We also provided our usual eclectic mix religious, books, and cultural coverage. In matters of faith, doubt, and philosophy, Simon Willis argued particularism was the best philosophy, Molly Crockett debated the ethics of a “morality pill,” and Tim Kreider embraced doubt. Damon Linker found Christ in Malick’s To the Wonder, David Sessions grappled with losing his religion, and Jonathan Fitzgerald excoriated a Christianity Today piece on hip-hop. Roger Tagholm pondered the effects of holy books going digital, Russell D. Moore eulogized country singer George Jones, and Frans de Waal challenged Christian assumptions about animals. Patrick Kurp outgrew his resistance to talking about his heroes, Claire Messud pondered our contradictory natures, and John Berryman reflected on the connection between suffering and creativity.
In literary and arts coverage, Olive Senior thought literature couldn’t help but be political, Mason Currey chronicled the chemical lives of great writers, and Tony Woodlief defended the democratization of art. D.G. Myers observed a paradox in understanding literature, Nathaniel Rich considered the despair he found in the novel Miss Lonelyhearts, and Andrew O’Hagan contemplated writers whose work was informed by another medium. Thom Yorke divulged his ideal of beauty, the pacifist author of Winnie the Pooh struggled with his wartime conscription, and Maria Bustillos penned a love letter to her favorite highway. Read Saturday’s poem here and Sunday’s here.
In assorted news and views, Brian Eno expounded on his vintage pornography collection, Helen Lewis visited a collection of harvested tattoos, and Jonathan Harris described the moments of unexpected intimacy caught on film between pornstars. Maria Popova pointed to a great list from Susan Sontag, Miles Raymer assessed the unlikely success of the band Neutral Milk Hotel, and a member of Alcoholic Anonymous developed a strange alternative therapy for the disease. Robert W. Gehl wondered if there is any hope for haters, the Internet proved to be for marriage, and a profile of an electronic cigarette revealed how advertisers try to brand what’s bad for you. Malkin Award nominee here, MHBs here and here, FOTDs here and here, VFYWs here and here, and the latest window contest here.