Tony Esolen speaks with the urgency and verbal economy of a prophet. No words are wasted and the point of the conversation is ever before him. The professor of Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization
at Providence College in RI, is a translator and a sage of things cultural and authentically Catholic. He’s also a connoisseur of classic movies.
Following a strong series of articles and books on marriage, sexual sanity, and Catholic social teaching, his latest book is titled Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.
And what a wallop it packs.
Our interview used the themes and arguments in the book as jumping off points for a discussion that ranged from the long journey from boy-to-manhood to the origins of the culture crisis, to the evergreen problem of Why Johnny Can’t Read. Few writers today combine erudition with humor, insight, and a Christian spirit.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s family of origin knows all about oppression and persecution, having fled the Soviets during the 1956 Revolution in Hungary.
Educated in the UK, Sebastian eventually settled in the United States. Through his Congressional testimony, his work as a professor with expertise in irregular warfare, and his new book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, he says America (and the west) since 9/11 has become very good at applying direct military force against terrorists and their camps, but has failed so far to confront the ideology behind ISIS and other Islamic radical groups. Drone strikes and special ops raids can be highly effective as far as they go, but they don’t win the hearts and minds of non-radicalized Muslims, not to mention the further radicalization of onlookers.
In January, 2017, Dr. Gorka was named Special Deputy to the President of the United States. Don’t miss this riveting conversation about a topic few want to address, but which becomes more and more important as we go forward.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE
Steven D. Greydanus (SDG) knows movies. He created DecentFilms.com in 2000, and he has penned untold hundreds of thoughtful reviews and essays on film criticism. Steven is the film critic for the National Catholic Register and, with his co-host David DiCerto, hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. He’s a longtime member of the Online Film Critics Society and a permanent deacon in the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
In this interview, we covered the Academy Award nominees in all the top-tier categories (gauged in terms of general audience interest), from Silence, Hacksaw Ridge, Moonlight, La La Land, Fences, Manchester By the Sea, for starters. We also talk about performances, story premises, and why the last scene can sometime make or break a film’s impact. Listen in!
BOOKS RECOMMENDED IN THIS EPISODE
by Peter Dans
by Shusaku Endo
Is the Catholic Church socialist? Are rich people the problem? How can people of faith strive for success in business without replacing God with mammon? Orange County attorney, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Tim Busch separates fact from fiction.
Can you live the rock and roll lifestyle without losing your soul? Top drummer Mike Miley keeps time for Rival Sons, the support band for Ozzy Osborne. Here he discusses the joy of walking off stage from 60,000 screaming rock fans and heading to Mass.
Only a tiny sliver of movies made each year make it to the very top. Why is that? Why has Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia universally resonated? Father Robert Spitzer, SJ, digs into the mystery of Myth.
Let’s face it: most church marketing sucks. How to effectively tell the greatest story ever told to savvy consumers? When did Jesus stop being the model for Christians in media? Author and branding guru Phil Cooke talks solutions and strategies that work.
Does God have a sense of humor? Why are funny things funny, anyhow? The excessively funny Tom Leopold ("Seinfeld," "Cheers," and many other shows) talks about the power of humor and the not-quite-likely story of coming to the Catholic Faith from Judaism.
Where does free speech end and totalitarianism begin? Don't buy into the ever-expanding variety of new pronouns for transgendered or “non-binary" persons? Learn the cost of standing up to the PC bullies with Dr. Jordan Peterson.
What do the experts on parenting know, anyway? If you’re a parent or are about to be one, you’ll love hearing TV and radio host Dr. Ray Guarendi take aim at the Expert Class. Some serious myth-busting by the clinical psychologist and father of ten.
Was the founding of America a matter of random political and military forces, or was God in the "design mix"? If so, how directly? Michael Medved, author and national radio host provides example after example of Providence in rise of the Republic.
What’s the founding DNA, so to speak, of America and the west, and how can we heal the damage? Dr. Brad Birzer of the renowned Hillsdale College provides a diagnosis and a direction toward hope in the first episode of "The Patrick Coffin Show" podcast.
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