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.

Finding Reason and Goodness in the Longing for a Superhero

Our collective superhero fascination reveals a lot about how we define ourselves, Jesus, and our relationship to him.

Thirsty for the Galaxy’s Edge: A Dispatch from Star Wars Land

There’s an insatiable appetite behind this ever-increasing desire for deeper escape and stories that never end.

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.

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

The benign neglect of Tony Stark and Peter Parker.

Booksmart and Female Ambition

Yet the more radical vision of flourishing for women would strike harder at the heart of the film’s concept: what if Molly’s real mistake was in her ultimate goal of power and success?

Training Dragons and Learning to Say Goodbye

The Hidden World shows us goodbyes in all their gritty pain and walks us through them.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Is Not Safe, But He’s Good

Godzilla-worship is idolatrous in reality, but this fiction helps us simulate “worship” of a great entity, despite its terror and ability to wound us.

Persuasion 170 | A Titanic Podcast Season Finale

Titanic is in the hot seat for Persuasion‘s Never Seen series finale.

Knock Down the House and Our View of the Political Millieu

Knock Down the House provides real-life glimpses of what we love most about our favorite political dramas.

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.

Reality TV and Our Kingdom of Spectacle

Competing for titles, money, contracts, and (sometimes even) a person’s affections, all for the entertainment of an audience, can cause figurative deaths—devaluation of a person’s worth, the consumption of their soul.

Persuasion 168 | Describing The Breakfast Club Ruckus, with Wade Bearden & Kevin McLenithan

Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson pack the Persuasion house with Seeing and Believing hosts Wade Bearden and Kevin McLenithan to discuss The Breakfast Club.

Eighth Grade and the God Who Loves

For all of the striving, pain, and difficulty Kayla goes through to obtain love it turns out that a father’s love is what it takes to set her free.

Persuasion 165 | Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca

Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson continue their Never Seen series discussing Casablanca in all its silver screen glory.

Endgame‘s Rally of Women Avengers

I don’t think a heavy-handed scene in which the women of the MCU are haphazardly thrown together is reason enough on its own to cheer, but I am encouraged by the possibility that Marvel recognizes a deficiency.