Against Politicized Aesthetics: A Review of “Baudelaire Contra Benjamin” by Beibei Guan and Wayne Cristaudo

Walter Benjamin was one of the most important literary and critical theorists of the 20th century, or so the narrative goes. Beibei Guan and Wayne Cristaudo, at a very informative moment in their work, mention how the “authorities” of the human condition are no longer the great writers and philosophers of the past—like Homer, Plato, Augustine, … Continue reading Against Politicized Aesthetics: A Review of “Baudelaire Contra Benjamin” by Beibei Guan and Wayne Cristaudo

Our Brave New Century

Michel Foucault famously wrote in Madness and Civilization, “The ultimate language of madness is that of reason.”[1]  Foucault was referring to liberal civilization—born of the Enlightenment—a civilization that extolled the virtues of materialistic rationalism, individualism, market economics, private property, which ends in the slow erosion of the communitarian bonds that had shaped human society since pre-modernity.  … Continue reading Our Brave New Century

Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (3/3): The Aesthetics of Horror and the Splendor of God

In this final exposition of Catholicism and the Gothic, we shall turn to the obvious in Gothic aesthetics and the quintessential characteristic of the traditional post-Carolingian aesthetic of Catholicism: The aesthetic of horror. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom is an integral aspect … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (3/3): The Aesthetics of Horror and the Splendor of God

Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche (1/3): Depth, Depravity, and the Restlessness of Man

The image of the Gothic is something usually depicted as something dark, depressing, and horrifying. The Gothic was, for a time, nearly synonymous with Catholicism, especially in the Protestant world where Gothic was associated with darkness and superstition like Catholicism was depicted as being—and this was reinforced and propagated by British Gothic horror often being … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche (1/3): Depth, Depravity, and the Restlessness of Man

Introduction to Political Aesthetics

Political aesthetics has been an important topic of political philosophy ever since the publication of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. For Burke’s critics, his sudden criticism of the French Revolution was shocking if not an act of apostasy given his previous support for the American Revolution. For Burke and his defenders, both … Continue reading Introduction to Political Aesthetics

Nihilism, Video Games, and the Art of Aesthetical Immersion: Or Why “Life is Strange” Was an Amazing Game

Later this year, my contribution to an anthology on pedagogy dealing with narrative and persona immersion in religion should be published. Drawing on St. Augustine, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Walter Ong, I was arguing that the special relationship between religion, orality, and the synthetic relationship between the monomyth to the human psyche, will ensure … Continue reading Nihilism, Video Games, and the Art of Aesthetical Immersion: Or Why “Life is Strange” Was an Amazing Game