The Definable and Indefinable Nature of Art

All these struggles to define what art is really boil down to fear—a fear that elitism will strangle joy out of what it is we all enjoy consuming.

From Signs to A Quiet Place: Perspective in Apocalyptic Horror

The claustrophobic feeling of the not-knowing forces us inside ourselves to examine our own reactions to the scenarios presented in the stories and—in the case of movies—on the screen.

Memeing the Classics: How SparkNotes on Twitter Enters into a Great Work

Memeing the classics can be a way to plant seeds of interest, sparks that make seemingly dull, intimidating, or difficult pieces of literature come alive with possibility.

A Perfect Movie: The Enduring Legacy of The Princess Bride

When the grandfather reads the story to his grandson, he invites us all to sit at his knee and listen. He invites us to be children again. 

Dancing with Milton’s Satan: The Joker and a Fascination with Evil

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, and John Milton’s Satan invite us to view them as the heroes of stories that were never intended to be about them.

‘Bigger on the Inside’: How Gateway Fantasy Gives Space to Our Longings

No one who journeys through a magic portal or gateway or liminal space in such a story believes the world or worlds on the other side will be smaller.

The Monster at the End of this Book, Arrival, and How Nonlinear Stories Help Us Think

If you know there is a monster at the end of the story, it takes great bravery to turn those pages.

Time in the Telling: How Stories of Time Help Us Grapple with a Fallen World 

All of time itself is but a dream from which the people of Narnia—and, let the reader understand, all of us—will someday wake.

Spider-Man: Far From Home and the Power of Personal Narratives

The benign neglect of Tony Stark and Peter Parker.

Disney’s Retellings, Aladdin, and Our Cultural Imagination

Some remakes of classic tales may reflect changed cultural mores, but it is a fallacy to believe we are morally evolving with each passing decade.

Fosse/Verdon Recap, “Providence” (Series Finale)

This series has poignantly shown us that it was longing that defined the lives of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.

Don’t Disparage Fiction

Fictional stories can help us see more clearly truths and falsehoods that seem complex in the real world.

Fosse/Verdon Recap, “Nowadays” (Episode 7)

Their relationship has become a sad reminder that you can have it all and still have nothing.

Fosse/Verdon Recap, “All I Care about Is Love” (Episode 6)

The tragedy of Bob Fosse was that however good he was at what he did—and he was very, very, very good—he never felt good enough.

Serial Storytelling in a Culture of Immediacy

As our only means of consuming entertainment, [binging] may turn us into fevered people impoverished for art that satisfies as only the True, the Beautiful, and the Good can.

Fosse/Verdon Recap, “Where Am I Going?” (Episode 5)

It’s not excusing his hurtful, hedonistic behavior to observe that something is broken inside Bob Fosse.