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Learn to Read, Güero

Last night we saw a movie with friends and then went out to share a meal and chat. Normal sounding stuff but really a bit sideways to normal. We went to Güeros, a Spanish language film. As I don’t know Spanish I was happy it was subtitled so my eyes could see what my ears […]

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Happiness Is Notoriously Difficult To Describe

Preface to the Paperback Edition of George Kateb’s Utopia and Its Enemies (1972, 1963). “Of course, no honest person claims that happiness is now a normal condition among human beings; but perhaps it could be made normal, and it is upon this question that all serious political controversy really turns.” “Happiness is notoriously difficult to […]

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Ellen Willis Is Essential

About a year ago there was a very dismissive review written by Lisa Levy published in the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) of the essay collection The Essential Ellen Willis (“Irritated Critics“) . Ellen Wills is a wonderful writer who will teach you so much–especially if you’ve never heard of her; especially if you are young; especially if you […]

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The Tyranny of Technological Replication

I’m never sure how I can defend a critique against technology–it seems as though we have gained so much. And whenever I rant against drones or iPads (or the very device upon which I’m pecking) someone will pipe up, “I s’pose you’d prefer we didn’t have penicillin either!” Maybe. I’m really not sure. By which […]

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The Dystopian Perfection of Whiplash

We watched Whiplash last night. By all accounts it was an intense experience. Nerve-wracking to say the least. Perhaps triumphant in the end, but I don’t think so. Have you seen it? If not, in brief, a boy (19) who is a drummer and aspiring to be “one of the greats” is at the most […]

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Break It Up But Don’t Sell It Off

It’s quite simple to say there was, at one point in England’s history, shared or common land upon which groups of people subsisted and the method by which they managed these lands allowed for a common subsistence that protected the future “health” of that land. That is, it was a kind of holistic practice that […]

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Refuse Thy Name

Last night on WFHB’s Interchange I hosted a discussion about Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. You can download the podcast here: Interchange – The Prick of Noon: Romeo & Juliet. I believe that, after Hamlet, it is the most performed of Shakespeare’s plays. I also understand that some folks think it is too juvenile and too sappy. […]

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Serving the Word

It might have been but a deception of the vapours, but, the longer the stranger was watched, the more singular appeared her manoeuvres. “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville In a recent scholarly biography of Louis Agassiz, Christoph Irmscher, in a chapter on Agassiz’s notorious “race science,” notes that Agassiz is in no way the lone […]

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All Over Lost

I am nearly 47. I am very old and extremely ignorant of what has meaning to so many people these days. This piece in The New York Times by Leon Wieseltier (h/t Colin Allen), Among the Disrupted, pretty much expresses much of what I feel regarding the way the speed of “cultural transmission” allows for […]

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UPDATE: About a Boy? Richard Linklater’s Critique of Woman

UPDATE, 1/5/2014: Patricia Arquette as quoted on IMDB concerning her character submitting to drunken abuse by men: “Now, I wouldn’t be like that. I would climb across the table and stab him in the head with a fork.”   My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when […]

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Building the Insanity In: Ex Machina

This is not a movie review. This is me thinking about empathy. Last night, lonely little ol’ me sat in […]

Dislodged Giant: Can We Use Stevens to Interpret Dickinson?

You tell me. “I thought that nature was enough” by Emily Dickinson I thought that nature was enough Till Human […]

By Metaphor Alone

Motivation matters. If the scientific method (which we make into the massive all-encompassing abstraction of SCIENCE to compete with the […]

By Force of Law

Nothing new under the sun. Why do you suppose a “Sanders” presidency would change what is described below in Chapter […]

Now You Know What A Horse Is: Views On Education in the 19th Century

Schools are scenes of extreme manipulation and coercion. Our national and state interest in them is less than benign, or […]

A Rule of Storytelling and Unhappiness

As my friend began reading William Morris’s News From Nowhere, or, An Epic of Rest, I thought I might take […]