I teach in the Composition Department at UC Irvine, where I earned an MFA in Creative Writing in 2014. My fiction and nonfiction has appeared (or is forthcoming) in ZYZZYVA, Vice's Terraform, The Saturday Evening PostFirst Things, the Los Angeles Review of Books, ABC's Religion and Ethics, New Haven ReviewThe Smart Set, Amazon's Day One, FLAUNT Magazine, Juked, Gargoyle Magazine. I'm a contributing columnist at The Independent and literary editor at Arc Digital. In 2016 I received an Emerging Writers Grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. Their generosity enabled me to complete my first novel, Lightless Lands, for which I am currently seeking representation.

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Publications:

Coalitions of Hate: Ilhan Omar, Donald Trump, and the allure of scapegoating

July 23, 2019

Religion and Ethics

When I was a child, one of the major television networks ran Schindler’s List — commercial-free and uncensored. That struck me at the time: whatever this film was, people deemed it significant enough to forego the usual rules of propriety. I remember vividly a scene where a group of naked Jews are herded into what they believed was a shower room and then gassed. It is perhaps the first on-screen nudity I ever saw.

In elementary school, we read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and met a Holocaust survivor who worked with a local Holocaust museum. The woman had an intense aura about her; I felt that I was in the presence of a saint. In middle school, we read The Diary of Anne Frank and watched the 1987 film Escape from Sobibor. During a scene where two Jewish prisoners are publicly hanged by SS guards, I remember our seventh grade English teacher pausing the film and telling us to listen for the sound of the men’s necks breaking. “That’s how most people die when hanged,” he explained. “Rather than from strangulation.” In sophomore year of high school, I read Elie Wiesel’s Night and wept uncontrollably at the death of his father. Being a boy of a rather dark mindset, I used to daydream about what I would do in such extremis. Would I act nobly? Would I hide others at the risk of my own life? Or would I discover my soul was made of dung?

Pages Discovered in the Effects of Arthur Wayne Prince

June 07, 2019

The Saturday Evening Post

To whom it may concern,

 

It used to be that when your reason left you, or rather, when your children or executors or what have you decided that was the case, you were run to an asylum and laid in a white bed until your eyes rolled back in your head and your soul rolled up to the clouds, or down, to someplace less respectable. Now, in this, the 21st century, wonder of wonders, they bring the asylum to you. It’s called hospice. I’m laying on a white bed in the living room, crisp hospital covers up past my waist, writing this on a bunion-yellow legal pad. In the next room the nurse is reading some Harlequin romance novel with a cover to make Venus squirm in her clam. She’s waiting for a little amber light to flash on the monitor by my bed, which will mean I’ve passed on and she can pack up her things and go wait for some other old fool to quit burdening society.

It’s an odd thing, watching someone watch you die, or rather, watching someone grow increasingly exasperated that you haven’t died yet. She’s been here over a month and brooded her way through a couple dozen of those books and a few others, less trashy, which she seemed to be reading out of obligation. I’ve been reading myself — old philosophy mostly. Started with a survey of the pre-Socratics and just finished The Republic yesterday. I kid myself that I’m a late-to-the-game intellectual, but I’m also reading these books because I know it makes my nurse embarrassed of her glossy, Thor-covered drivel. Her name is Quintessa, which is an awful name.

The Oligarchy Unmasks Itself

June 02, 2019

Arc Digital

Aristotle argued that oligarchy is naturally threatened by a strong middle class. When power is broadly distributed among individuals and mediating institutions, oligarchy is constrained. This is the great virtue of federalism and representative democracy. But in America our middle class is shrinking. Our institutions are hemorrhaging authority.

We are not immune to what Robert Michels, in his 1911 study Political Parties, termed the “iron law of oligarchy.” Complex social systems require leadership, specialization, delegation of responsibilities — bureaucratization. The emergence of a leadership “class” is unavoidable. All large organizations are necessarily oligarchical.

For Michel, popular sovereignty is most threatened when the “dominant classes” are captured by a single ideology, such as egalitarianism, in which case oligarchy pursues “its ends under the cloak of equality.”

Should we really support Hollywood actors threatening to boycott Georgia — even if we support their pro-choice aims?

May 13, 2019

The Independent

The heads of several independent production companies have announced their intentions to boycott filming in the state of Georgia after the signing into law of an anti-abortion “foetal heartbeat bill.”
 

Among them are David Simon, Christine Vachon, and Mark Duplass. Alyssa Milano has also vowed not to return to Netflix’s Insatiable if the show continues to film in Georgia, and on Friday proposed a “sex strike” on Twitter — drawing scorn from some feminist allies
 

House Bill 481, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, signed 8 May by governor Brian Kemp, provides that "no abortion is authorized or shall be performed if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat." Similar bills were passed earlier this year in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio. As they run afoul of the fetal viability standard set by Roe v. Wade, it is unlikely that they will be implemented. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have already announced plans to challenge the Georgia law.

Adventures in theography: God and the Qur'an ― an interview with Jack Miles

April 16, 2019

Religion and Ethics

Recognising oneself in the other requires a sustained act of imagination. More than that, it requires sustained habits of imagination — it is a virtue, and thus must be cultivated. The interconnectivity of our age has made such cultivation more, rather than less, difficult. Our minds flit about from one digital diversion to the next and our ability to focus deeply on any one thing diminishes as we become increasingly atomised and isolated, our narratives fragmented.
 

The Christchurch shooter is emblematic of this death of empathy. He cannot see himself in the other for the simple reason that he has no self. And, try as he might to claim a (white, European) heritage, he has no story. Without a story of one's own, it is impossible to understand or even to critique the story of another. Resentment remains possible — but it is the empty's resentment of the full.
 

For this reason, Jack Miles has done us a service in his book God in the Qur'an by embracing a comparative approach to his subject: Allah as literary protagonist. Although he intends the book to be of value to Muslims, Miles writes self-consciously for a Judaeo-Christian audience "crowded with unbelievers." 

Elizabeth Warren thinks getting rid of the electoral college would be an easy win for the Democrats. I wouldn't be so sure

March 20, 2019

The Independent

Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her desire to abolish the electoral college on Monday night. “Every vote matters,” she said to a crowd at Jackson State University, “and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the electoral college.” Her call was endorsed the following day by Beto O’Rourke.

The Electoral College has been on thin ice for decades, with a majority of Americans favoring a constitutional amendment to install popular voting. That is, until the 2016 election, when, according to Gallup, Republican enthusiasm for the Electoral College rose dramatically.

Warren argued on Monday that the current system encourages presidential candidates to focus on a handful of “battleground states” to the exclusion of others, such as Mississippi. This imbues individual voters in those states with disproportionate power, so the argument goes. But Warren’s reasoning is almost certainly disingenuous.

The Christchurch Terrorist's Strategy for White Radicalization

March 17, 2019

Arc Digital

Something about the terror in Christchurch feels different. We grieve with the families of murdered innocents. We pray for them, their community, for healing and strength. We thirst for justice to be meted out to those responsible. And we try to fend off the numbness that in the aftermath of all such acts of evil tempts us to complacency. This is all too wretchedly familiar. And yet, everyone senses that we’ve crossed a threshold.
 

“He livestreamed the act,” writes David French, “and in so doing he not only made millions of people direct witnesses to the slaughter, he may well have created the next innovation in the mass-killing contagion. He may well have written a new cultural script.”
 

French is right. While we’ve seen livestreamed killings before, we’ve seen nothing on this scale. And we’ve seen nothing so clearly calculated to emulate first-person shooter video games. This will be imitated. In time, this too will become familiar.

New Zealand Moves to Ban Semi-Automatic Rifles. Will the U.S. Ever do the Same?

April 07, 2019

Arc Digital

On April 1st, New Zealand’s parliament introduced legislation to reform the nation’s firearm laws in response to the massacre in Christchurch.

Many have applauded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s resolve as exemplary and anticipate the mandatory buy-back program—modeled on the reforms passed in Australia after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre—to be passed swiftly. Others are asking why the United States, where mass shootings are perpetrated more frequently than anywhere else, has been unwilling to do the same.
 

A common answer is that the Republican Party is too firmly in the grip of the NRA to do the right thing. But this is little more than a rhetorically useful misunderstanding. The NRA represents the interests of an enormous constituency of voters. This, rather than its financial lobbying (which is meager compared to, say, Planned Parenthood’s), is the source of its influence.

The Art of Spiritual Warfare

March 01, 2019

First Things

As a teenager, I was convinced that a spirit of false prophecy had attached itself to my neck. This spirit’s name—according to one of our youth group leaders—was Python, after the ­Pythia, or Oracle of Delphi. I did not think that the Python, the great serpent of the earth’s navel slayed by Apollo, had deigned to visit itself upon me. But I believed that one of its ilk had wrapped its serpentine body around my spine to whisper vaticinations into my ear. You see, I had the spiritual gift of prophecy—as a multiple-­choice questionnaire I filled out at church assured me—and it was only natural that the Enemy should seek to subvert the Lord’s work. Occasionally, when in prayer or at worship, I would feel a tightening in my neck, a quick little spasm reminding me of Python’s presence.

“I bind you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” someone would say over me, anointing me with frankincense oil. “By the power and authority of his blood I cast you off.” Sometimes I would attempt to cast Python into the sea or the abyss. I could do this, of course, having been granted with all other believers the power to bind and to loose, to trample serpents and scorpions. And I should add that, having been sealed by the Holy Spirit, I was not possessed but merely oppressed. This was nothing so dramatic as exorcism proper—just your workaday spiritual warfare.

Phenomenologies of Patience, Philosophies of Embrace: an Interview with Steven Yeun

February 21, 2019

FLAUNT Magazine

“The modern loss of faith does not concern just god or the hereafter,” writes Byung-Chul Han, the Korean- German phenomenologist. “It involves reality itself and makes human life radically fleeting.” Heady stuff, but such reflection comes naturally for 35-year-old actor Steven Yeun, whose roles often confront the darkest corners of human nature. Han is just one of the many figures who populate Yeun’s bookshelves, and Yeun revisits him often to deepen his understanding of life, reality, and art. 

 

I meet Yeun at Maru Coffee in Los Feliz to discuss his new film, Burning. He arrives dressed as his character, Ben, might have—black sweater, slim jeans, and black loafers, casualness belying celebrity.While Ben might or might not be a serial killer, Yeun is warm and funny, possessed of a disarming authenticity. Our conversation ranges from nostalgia for our Midwestern childhoods to the intersection of filmcraft and philosophies of life. 

Did the Boys of Covington Catholic "Mob" a Native American Elder?

January 20, 2019

Arc Digital

If you had the misfortune of being on Twitter yesterday, you were likely swept up in the flood of outrage at the MAGA-hatted students of the all-male Covington Catholic High School. When I first watched the viral video that appeared to show the boys surrounding and taunting a Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, as he beat a ceremonial drum and chanted — I seethed with anger. I didn’t even have the sound on. The images alone were enough to assure me that all the bipartisan blue-checkmark indignation was more than justified.

The idea of (ostensibly Catholic) teenagers disrupting a ceremonial chant at the inaugural Indigenous Peoples March with shouts of “Build the wall!” jives with everything I take for granted about the “spirit of Trumpism.” It was a despairing spectacle, but it also provided a measure of schadenfreude: any moment now these brats would be doxxed and irrevocably tarred by their bigoted folly.

And then fresh videos began to appear in my feed. As I watched — and now listened — I experienced a sinking feeling. I was part of a mob, not those boys.

The Great God Pudenda

January 10, 2019

Arc Digital

“He wanted as many girls as I could get him,” says Courtney Wild of billionaire rapist Jeffrey Epstein. “It was never enough.’’

Epstein began violating Wild when she was 14 years old and even manipulated her into recruiting other underage girls for him to abuse. According to Wild, he “preferred girls who were white, appeared prepubescent, and those who were easy to manipulate into going further each time.” The number of Epstein’s victims are estimated to be in the hundreds, according to The Miami Herald’s multi-part investigative report released late last month.

The Pedophile Apologist

Arc Digital

“Do we still keep citing the scholarship of serial harassers and sexists?” asks Nikki Usher in a much-discussed article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. While the answer is — obviously — yes, and Usher’s solution an interesting specimen of anti-intellectualism, her frustration is justified. As Plato understood, the pursuit of knowledge and the practice of virtue are intimately entwined — the true is convertible with the good (and the beautiful). We are right to decry any fracturing of this unity, which implies a fracturing of our nature as humans.

 

But fractured we are, and the pursuit of knowledge is only possible within a framework that acknowledges this. Just imagine what would happen to the humanities and social sciences if we memory-holed the immoral. Louis Althusser, for example, whose work has shaped much of late-Marxist thought, murdered his wife. Michel Foucault — cited over 900,000 times and without whom two whole generations of academic charlatans would have no one to imitate — murdered any number of young men by intentionally infecting them with HIV (a practice he theorized as the “limit-experience”). Academia, like government, is filled with reprehensible characters who sometimes prove themselves useful or interesting.

Trump Is Not King David

November 19, 2018

Arc Digital

Of all the defenses offered on behalf of our dissolute president, perhaps the most galling is the canard that Trump is a latter-day King David — a great sinner and yet “a man after God’s own heart.” Fundagelical fakir Jerry Falwell Jr. excreted this chestnut during the primary, and then posed with Trump in front of a framed Playboy cover showing Trump with porn star. Sean Hannity trotted it out in the aftermath of the Access Hollywood tape, as did Dennis Prager. Out on the fevered fringe, some have even enlisted Hebrew numerology to prove that “Donald Trump” means “Messiah from the House of David.” And l’affaire Stormy has led to a whole new round of (alleged) evangelicals defecating on the good psalmist’s memory.

In the Age of #metoo, Men Must Read More Literary Fiction

November 06, 2018

Arc Digital

The #MeToo reckoning has occasioned a surfeit of commentary on nefarious male behavior, ranging from the crucial (e.g., analyses of gendered power dynamics, arguments for retributive rather than restorative justice, etc.) to the trivial (e.g., manspreading). But there has been precious little mainstream discussion of what we as a society can do to cultivate more virtuous men.

 

This is likely because there is no silver bullet for inculcating virtue. Its growth depends on discipline and repetition — the formation of habits of mind and heart. No one is born virtuous. Virtue is learned, and this learning occurs only within a community of shared concern—which, of course, presents quite the challenge for a society as atomized as ours. No, there is no silver bullet, but there are bullets — necessary, but not sufficient in themselves — and I’d like to offer one:

 

To improve men, have them read more literary fiction.

Re-education In Our Time

October 05, 2018

Arc Digital

China has interned more than one million Muslims in Communist re-education camps, according to The New York Times, and “roughly two million other people are undergoing some form of coercive re-education or indoctrination.” Those interned in Xinjiang are primarily from the Uighur ethnic group — predominantly Sunni Muslims of Turkic descent — who comprise about 0.8 percent of China’s population. In these camps, detainees are forced to recite praise of President Xi Jinping, renounce their faith, sing Communist propaganda songs, demonstrate fealty by disobeying Islamic proscriptions against eating pork and drinking alcohol, sometimes on pain of death or torture.
 

“Xi Jinping is great! The Communist Party is great! I deserve punishment for not understanding that only President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party can help me,” one Uighur woman was made to recite, according to The Globe and Mail. “My soul is infected with serious diseases. There is no God. I don’t believe in God. I believe in the Communist Party.”

Ted Chiang's Impersonal Universe

August 22, 2019

ZYZZYVA

Jorge Luis Borges is one of a handful of writers whose every work fills me with awe and envy. I’m awed by the precision of his paradoxes, his ability to usher me into mysteries at once beautiful and haunting. I’m envious because his aesthetics so resonate with me that I feel as if each story I read is a story I’ll never get to write.

Ted Chiang is another such writer. Like Borges, his craft is as precise as clockwork. The elegant inevitability of his plots, which unfold as if mapped upon some narrative Golden Mean, suggests an orderliness to reality without diminishing its mystery. Take, for instance, “Tower of Babylon,” in which the biblical story of Babel is reimagined sans-idolatry: an entire civilization is organized around the desire to be nearer to God Most High. When the hero at last pierces the vault of heaven and enters the “waters above,” he swims upwards until breaking the surface—and finds himself on Earth again, just outside the city, swimming in the “waters below.” The structure of reality is precise, circular, self-contained—and for that reason, unfathomable.

Anti-Intellectualism Knows No Party

August 12, 2018

Arc Digital

For me, the zenith of Barack Obama’s two terms as president was his September 14, 2015 conversation with Marilynne Robinson. Few writers have had a greater impact on my intellectual and spiritual formation than Robinson, and the discovery that Obama shared my admiration did more than anything else in his presidency to endear him to me. However much I may have disagreed with any given policy decision, this was a man who read and loved books and modeled that love for his country. No matter what Trump may accomplish in office, I will never feel such a connection to a man who is unlikely to have read even the book he allegedly wrote.

Lazy, incurious, distrustful of expertise, self-interested, and intractably individualist — Trump’s brand of anti-intellectualism is as old as the nation. Its arrogance mirrors that of the liberal technocrat, with the exception that, for the latter, “intellectual humility” is at least conceivable as a virtue, even if it is rejected in practice.

Demons of the Machine

July 03, 2018

First Things

In his preface to Hostage to the Devil, Malachi Martin identifies a condition of the mind and will common to all cases of possession: the “aspiring vacuum.” “Vacuum,” he explains, for the “absence of clearly defined and humanly acceptable concepts for the mind. Aspiring, because there is a corresponding absence of clearly defined and humanly acceptable goals for the will.” In other words, persons ripe for possession lack a proper telos. They are beings-unto-nothing-in-particular. And they are isolated from the natural human associations that orient us toward natural goods.

American society seems designed to produce such individuals. Martin observed our “cultural desolation” in the breakdown of our families, school systems, and manners, and in the drug use and self-destruction rampant among teenagers. Thanks to this societal decay, “Ritualistic Satanism and its inevitable consequence, demonic Possession, are now part and parcel of the atmosphere of life in America.” These words were written in 1992. Compared with today’s cultural landscape, the desolate early nineties seem almost idyllic.

Romancing the Noble Lobster

April 11, 2018

Religion and Ethics

Pankaj Mishra is not an intellectual hack. He has drunk deeply from both Western and Eastern humanist traditions, written an award-winning novel and a wealth of incisive cultural and political criticism, establishing himself as an eminent practitioner of belles lettres.

 

No, the man is certainly not a hack, but you wouldn't know that from his recent review of Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

 

Peterson's book embodies the notion - once taken for granted among literary humanists like Mishra - that the great literature of the world contains actual wisdom worth applying to one's life, and that delight in discovering such wisdom is a principle characteristic of the Western tradition. 12 Rules combines eternal verities with insights from contemporary social science to instruct readers how to live virtuous, meaning-filled lives.

 

At its best, 12 Rules seems to channel Viktor Frankl; at its worst, it waxes a bit too poetic about lobsters. To Mishra, however, it's a frog-marching manual for budding fascists.

Bros Against Humanity

February 22, 2018

First Things

Near the end of Revenge of the Nerds, one of the pustulous underdogs, disguised as Darth Vader, tricks an attractive co-ed into sleeping with him. Upon removing her lover's helmet and discovering that the Dark Lord of the Sith is not her quarterback boyfriend, the co-ed masters her shock and asks breathlessly, “Are all nerds as good as you?”

 

“Yes,” says the nerd. “’Cause all jocks think about is sports. All we ever think about is sex.”

Graffiti These Bones

February 08, 2018

The Smart Set

The skeleton of a young girl: This is the first thing to seize my eye as I enter the cemetery of the Capuchin monastery in Rome. Mounted at the vault’s center and framed by four elliptical rings of vertebrae, she holds in her right hand a scythe made of tibias and pelvic fragments; in her left hand, she holds a balance, also made of human bones. The shadowed hollows of her eye sockets, rather than conveying blindness, ceaselessly drink the late-morning sunlight that pours through the windows.

Sleeping with a Corpse: White Nationalism's Therapeutics of Hate

January 05, 2018

Religion and Ethics

Loving one's political enemies is a perennially difficult task.
 

As Nietzsche observes in Genealogy of Morals, it requires a prior reverence, a kind of delight in the contest of equally matched powers. The nobility of one's enemy becomes a "mark of distinction."

In stark contrast to this is the "picture [of] 'the enemy' as the man of ressentiment conceives him - and here precisely is his deed, his creation: he has conceived 'the evil enemy', 'the Evil One', and this in fact is his basic concept, from which he then evolves, as an afterthought and pendant, a 'good one' - himself!"
 

I confess that I have neither the imagination necessary to reverence the tiki-torch-wielding sallow-supremacists who twice this year descended on the University of Virginia, nor do I possess the intemperance or historical illiteracy required to see them as a monolithic evil.

Apple Sabotages Itself

November 24, 2017

Published in First Things

Perhaps these laws we are trying to unravel do not exist at all. There is a small party who are actually of this opinion and who try to show that, if any law exists, it can only be this: The Law is whatever the nobles do. —Franz Kafka, “The Problem of Our Laws”

On October 30, Apple joined thirty-six other major corporations in filing an amici curiae brief supporting Colorado Civil Rights Division, et al., against Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in an important case to be heard before the Supreme Court this term. The case, which will decide whether certain forms of expression are exempt from anti-discrimination laws, hinges on the definition of “expression.” Apple, in adding its name to the brief, rejects Phillips’s definition as over-broad and “amorphous.”

Islamic Exceptionalism

November 03, 2017

Shadi Hamid on the Arab Spring, ISIS, and the future of the Muslim World

In October of 2014, Ben Affleck engaged in a heated debate with Sam Harris and Bill Maher on the latter’s HBO show. “How about the more than a billion people who are not fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches,” said Affleck, frustrated with his interlocutors’ criticism of Islamic ideology. “It’s stereotyping.”

Shadi Hamid, in his recent book Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World, describes Affleck’s rhetoric as a “red-herring,” a naive shibboleth that, although well-intentioned, exemplifies a reductive, difference-flattening discourse that has become all too common in contemporary discussions of Islam. “After all,” writes Hamid, “one can like sandwiches and want peace, or whatever else, while also supporting the death penalty for apostasy, as 88 percent of Egyptian Muslims and 83 percent of Jordanian Muslims did in a 2011 Pew poll.” Widespread support for hududpunishments is just one of many realities modern liberalism has struggled to comprehend in its confrontation with Islam.

The Once and Future Mark Lilla

October 09, 2017

Los Angeles Review of Books

MARK LILLA IS a hated man. Or so one might conclude from the rancor he has absorbed since publishing his controversial New York Times op-ed “The End of Identity Liberalism” in November 2016. A colleague has even accused him of attempting to make “white supremacy respectable” again.

The Story Is in the Soil

September 14, 2017

Vice's Terraform, September 2017

It was on a Tuesday that we discovered blood in the earth.
 

Our miners were down deep—carving the bedrock with their machines, sniffing the air for the tang of copper—when they found the first vein twining through the stone like a calloused worm. They pressed their ungloved hands to the tough fleshy tunica adventitia and felt within it the rhythmic surge of fluid. They were mesmerized in their fear, believing they had uncovered something fell and antediluvian, a blind god in subterrestrial repose. Even so, it was not long before the vein was tested and tapped. Those first men who nearly drowned in the hot blue flow never forgot how it tasted, like a mouthful of dirty pennies.

A Monumental Compromise

August 19, 2017

Avoiding a meltdown by proposing one.

Of the Confederate monument think pieces currently proliferating like night-sprouting mushrooms, one of the more well-reasoned and enjoyably frenetic is Victor Davis Hanson’s “Our War Against Memory.” It’s a lively jaunt through exempla of damnatio memoriae and the absurd cycles of erasures, revisions, and repurposings that characterize our civilization’s material history.

A Secular Sage

March 26, 2017

Charles Taylor dissects the Trumpening.

On the evening of November 9th, 2016, the day following Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, a small fire sprang up outside my university’s main library, reportedly the work of an improperly snuffed cigarette.

Stories We Can Never Tell

August 18, 2016

Flaunt Magazine Issue #148

A lone monk stands in the library of a medieval monastery, holding a candle whose flame sputters beneath his quiet breath. He pulls from the stacks an ancient manuscript, the only one of its kind, setting it alight with his small flame. He smiles as the pages curl and their sacred letters transmute to smoke. A story passes from the world.

Is his sin greater for not having read the story?

Against the Mythical Lie

April 19, 2016

Rene Girard, Refugees and the Islamic State

Rene Girard, the world's preeminent philosophical anthropologist, died in his Stanford home on 4 November 2015, after a long illness. He was 91.

He died nine days before the Islamic State (ISIS) massacred 130 of his countrymen in Paris on 13 November. He died before the question of whether and how to accept refugees from the war in Syria became a flashpoint of polarization in the United States.

The Ritual

July 22, 2015

Flaunt Magazine Issue #142

It seemed the peephole must always have been there, that even if the girls’ bunkhouse was never built, there would still have been a nickel-sized hole six feet off the ground, a window into another world.

 

The tradition was so old that it didn’t need to be spoken of. It was to happen on Thursday night, the second-to-last night of camp. All that day an electric anticipation thrummed the air. Then, long past lights-out, we would slip out silently, solemnly and pad along the tree line behind the mess hall to the back of the girls’ bunkhouse.

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