The Corner

Reading Around

Christopher Levenick on non-Catholics who make Catholic schools possible.

Matt Zoller Seitz on superhero movies: “Audiences and studios alike are conditioned to view superhero films as more product than art. Art is allowed to fail; product isn’t. There’s a reason why positive reviews of superhero films often use the phrase ‘delivers the goods,’ as if the movie were UPS or Fresh Direct. . . . The ‘Iron Man’ films are not edgy. For all their repartee and self-awareness, they’re showcases for boxing robots. And the series’ great triumph is its ability to persuade audiences to sit still for 15 or 20 minutes at a time without wondering when the boxing robots will return.”

David Hart on the decline of atheism: “The utter inconsequentiality of contemporary atheism is a social and spiritual catastrophe. Something splendid and irreplaceable has taken leave of our culture—some great moral and intellectual capacity that once inspired the more heroic expressions of belief and unbelief alike. Skepticism and atheism are, at least in their highest manifestations, noble, precious, and even necessary traditions, and even the most fervent of believers should acknowledge that both are often inspired by a profound moral alarm at evil and suffering, at the corruption of religious institutions, at psychological terrorism, at injustices either prompted or abetted by religious doctrines, at arid dogmatisms and inane fideisms, and at worldly power wielded in the name of otherworldly goods. In the best kinds

of unbelief, there is something of the moral grandeur of the prophets—a deep and admirable abhorrence of those vicious idolatries that enslave minds and justify our worst cruelties.” (The whole thing is very quotable.)

James Pinkerton on the president and the iPod.

Ross Douthat defends Robert Bennett and his health-care proposal. (I can’t resist making one quick point in response: That legislation really would have been a tougher political sell than Obamacare or free-market health-care reform, and Douthat’s case to the contrary relies heavily on a post that its author mostly retracted.)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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