Gone is the task of providing “equipment for living,” in the words of Kenneth Burke.
November 10, 2016
This is what awaits us, the shell game, the con, the void.
In the corner, a former data wonk for the Sanders campaign is gently knocking his head against the wall. Someone from the TV room says “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.” Everyone left looks ashen, subdued, older, exhausted.
November 16, 2015
News of the massacres in Paris reached me about fifteen minutes before Nina and I were supposed to see Agnès Varda’s “Jane B.” The showing was at a former mausoleum factory and warehouse in north Philadelphia, a space built to advertise its wares, a white-marbled rectangular tombstone in the middle of brick houses, neon-lit gas stations and chicken joints, and a fortresslike Citizens Bank, down the street from a gun shop. It was all stupidly overdetermined. We went in anyway, not so much on the “mustn’t let the terrorists win” principle, more like “well, we’ve come this far.”
Retribution in repose
No, I can’t really challenge or logic chop Peter — A) Philosophers have leisure, B) Soldiers have leisure, C) Soldiers are, ergo, now philosophers; spot the fallacy. Sneering seems beside the point. I too once played at war across the toy-strewn floor of my bedroom and eagerly read books with titles like Tactical Genius in Battle.
August 5, 2013
“He hated to be alone,” Oscar’s mom (Octavia Spencer) says, when she views his corpse in the hospital.
November 15, 2011
But what is a neighborhood? Who decides what belongs there and what doesn’t? The mayor knows and the mayor decides.
October 24, 2011
Never mind democracy, this is what a “lost decade” looks like.
September 26, 2011
The visitor’s mind too struggles to fit the pieces of the past, present, and future together amid all the construction noise.
January 11, 2011
Soon people might stop writing altogether, becoming curators, montage artists, tasteful arrangers.
Jonathan Franzen’s novel is a feeling-machine.
One begins to think of race in Obama’s America like sex in some caricature of Freud’s Vienna.
May 18, 2010
According to Shields, or Lethem, when writers use other writers’ sentences it’s “sampling,” not plagiarism.
March 30, 2010
“We live in fictitious times,” Moore said at the Academy Awards. Despite the malapropism, we know what he means.
March 3, 2010
I’m hung over and a little sleepy, not in a mood to ponder the imponderables with a middle-schooler.
October 29, 2009
Having formulated this rule, Crain proceeds to circumvent it.
October 16, 2009
Marriage is indifference to handcuffs. There are always opportunities to escape.
Many scientists and philosophers acknowledge that they understand more about how damaged brains work—or, rather, don’t work— than about the neurochemistry of the normal brain. And yet, in its popular journalistic form, the new reductionism can or will soon describe all human behavior, from warfare to soul-making. The British physician, philosopher, and neuro-skeptic Raymond Tallis has summarized the doctrine: “A convergence of evolutionary theory, neuroscience, and other biological disciplines has led countless thinkers to claim that we are best understood as organisms whose entire panoply of behavior is directly or indirectly related to organic survival.”
February 27, 2008
While Rushdie is creating this world, he is simultaneously undermining the possibility of it.
A lowered voting age might just be the catalyst to help release our stalled democratic, revolutionary energies.
January 14, 2007
Feel the weight of the fallen world we live in, down to the last bullet in the last gun of the last white supremacist.
Our generation seems far too aware that reading is safe and fun, that literature is spectacle.
You, dear reader, are also supposed to be a clone among clones. And really, who’d be the wiser?
October 31, 2005
The carnival is supposed to be a mini-revolution in everyday life: paupers become kings and kings become paupers.
October 31, 2005
They call us by the polite but uncanny name of “fellow travelers,” though no one is condescending.
Do not think that we were being horrible, indifferent parents.