The Weekend Wrap


This weekend on the Dish, we provided an eclectic mix of religious, books, and cultural coverage. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Thomas Merton taught us how to pray, Reinhold Niebuhr found the essence of Christianity, and Jody Bottum pondered the ways Pope Francis eludes contemporary political categories. Dominique Ovalle urged us to believe in the beautiful, Marc Hopkins investigated the ways jazz music can contribute to Christian worship, Valerie Weaver-Zercher sized up the market for Amish romance novels, and Richard L. Rubenstein remembered a guru’s advice about outgrowing religion. Andrew Ferguson argued that philosophical materialism can’t be lived, Emma Woolerton revealed why Lucretius presented his philosophy in the form of poetry, Kurt Gray explained why playing the victim is the best way for a guilty person to escape blame, and Caitlin Doughty noted the benefits of confronting one’s own death.

In literary and arts coverage, T.R. Hummer mused on a possible recording of Walt Whitman, Darryl Pinckney recalled an embarrassing  encounter with James Baldwin, and Tom Jokinen asked if a certain amount of infatuation led to writing good biography. Brad Leithhauser contemplated various authors’ versions of Hell, Colin Dickey surveyed the literary career of opium addict Thomas De Quincey, David McConnell discussed his book about six notorious killings committed by straight men against gays, and Grady Hendrix fondly looked back at MAD magazine’s film satires. David Mamet ruminated on the role of the dramatist, the herbalist Olivia Laing considered the symbolism of Shakespeare’s plants, Greg Bottoms penned an open letter to photographer William Eggleston, and Tom Bissell thought about the literary potential of the video games. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.

In assorted news and views, Lizzie Plaugic unpacked a report on marriage among the millenials, a couple survived long-distance dating with the help of technology and the photogenic dog they shared, Eric Jett lamented missing the golden age of the booty call, and Garance Franke-Ruta offered a theory about why women have difficulty climbing the corporate ladder. Peter Foges told us all about rose champagne, Martha Harbison wondered if some beer drinkers could be addicted to hops, and Katie Arnoldi described how cartels have seized control of the human trafficking business. MHBs here and here, FOTDs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.

– M.S.

(“The Deposition” by Dominique Ovalle)