Art

Veterans Day, November 11

Veterans Day has lost its sting. The seismic shock of World War I reverberated through American art and culture in ways forgotten now. Yet every generation needs to stare into the chasm between the cataclysm’s ambition—”the War to end all wars”—and its harrowing reality. Forgetful people embrace the illusion that this time, this battlefield, this clash of arms—especially one waged by proxy with someone else’s blood—will be the one to make the lion drop at the foot of the lamb.   Veterans Day brings to mind John Singer Sargent’s Gassed (1918-19), an anguished  glimpse of the human cost of that enduring deception. Continue Reading
Notes On Hell

Dante, Hell’s topographer, imagined its location and architecture with such specificity that Botticelli could map it in painstaking detail two centuries later. By now, images that stirred Savonarola’s audience to fear of sin have dwindled to plot devices in pulp thrillers and horror movies. Of all impossible thoughts, Hell is the most unthinkable for us moderns. Displaced by myths of progress, the concept survives largely as a cultural heirloom, a curio. A place where the worm does not die and the ever-burning wrath of God never goes out strikes us as preposterous. Continue Reading
Abel Ferrara directs LeGoef

Peter Bradshaw, chief film critic for The Guardian, viewed Padre Pio at its premier in the 2022 Venice International Film Festival. He is a perceptive writer. His review  emphasizes two things. One, the film is not a biopic of Pio’s life, as many devotees of the saint expect. Pio/LeBeouf does not appear on screen that much. Bradshaw writes that LaBeouf seems to be making what amounts to a “cameo” appearance. His role accompanies the “main action,” perhaps as commentary on it or complement to it. Continue Reading
meme poster

My essay on Shia LeBoeuf ‘s conversion in The Federalist  avoided stressing the obvious: the Latin Mass has no cure for clinical narcissism. Or sociopathy. It did not seem necessary to press the point. But judging from responses, I was wrong. More than a few readers were anxious to view LeBoeuf—actor, performance artist, filmmaker—with sympathetic trust. Some invoked St. Augustine. Clearly, the piece had been too delicate. I should have been more explicit: In his self-referential interview with Bishop Barron he impressed me more as a con-artist than a convert. Continue Reading
9/11 & The Pedagogy of Amnesia

A new generation of voters will go to the polls this year with no memory  of 9/11. What knowledge they might have of it has been given to them in classrooms sodden with ideological agendas and careless of history. Careless of the truth of things. In American Thinker this morning Pamela Geller asks:
Twenty-one years on, and where are we? What do our children know about 9/11 and the Islamic terrorists who attacked our country in the worst attack on our homeland in American history?
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