A collection of 145 posts
Roya Hakakian and How to Speak About What No One Wants to Hear
I. Roya Hakakian is an American writer from Iran who commands a distinctive ability to speak about large and horrific events in a chipper tone that appears to underplay the horrific quality and, by apparently underplaying, ends up subtly underlining. It is an artful tone. It is cagey, charming, disarming,
The Western Reinvented. Again.
It has been 30 years since a Western last won the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. That was in 1992 and the film was Unforgiven [https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105695/], directed by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in it alongside Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, and Richard Harris.
Heading Into the Atom Age—Pat Frank’s Perpetually Relevant Novels
NOTE: The following essay contains spoilers. British journalist Ed West recently published an excellent essay [https://edwest.substack.com/p/children-of-men-is-really-happening?s=r] entitled “Children of Men Is Really Happening,” in which he tied together the shrinking fertility rate wreaking demographic havoc across the globe and the Russian invasion of
Against De-Materialization: Tom Wolfe in the Age of NFTs
You cannot lose, you cannot win: the present includes the past and the future. ~Marshall McLuhan I In the summer of 1970, TV-Ontario filmed Tom Wolfe in conversation with Marshall McLuhan on the lawn of McLuhan’s home in Toronto’s Wychwood Park. Towards the end of their amicable chat,
Authentic Immediacy—A Tribute to the Political Fiction of Frederick Forsyth
When the Berlin Wall fell and the USSR collapsed, one might have assumed that Cold War fiction would become irrelevant. That hasn’t turned out to be the case with Frederick Forsyth’s work. Consider, for instance, this passage from his 1979 novel, The Devil’s Alternative [https://www.amazon.
PJ O’Rourke—A Tribute
The thing about PJ O’Rourke, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74, was that everyone wanted to be around him. By “everyone,” I don’t just mean the right-wingers I hang out with, most of whom share PJ’s classical-liberal politics, but also neoconservatives like Bill
“A Pleasure to Burn”: We Are Closer to Bradbury’s Dystopia Than Orwell’s or Huxley’s
For decades, it has been common to call authoritarian new laws, norms, or government actions “Orwellian.” In 1984 [https://www.amazon.com/1984-Signet-Classics-George-Orwell/dp/0451524934/], George Orwell so brilliantly portrayed a nightmarish future that his name became synonymous with almost anything one wishes to describe as oppressive. Aldous Huxley’s
Didion in El Salvador
There is a special kind of practical information that the visitor to El Salvador acquires immediately, the way visitors to other places acquire information about the currency rates, the hours for the museums. In El Salvador one learns that vultures go first for the soft tissue, for the eyes, the
The Maus That Roared
A lot of foolishness has been written about McMinn County’s decision to remove Maus [https://www.amazon.com/Complete-MAUS-Art-Spiegelman/dp/0141014083] from the middle-school Holocaust curriculum. Headlines from across the political spectrum bellowed that Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel had been “banned” and outraged commentary duly followed:
A World of Waste, Stripped of Transcendence: James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ at 100
Few novels become institutions, to have departments rigged up around them, whole constituencies and spheres of scholarship, as works of lifelong study, fascination and confusion. Ulysses [https://www.amazon.com/Ulysses-Modern-Library-Best-Novels/dp/0679600116/ref=sr_1_4?crid=NG7V10N9NCDB&keywords=ulysses&qid=1643218547&sprefix=ulysses%2Caps%2C75&sr=8-4] , whose