A state religion is nothing out of the ordinary in human history, and even if a nation does not have a state religion de jure, they will almost certainly have one in practice. This applies even to supposedly secular societies, even the society administered to by the “world’s first secular government.” In America, however, a different worship took root: in a land made secular in order to accommodate all the religious beliefs of its populace, many of them religious refugees, a unified religion came to be understood by Americans, one defined by indulgences specifically proscribed against by their “true” religions.

Originally posted on Writers Without Money:
As the time spent with the screen approaches or surpasses the time spent outside it, so the parables, overt or otherwise, of men trapped in their own creations or those of others, of individuals trapped in the television pile up in increasing quantities. They pile up without our noticing…

My eighty-year-old mother fell and broke her hip for the second time in three years. It was partly my fault. Last month we both went to my cousin’s daughter’s birthday party. It was flu season. There were a lot of children, and the rented hall turned out to be a germ sink. I was flat […]

Originally posted on Non bona dicta:
The democratic party keeps knocking back hemlock in spite of repeated warnings of its lethal potency. Unfortunately the party suffers from severe memory loss and insist it is the GOP, or leftists, or progressives who drank from the poisoned cup. The dems are now tapping their feet, impatiently checking…

What are we beyond our memories? It was just after having a petty argument with the florist, an ignorant teen as she was that Ove first exposes the dimensions of his existence. Grieved by the death of the only love of his life, Sonja, we see him dissipating his space by magnifying his trivialities. A […]

Behold! The fourth and possibly mightiest of the Radio Without Money episodes. In this week’s episode of Radio Without Money, Daniel Levine, Ross Snider, and Aloysius VI discuss the Anthropocene, climate change, the mid-episode purge of Daniel Levine from Radio Without Money, North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear triad, the nature of protectionism, and lots […]

As most historians know, from 1934 to 1968 American cinema was more heavily censored than any other film industry in the western world. The Motion Picture Production Code, the fruit of a partnership between the major Hollywood studios and the Catholic Church, had strict rules about what we could, and could not see in movie […]

Manchester by the Sea is the worst kind of bad movie. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, whose previous films include the acclaimed You Can Count On Me, and featuring a cast that includes this year’s Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, the always excellent Michelle Williams, and a terrific young newcomer named Lucas Hedges, it is so […]

In Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing, Mookie, a delivery man played by Lee himself, has a brief argument with Pino, the racist older son of his employer, the owner of Sal’s Pizza. Unlike his father, Pino has no hesitation about voicing his contempt for black people, but Mookie has already noticed a […]

(Spoilers ahead: It would be impossible to write about this film without spoilers so I won’t even try.) Arrival, the French Canadian director Dennis Villeneuve’s followup to the excellent Sicario, is based on a compelling premise. If we ever make contact with aliens what language would they speak? The problem for me was no so […]