Category Archives: Culture

Four Joys of Christmas, and What They Say About Us

The way I count them, there are four principal joys of Christmas — four aspects of the holiday that make it stand out in our minds from childhood on. They are the four principal themes of Christmas songs, and the four principal subjects of Christmas art — and, since this holiday is about the coming [...]

Patti Smith at the Vatican – A Thrill of Hope

A few of my friends on social media have groused this Advent about punk rock pioneer Patti Smith’s being invited to sing at the Vatican for Christmas. I can understand why they think it’s not fitting, but that ship has sailed. She already performed there – last year.  And I think she did a beautiful [...]

Novel Is a Dickens of a Christmas Carol (Plus Cartoons!)

As I write this, it’s the evening of Dec. 23, and the Christmas shopping and traveling rush is approaching maximum intensity. If you’re still short one gift, I may have just the thing. Available in paperback and for the Kindle (from Amazon.com) and the Nook (from BN.com), “The First Christmas Carol,” the debut novel from [...]

The President and Who We are as a People

The always excellent Andrew Ferguson has a good piece at the Weekly Standard commenting on President Obama’s habit of using the expression “who we are as a people.”  As is usual with Ferguson’s writing, it is both funny and insightful. Partly restating Ferguson’s points, and partly developing them, I would say there are three things [...]

Sing We Noel — Let the Christmas Carol Insurgency Continue! (Video)

The word “mob” gets a bad rap, since when large groups of people suddenly coalesce in a public space, unfortunate things often happen. But in the case of a musical or dance or theater flash mob, the result can be lovely. In a world stripped of the sacred and starved for real beauty, the ongoing [...]

9 Christmas Carols That Cry To Heaven for Vengeance

  This list is completely objective and has nothing to do with my own personal taste. a 1.  “Santa Can You Hear Me?”  Yup, looks like he can.   2.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” theme song.  This is the song you hear in an elevator that just broke and is dropping really fast into Hell.   [...]

Sing ‘Hallelujah!’ — From Silent Monks to Malls to the Airport

One wonderful thing about the Christmas season is hearing songs about Christ and His birth everywhere you go — yeah, in between the odes to Frosty, Santa Claus and chestnuts, there’s always a “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” — and singing similar songs in public, getting more smiles [...]

Must-See: Breathtaking Online Exhibit of the Virgin Mary in Art

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is currently hosting an exhibit of artwork depicting the Virgin Mary from several famous Renaissance and Baroque artists. The exhibit is called Picturing Mary:  Woman, Mother, Idea, and runs from Dec. 5, 2014 to Apr. 12, 2015.  If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, this might [...]

‘The Red Tent’ on Lifetime — Bible or Bunk?

Bunk, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to biblical adaptations, the best policy always is, buyer beware. Tonight (Dec. 7), at 9 p.m. ET, Lifetime premieres a two-part adaptation, concluding Monday, of Boston-based Jewish writer Anita Diamant’s 1997 novel, “The Red Tent,” very loosely based on the story [...]


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