Joyce Carol Oates

Recent

What I Recalled Watching Netflix

[Television is educational.]   One Saying the same stuff over and over looks like you have different things to say. Two If you’re ever in a below-average film or streaming series, and you beat the tar out of a guy, in a house, and you gaze down in both some shock as also a certain

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Seeking the King

A line everywhere misattributed to Chesterton reads thus: The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God. This line is not from the great [several senses of the word] man who recently celebrated his 150th birthday, but the mid-century most unmodern novelist Bruce Marshall. The words — which do

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He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

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‘Round Here

Imagine someone, potentially anyone, even you, perhaps, but let us, in any case, say. Yes, you. You pull into the diner – Earl’s, Norm’s, Dinah’s, something like that. A sort-of Googie architecture … but maybe not quite, as if it’d been a little late for the Space Age, and late is the one thing you

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Random

Columbo: Why We Watch

This is part one of a two-part post on why, some 45 years later, we still watch Columbo. Part two is here. This essay is excerpted from The Columbo Case Files: Season One, found here. Thank you. * For my wedding, I asked for and received the Columbo DVD collection. Complete to that point, it ended

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Time, Treasure

Saw an episode ages ago of one of the Twilight Zone reboots which, I’m pretty sure, starred Mark Hamill as this weird kid who collected toys. All this kitschy stuff from the ‘50s and grew up collecting them — and thus stayed weird and for the most part apparently lonely for his life entire. Of course

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Faith in the Shadowlands

Casting Crowns made me cry. It was the song “Somewhere in the Middle” — sometimes called “Caught in the Middle” on the Internet. I misheard one of the lines too — the phrase is “deepwater faith, in the shallow end.” It was also a little disconcerting to learn that it was written for teenagers. We

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Get Out Of The Boat

For Jonah, dissent was a felix culpa, a happy fault that brought him closer to God. Or like Dante, when doubting pleased him no less than knowing (Inferno, Canto 11), for what he could learn and gain. Our error brings us closer to Him. And He knew it would do so. Then we know he

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