Interviews
A Cure for Our Self-Knowledge: Why We’ll Always Want Our Milk in the Same Sippy Cup

A Cure for Our Self-Knowledge: Why We’ll Always Want Our Milk in the Same Sippy Cup

The Paris Review’s (stunning) most recent issue features interviews with quite the coupling: Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and our favorite psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips. Both men talk about the art of writing, Phillips using a lot of the dialectic idioms you seem him using on paper all the time. Things like, “Symptoms are forms of self-knowledge.” Or, “Analysis should be the need not to know yourself.”

That being said, Phillips covers a lot of ground, including his own childhood, the books that formed him, the initial interests that brought him to the analysands’ chair. But mainly the conversation covers the breadth…

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An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

An Introduction to the Excessive World of The Mockingbird

This letter from the editor opens up our first issue of The Mockingbird, our quarterly magazine which has just arrived in mailboxes! To subscribe to The Mockingbird, click here. 

“Tell me which kinds of excesses fascinate you, tell me which kinds of excesses appall you, and I will tell you who you are.” –Adam Phillips, “In Excess”

If Phillips is right, and excesses are the ways we are revealed, then there’s plenty to say about what’s been passing through my Newsfeed. Just this week: Kanye West commissions a Kim Kardashian pop-art portrait from one of Andy Warhol’s cousins in Arizona….

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First Issue of The Mockingbird Now Available!!

The first issue of The Mockingbird, our brand new quarterly magazine, is in the mail! If you signed up for our mailing list, you should have one coming to you, free of charge. If haven’t, sign up before March 1st and we’ll happily send you one. If you want to subscribe, look no further than magazine.mbird.com. (Remember, Mockingbird’s monthly donors receive a free subscription!)

In the meantime, here’s the line-up for our maiden voyage.

photo1Paging Doctor Presley: Thoughts on the Healing Hands of King Mockingbird by David Zahl

The Real Real Orange County: Looking Back on MTV’s Laguna Beach by Dan Varley

There Is Nothing the Matter with My Heart: Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and My Myth of Me by Zach Williams

For the Record: Mockingbird’s Netflix Queue, Must-Hear TED Talks, A Kurosawa Primer, Top 5 Church Debates, and an Elvis Gospel Playlist

Transformational: The Hidden Spirituality of America’s Great Movement by Ethan Richardson

“Friends Don’t Get Serious”: John Cassavetes, James Baldwin and Tall Tales of Angry Men by Charlotte Hornsby

When a Measure Becomes a Target: Inside the Economics of Repentance by Will McDavid

A New Way to Tell It: An Interview with Francis Spufford (click here for a preview)

A Vision for the Storms by Blake Ian Collier

Coming to Terms with the American Hero Fix by Sarah Condon

Dying to Live: What Are the Side Effects of the Modern Hospital? by R-J Heijmen

Go to magazine.mbird.com to subscribe!

Another Week Ends: The Geel System, Secular Happiness, GMOs, the Faith of Malcolm Gladwell, and Bobby Petrino (Again)

Another Week Ends: The Geel System, Secular Happiness, GMOs, the Faith of Malcolm Gladwell, and Bobby Petrino (Again)

1) Aeon covers the small, “half-crazy” Belgian town of Geel, where the mentally ill have taken refuge and been given a family for over seven centuries. Given its reputation in the 1300s after the martyr Dymphna was killed by her mentally ill father, the town has become well-known by Belgians as a place of respite for the mentally handicapped, where they are brought into a family and treated as such. The tradition continues today, and people wonder where the lines have been drawn between “therapy,” whatever that means, and “belonging.” The people of Geel even built a hospital on the…

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Control Gets Out of Hand: An Interview with the Cast of PREAMAR

Control Gets Out of Hand: An Interview with the Cast of PREAMAR

Tragically, one of the most underappreciated shows on television, Estevão Ciavatta’s magnificent PREAMAR, has been discontinued by HBO as a result of their contentiousness over production rights. While we sincerely hope that HBO will change its mind or that someone else will pick up this masterpiece of Ipanema, for the time being our friend Fernanda Rodriguez has graciously compiled a very thorough and interesting interview with three of the show’s most compelling characters, Paula (Karen Junqueira), Maria Isabel (Paloma Riani), and Pepete (Thiago Amaral) . The interview transcript follows:

Karen Junqueira (Paula)

What took you to acting?

Ever since I was little I…

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Another Week Ends: Flannery Prays, Calvin Outsells Luther, More ‘Millenials’-ism, Next-Next-Gen Gaming Consoles (PSILOVU), Backfiring Discipline, Zombie Impressionism and Noah: The Movie

Another Week Ends: Flannery Prays, Calvin Outsells Luther, More ‘Millenials’-ism, Next-Next-Gen Gaming Consoles (PSILOVU), Backfiring Discipline, Zombie Impressionism and Noah: The Movie

1. Well, we knew about Mary Flannery’s early life of training chickens to walk backward (1932); it appears that God marked O’Connor out as different from pretty early on. We remember the short stories of violent grace and brilliant essays, and we even got to read some excerpts from her year-and-a-half-long prayer journal (written while still studying for her MFA at Iowa) in September. Well, three days ago the full work was released, edited by her friend William Sessions, and The New Yorker posted a great review/primer for anyone interested in fiction, O’Connor, prayer, the South, grad school, wooden legs, etc:

She reckoned that her success…

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On TV: Why BBC’s Luther Is The Scariest Show On TV

On TV: Why BBC’s Luther Is The Scariest Show On TV

I am coming up on my one-year anniversary of Mockingbird graciously allowing me to become a contributor. It all started with my series on the intersections between horror cinema and Christianity: “In the Event of a Cosmic Horror”. So I couldn’t leave the Halloween season alone without some sort of post dealing with horror and the faith. In that spirit, I would like to present my case for why BBC’s Luther is the scariest show on TV.

Television has broadcast its fair share of horror over the years—The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The X-Files, Supernatural, Fringe, American Horror Story, just…

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Mockingbird Interviews Francis Spufford

Mockingbird Interviews Francis Spufford

In celebration of the American release of Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense, we sat down (via Skype) with Francis Spufford to talk about his book, its American release, and the “Yeshua” chapter that still has us reeling. We talked about other things, too; like the problem of human emotion, like hipster irony and David Foster Wallace, like the “cruel optimism” of the world we live in, and Spufford’s own take on the Good Samaritan story.

For the full interview, though, you might just have to wait until for our first issue of our first ever…

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Andre Dubus III on Tragedy and Happiness in America

Andre Dubus III on Tragedy and Happiness in America

From his interview yesterday on the Diane Rehm show, starting at about the 3:30 mark:

AD3: “Frankly, I have this belief (that) if you scratch the surface of any human being, across the country, across the world, at any moment of any day, even right this moment, everybody’s in some kind of trouble. It’s normal. It’s just part of human existence. I think that in America, we freak out about that. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods, that we think we’re supposed to be happy all the time, especially if we’re successful.”

DR: “It’s in the constitution!”

AD3: “Yeah. ‘Life, liberty…

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Another Week Ends: Breaking Bad Wrap-Ups and Walter White’s One-Way Love

Another Week Ends: Breaking Bad Wrap-Ups and Walter White’s One-Way Love

As you may have seen on any of your go-to websites this week, the internet has been inundated with Breaking Bad wrap-ups. And, besides the oft-dour Twittersphere, it is plain to see that its ending had an overwhelmingly positive response. It finished on top, with more viewers (10.8 million) than it’s ever had, or ever expected to have; and regardless of the colossal pressure given to any show with such a closed-loop system of justice, the show seemed to deliver a fitting ending with tight report. But it wasn’t the mechanics of the finale so much as the final characterization…

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Happy Birthday, Graham Greene and Wallace Stevens

6a00d83451c83e69e20120a5663af8970c-300wiTo the masters of the pen, we wish a happy birthday to Graham Greene and Wallace Stevens. This is from an interview Greene did with the Paris Review back in 1953 (ht WB). Greene, as we’ve said before, had an impeccable grasp of the upturned nature of the love of God, its invisibility to the pious and visibility lended to the humbled (the term “whisky priest” is his). Here he is talking about the “nerve of a theme” that traces through many of his greats: Brighton Rock, The End of the Affair, The Living Room, The Power and the Glory:

Steady, steady. Let’s put it this way. I write about situations that are common, universal might be more correct, in which my characters are involved and from which only faith can redeem them, though often the actual manner of the redemption is not immediately clear. They sin, but there is no limit to God’s mercy and because this is important, there is a difference between not confessing in fact, and the complacent and the pious may not realize it.

 

Wings Like Eagles and an Unlikely Love Song: Grace Gone Viral

Wings Like Eagles and an Unlikely Love Song: Grace Gone Viral

On the viral video front, if you’re feeling bogged down by all the heavy and life-sapping stuff out there, you’ll be glad to see that in contrast two very life-giving videos have recently landed on YouTube and are worth watching. They each provide a taste of grace. First, there is this one from a camera mounted to an eagle soaring through the French Alps. I want to say that this is what grace feels like: a sense of liberty, awe, beauty, response, and youthfulness (in all the ways that are good). To quote Isaiah:

He gives power to the faint, and to him…

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“The Harder I Fight”: Neko Case on Parents, Depression, and Her New Album

“The Harder I Fight”: Neko Case on Parents, Depression, and Her New Album

I’ve never gotten into Neko Case, but after hearing an interview she did on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” I’m definitely going to listen closely to her latest album, called The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. In the interview, Case tells the story that inspired her new song “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” but the song itself also tells the story. Here are the lyrics, ht BP:

Hey, little kid that I saw at the bus stop one day
It was nearly midnight in Honolulu
We were waiting for the shuttle to take us…

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Joss Whedon Avoids the Void and Searches for Hope

Joss Whedon Avoids the Void and Searches for Hope

A terrific and wide-ranging interview with filmmaker-guru Joss Whedon appeared in the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, ample proof that he remains the most interesting guy in Hollywood. A couple of memorable soundbites/aphorisms include:

“I look back at my work and see a rage-filled hormonal autobiography that spans over four different series–five now–and several films. There’s lots of fear, lots of love and confusion and sex, and deep-seated anger at the bullies of the world, be they corporations or demons. I don’t have a ton of enemies. I get along with people pretty well when I’m not annoying them to death….

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The American Hustle and How We’ve Failed

The American Hustle and How We’ve Failed

Last week The Atlantic ran an interview with “cultural historian and social critic” Morris Berman on “how American culture misses life’s meaning.” Berman, who got so fed up with America that he up and moved to Mexico, pinpoints the American “culture of hustling,” in which we’re all living on the treadmill of capitalism run by collective consumer values, as the culprit of our failure as a country. Berman puts it like this:

This is, in some ways, the subject of my book Why America Failed. America is essentially about hustling, and that goes back more than 400 years. It’s practically genetic, in…

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