Monthly Archives: September 2018

Journalism as an Act of Grace

First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2017 In fourth grade, to Sister Clarita at St. Raphael’s Elementary School, I announced I would be a writer. Had I known about jobs with more status and better pay, I might have announced my intention to become a chief financial officer of a reality television network, but, c’est...

The Media And #MeToo

First Published in U.S. Catholic, March 2018 The #MeToo movement, launched by activist Tarana Burke 10 years ago, went viral in October after actress Alyssa Milano and other prominent women publicized it, and after countless women (and a few men) published the hashtag on their social media pages to indicate that they had been sexually...

Wonder Woman At Last

First Published in U.S. Catholic, September 2017 In Wonder Woman, there are moments of a kind so uncommonly witnessed in film that the audience can almost hear paradigms shifting, like giant, tectonic plates of cultural attitudes grating over one another as they struggle to realign. Of course, such shifts should have happened long ago, or...

Lost In Space – Again

First Published in U.S. Catholic, September 2018 This Time, The Far-Flung Family Is A Lot More Modern Toss a family onto a deserted tropical island—or, say, an uncharted planet in outer space—and see what happens when all social and cultural conventions and pressures are swept away and parents and children are forced to work together to...

Black Panther and Heroism

First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2018 Who gets to be a hero? In ancient Greece, heroes were half god, half human. Comic superheroes followed that classic mold—unlikely, nerdy people with exceptional abilities to leap tall buildings or fly invisible planes, celebrating the potential greatness hidden in mere mortals and making common folk feel as if...

Sally Field, Doris, and Older Women with Younger Men

First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2016 Audiences like Sally Field. They really, really like her. And in her new film, Hello, My Name is Doris (Roadside Attractions, 2016), she ispoignantly human, wonderfully funny, and enormously touching. While she is on the screen, which is nearly constantly, there is nowhere else to look. Field is delightful...

Madame Secretary Breaks New Ground

First Published in U.S. Catholic, June 2017 Madam Secretary (CBS, in its third season) breaks bold new ground in media portrayals of women leaders: Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord’s friends, family, colleagues, and even the President of the United States treat her as if, in fact, she can lead.  On television and in film, when women...

Good Girls Revolt

First Published in U.S. Catholic, March 2017 Once upon a time, in 1969, women weren’t “allowed” to wear slacks to the office. This wasn’t for modesty reasons—mini-skirts and tight dresses were fine, 9-5. It was to keep gender differences clearly delineated, as in the classic insult to assertive wives, “she wears the pants in that...

Gilmore Girls: More Than Junk Food

First Published in U.S. Catholic, December 2016 Oh, to live in Stars Hollow, where crabby but hunky Luke runs the diner, quirky Kirk holds a long string of peculiar jobs, and a single mother and her daughter can be seen as a legitimate and respectable family. On television and in film, single mothers are too often...

Anne With An ‘E’ Gets It Right

First Published in U.S. Catholic, Dec 2017 Judging by the stories media tell us, boys are the only humans perplexed by puberty. Film and television tales of moving from adolescence to adulthood focus primarily on young men, as though girls did not also lurch awkwardly toward maturity. Think of Boyhood, The Sandlot, Stand By Me,...