Reading it again after about twenty years, the sex in Henry Miller’s book is less startling than the language.
I’m sitting in the public library, where a volunteer is explaining the contents to a group of recent immigrants to Canada. “It’s not real. Fiction is not real,” she explains. Says you! I think.
My forebears can beat up your literary icons
I’d like to do something less stultifying, please.
What did Boethius (and Plato) have against poetry?
Stevenson’s story endures because we sympathize with Jekyll and identify with Hyde.
In Satrah, Punjab recently the esteem that had been cruelly stripped from one family was blissfully restored when Dilshad Bibi, acting with great dignity, honorably slashed open his daughter’s throat in front of a crowd of esteemed onlookers.
Memories of a friend and chaotic muse.
A few lessons gained through marginal labor.
Hate working? There’s always welfare!
Cultural vibrancy- what is it good for?
Trigger warning! The New York Times reports about American undergrads pushing to have professors issue “trigger warnings” for great books that might be psychologically upsetting to students who have experienced trauma. Professors, a bit traumatized by ongoing efforts to turn their profession into a temp position and by those undergraduates who already see reading books…
Are stalkers just better suited to a decontextualized online culture than the rest of us?
Aesthetic tastes are subjective? Aesthetic tastes are objective? Okay, but what are we really doing?
The Pew Research Center tells us that reports of the death of the library have been greatly exaggerated.
New Dealer offered an explanation of why we all should care if cultural institutions go under. Now, Rufus explains why he cares.
For years now, the Corcoran Gallery in D.C. has found bold and innovative ways to shoot itself in the foot. Now, it’s over.
Love, like death, cares nothing for scheduling.
Cinematic shorthand tends to make use of emblematic actions to visually represent certain eras: the 40s USO dance, 50s drag race, 60s protest, etc. These, usually collective, activities come to be how we visualize historical periods such that we wonder if those who lived through the periods but sat out the activities were really there.
If you run into Rufus at a party, do not offer him blow.
Falling in love with someone is the most common thing in the world, yet it feels miraculous- like the eruption of the divine into everyday life. When people have religious experiences, does it feel like falling in love?
Each year, New Year’s Eve brings to mind The Apartment, a film whose climax takes place on that evening. When you watch it next, note Shirley MacLaine’s great bit of acting as everyone at the party is singing Auld Lang Syne and her face radiates the melancholy of the holiday- our shared delusion of renewal…
Now, let us never speak of 2013 again. Clearly, the 13th year of a millennium is like the 13th floor of a building- leave it blank in the history books. The number of friends who’ve told me this was the “worst year” of their lives is staggering. It was certainly the worst year of mine…
It might be hard, but academics can be reintegrated into society!
Rufus takes a stab at explaining why he finds the local culture where he lives to be pathological but not in decline.
Rufus shares an article his great-grandfather wrote during a road trip through Fascist Italy with Ernest Hemingway in 1929.
I’m not the only one who Sinclair Lewis leaves a bit cold. Here’s a rant by Ernest Hemingway from a letter to my great-grandfather*:
If the American middle class vanishes, will the American bourgeois mindset be lost forever?
Quite often cultural institutions choose to enter a state of flux and can’t get out.
Feeling bored the other day I attended a “punk rock matinee” at the local institution of higher drinking. How these happen is the owner of the punk rock record store around the corner books three or four teenage bands to come bang the bangers and strum the strummers and they charge five bucks at the…
What are prisons for? It’s an easy question to answer quickly, but then the answers pile up. Prisons are designed to keep criminals off the street, but not forever. They’re intended to punish those who do harm to society. They satisfy the need to bring wrongdoers to justice. They are an expression of the values…
Back before there were photographic school yearbooks, it was not uncommon for young people to have autograph books. They were small notebooks with hard covers that were small enough to fit in one’s pocket. Recently, I found two of them from ancestors of my mother’s father and these are some of the inscriptions I found…
Is marriage an unsolvable problem? It certainly seems that way from the case studies offered in Western literature where happy marriages are few and far between and often of the long distance sort of Odysseus and Penelope who didn’t have to manage living together for twenty years. Barriers seem to foster romance- some of the…
Apologies to James Poulos. Been meaning to post something by “the noble Savages.” This song is about the apocalypse.
Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on Guns In America. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. We’re having this discussion because rampage shootings have occurred with enough frequency in recent years to bring to…
To hear them tell it, they’ll be lucky to stay afloat for a few more years.