What’s wrong? A conversation starter from David Foster Wallace

I was recently reminded of this paragraph from David Foster Wallace’s novel The Pale King: ‘The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you…

Complexity, Coherence, and Comic Book Movies

Martin Scorsese famously said that Marvel films are closer to theme parks than movies, lacking revelation or depth of characterisation. Whilst they’re hardly high culture I’d argue that there’s a remarkable complexity to them. Perhaps not so much as standalone films, but when held together as a whole. Yesterday I wrote a piece for the…

Don’t Look at Yourself: Polarisation and the ‘Problem’ with Parables

I left social media for Christmas and returned to find everybody talking about a film about why nobody is talking about the climate crisis.  Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up is a piece of satirical sci-fi about two astronomers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) who attempt to warn humanity about a comet that’s set…

Reading Roundup 2021

‘Of making many [lists of] books, there is no end.’ (Ecclesiastes-ish 12:12) It’s the end of the year, so every Christian with a blog is posting a list of the things they read over the past twelve months. I figured I might as well follow suit.  I started plenty of books this year, and finished…

Tithing: Enjoying the Benefits and meeting the Benefactor

I used to work for the insolvency service, processing bankruptcy and liquidation cases. I remember one day being called into my boss’ office because he had been going through a client’s outgoings and didn’t understand one of the items: “He’s listed a monthly ‘tithe’. What is that? I think it’s a religious word, but I’m…

Love’s gonna pick you up

A few months ago, we watched Vivo as a family movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an animated musical, with songs by Lin Manuel-Miranda, in which ‘a music-loving kinkajou embarks on the journey of a lifetime to fulfill his destiny and deliver a love song for an old friend.’  In one of the songs,…

Night of the Living Dead

Ah, that weekend is approaching when those who have worked all year round producing bizarre latex products and tubes of fake luminescent blood, finally get to see the fruit of their labours for 48 hours or so. Slashed throats. Bullet holes in foreheads. Blood-stained t-shirts, and wild attempts to make vampires and witches ‘sexy’. I…

Passing Idols: Salt Bae, Moses and foodolatry

By now you have probably heard of Salt Bae and his £1,450 steaks wrapped in gold leaf. If you haven’t, you’ve not spent a lot of time on social media recently. And I suspect your life is better for it.  Nusret Gökçe, otherwise known as Salt Bae, is the chef behind the chain of luxury…