it that the stories about social mobility Americans are drawn to only have upward trajectories? When’s the last time you saw somebody tell a story of downward mobility? Just to be clear, this downward mobility is not the Faustian rock and roll burn out but the fading away. Not that Charlie Black would have put it that way; he probably…

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Mr. Robot Wants to Save the World

Mr. Robot Wants to Save the World

“Watching a group of young people rebel against the one percent — these are not new ideas,” Portia Doubleday, a star of the hit show Mr. Robot, explained to an interviewer. “They’re things that as a society we’re all thinking but don’t know how to tackle. He’s just relating to what so many of us are wondering, but don’t say, and don’t have a platform to,” she said, referencing the show’s talented creator/writer/director, Sam Esmail. We’ve seen this whole young rebel thing done, she’s right, but any good iteration usually has something fresh to communicate, and Mr. Robot is no different….

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The Mission of Self-Justification in Hell or High Water

The Mission of Self-Justification in Hell or High Water

This one comes to us from our friend Jason Thompson.

David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water must be the year’s most unintentionally Christian film. Aimed more at capturing the mood and the cultural atmosphere of rural Texas than it is at making an argument for or against religion, the film ironically succeeds at presenting us with a rich tapestry and various threads of religious iconography, Biblical themes, and a soundtrack (performed partly by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) that not only underscores key plot points, but accurately reflects the inner lives of the conflicted characters, namely a bank robbing fraternal duo hellbent on…

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PZ’s Podcast: 1,2,3 Red Light

PZ’s Podcast: 1,2,3 Red Light

EPISODE 220

I’m getting more and more convinced that we’re doing our peers a disservice by not talking about Satan. Satan is alive and well; and, as the New Testament says, he is prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour.

This cast touches on assisted suicide — doffing my hat to the new upcoming issue of The Mockingbird, which concerns mental health. “Please… Don’t Do It” (The Band). Under any circumstances. If you don’t believe me, read Kipling’s short story “Uncovenanted Mercies” (1932).

But I’m not just gunning for assisted suicide. I’m warning you about The Burning Man. People who cultivate…

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50 Years of Star Trek

Can’t let the day pass by without acknowledging it in some fashion. Would love for the Trekkers out there to weigh in with their favorite moments. For example:

September Playlist

The Meghan Trainor of Galilee

The Meghan Trainor of Galilee

Someone told me recently that at his church they invite everyone to receive Communion, even if they are not Christians (which is a theological debate for another time). What got me was his reasoning. “Everybody’s welcome,” he said, “because Jesus never said no to anyone.” He said it like it’s a thing. Like something that we all agree on. The way people say, “Episode V, amirite?”

The only problem is Jesus said no all the time.

He’s the Meghan Trainor of Galillee: “My name is… no! My sign is… no! My number is… no!”

Allow me license to paraphrase as we recall the…

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