A review of Jason Isbell's newest album, Something more than free
The release of Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free was as much of a mainstream media event as one can expect in this age of audience fragmentation. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard charts in country, rock, and folk, and it garnered Isbell profiles everywhere from The New Yorker to NPR.
Directed by Crystal Moselle (Kotva Films, 2015)
“13th” reminds us that America’s original sin of racism is still waiting to be confessed and cleansed.
13th, the documentary by Selma director Ava DuVernay about mass incarceration, was screened for the first time just days before the 2016 presidential election. In the film the first thing we hear is the voice of President Barack Obama saying that, while the United States is 5 percent of the world’s population, it locks up 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
“Moana” is the story of a young woman who brings healing to her tortured “sister” simply by being present.
“Take your broken heart; make it into art,” Meryl Streep said through tears, quoting her late friend, fellow actress Carrie Fisher, when she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes earlier this year.
Streep’s controversial comments were directed at those who felt brokenhearted at the election of a certain president, but her visible grief for her lost friend reminded me—of all things—of a powerful scene in the Disney animated feature Moana.
Women can now wear pants in the office, but has so much really changed since the days of “Good Girls Revolt”?
Once upon a time, in 1969, women weren’t “allowed” to wear slacks at the office. This wasn’t for modesty—miniskirts and tight dresses were fine, 9–5. The dress code was to keep gender differences clearly delineated, as in the classic insult to assertive wives: “She wears the pants in that family.” When the chino ceiling finally cracked in office buildings across America, women could wear trousers in public, but only if they also wore a matching jacket. The female pantsuit was born.
Dylan's Nobel Prize opens up room in the cathedral of literature for every genius who has seen a light and can find a way to make us see it, too.
Putting aside, for a moment, the election of a reality TV star as president of the United States, history may ultimately judge that the most significant cultural event of 2016 was actually the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan. That decision, handed down by those ultimate high-culture deciders in Stockholm, finally ratified the ascension of the American popular arts that began in the music and movies of the 1930s, built to a crescendo in the 1960s, and has been the new normal for most people ever since.
The show portrays a hotly contested leadership transition and the possibility of an unchecked leader pushing a potentially unpopular set of priorities.
For a show about the papacy, it’s hard to pinpoint the most shocking part of the first few minutes of The Young Pope: The fact that the episode came with a nudity warning that is almost immediately realized; the titular pope emerging from a pile of babies, which later turns out to be part of a dream sequence; or hearing an American pope addressing crowds at the Vatican (especially one played by British actor Jude Law).
“Hacksaw Ridge” chronicles an unwavering faith lived out in midst of war's violence and gore.
Directed by Mel Gibson (Summit Entertainment, 2016)
In “The South Side,” Natalie Moore points out that while cultural diversity is worth celebrating, high-poverty black segregation is not.
The South Side
By Natalie Y. Moore (St. Martin’s Press, 2016)
“The Strength of Her Witness,” edited by Elizabeth Johnson, contains articles by women around the world on the importance of Christ’s incarnation.
The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women
Edited by Elizabeth Johnson (Orbis Books, 2016)
“What difference do women’s voices make in interpreting the meaning of Jesus Christ?” asks Elizabeth Johnson in her introduction to The Strength of Her Witness. This book, edited by Johnson, attempts to answer that question.
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