Garry Wills is the subject of a Festchrift published by Northwestern’s Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Nation and World, Church and God: The Legacy of Garry Wills. (April 2017)

FEATURED

Our Moloch

The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

IN THE REVIEW

Jesuits Admirable and Execrable

Philip and Daniel Berrigan, 1970

The Berrigan Letters: Personal Correspondence Between Daniel and Philip Berrigan

edited by Daniel Cosacchi and Eric Martin

American Jesuits and the World: How an Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global

by John T. McGreevy
Jesuits have never been shy about naming schools and other institutions after “Ours” (as they refer to each other)—Loyola, Xavier, Gonzaga, Canisius, Marquette. I went to Campion High School, where I was on the Bellarmine Debating Society, before entering St. Stanislaus Seminary—all three of them named for Jesuit saints. So …

On the Election—IV

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the second presidential debate, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, October 9, 2016
Hillary Clinton has been attacked so many times that survival has made her overly cautious. You could wish for her to be brave, like Angela Merkel. But think of the hours Clinton has endured before congressional committees, getting grilled, being held to a higher standard, having to prove herself in interviews, while once again by comparison a white guy gets a free ride.

My Koran Problem

A Muslim woman asking for protection from black magic inside the shrine of Abba Ruwais, a Copt saint, Cairo, Egypt, 1997
In the summer of 2015, I was asked by the directors of a university political science program to lecture about Americans’ attitudes toward Islam. I asked at the beginning how many in the audience (of about eighty students and faculty) had read the Koran. Four hands went up. Later, at …

NYR DAILY

The Emperor’s Hairdo

A waxwork of President Donald Trump, Madame Tussauds, London, January 18, 2017

What would happen to Donald Trump if he lost his hair (or what passes for it)? The first thing is that he would save a great deal of time in the creation and maintenance of such an artifact. It’s amazing what forty minutes here and forty minutes there adds up to, day by day, week by week. He would, furthermore, gain all the time he has to spend finding out what people say about his hair, his wonderful attractiveness, his non-loser look.

Crowding Around the Nativity

In the earliest crèches, the figures were life-size and the scene centered on the Holy Family. But during the Baroque period, the scale was vastly reduced while gaining complexity with the addition of peasants, merchants, dogs, goats, and even water buffalo. The artistry reached a peak in eighteenth-century Naples, when the largest ensembles would often fill several rooms.

Disciples of Distrust

I think a deeper crisis underlies Trump’s following: the shuddering distrust of every kind of authority—a contempt for the whole political system, its “establishment,” the Congress, its institutions (like the Fed), its “mainstream” media, the international arrangements it has made (not only the trade deals but the treaty obligations under NATO and other defense agreements). What has caused this bitter disillusion?

NYR CALENDAR

Spotlight

The script, written by the film’s director Tom McCarthy and the academic- and-showbiz marvel Josh Singer, is amazing in its mastery of the complex material, since many strands converged for the paper to break the hold of the hierarchy over the city.