Intellectual Art, Popular Media, and Getting Away from Aesthetic Subjectivity

In the May 2012 issue of the Atlantic, writer Taylor Clark has an excellent profile of videogame developer Jonathan Blow. He’s misanthropic, severely thoughtful, and somewhat abrasive. But he’s also a brilliant creator and a near perfect example of what Clark thinks the medium needs more of: developers willing to make smart videogames. Because for Clark the…

How Not to Discuss Whether We Need Stories

“Do we need stories?” asks Tim Parks. An interesting question. And an important one. But not a matter easily resolved within the confines of a few tweets, a couple Facebook updates, or an entire blog post (even one at the respected New York Review of Books). That’s obvious though, right? So why Does Parks appear attempting just that?…

Thoughts From Travelworld

It’s odd, really, how much travel I’ve been doing recently. I went nearly a year without any business travel and now it seems like every other day I’m away from home, in a hotel or on an airplane, I even got some yacht stories traveling around which you can visit this blog to read. As…

A New Ending Couldn’t Destroy Mass Effect’s Artistic Integrity

[Note: This is a companion piece to something I wrote earlier this week on the same subject but from a different point of view.  In addition, while there are no spoilers per say, the way I talk about and characterize Mass Effect 3’s ending in the abstract might make it better for people who want to approach…

Skimming for the Dirty Parts – Book Censorship In Public Schools, The Enders Game Controversy, and The False Allure of Public Decency

While it is true that I stole both Brave New World and Flowers for Algernon from the public library, it should be noted for the record that I did eventually return them. Plus, it was all Newsweek’s fault anyway. I was thirteen, and my parents had only just started subscribing to Newsweek. The magazine itself…

Country Music and the Culture War

This was brought up in an earlier thread, but Will Wilkinson’s post on country music is worth a closer look. Wilkinson listens to country music in his car – sometimes I do, too. Sometimes I also listen to conservative talk radio in my car, but unlike country music I find very few redeeming qualities in…

What Is Welfare For?

Writing over at The New Inquiry, Ned Resnikoff asks the Left to think a little more concretely about what it means to fetishize, as most have during the Great Recession, jobs qua jobs. Using a Florida example highlighted recently by Mike Konczal — which, in a nutshell, found that (not incidentally disproportionately African-American) welfare recipients…

A song for Thursday

I’ve probably posted this before but it’s just such a great song. The Once and Future Carpenter, by the Avett Brothers I’m such a dork, I asked Lyle Lovett what he thought of the Avett Brothers because something about how really sincere and friendly those guys are really reminded me of Lovett. He told me he…

Celebrating Cheese Week

(Forgive me for lack of blogging recently. Overtaken by events and all that.) What a happy coincidence. For me, preparing my weak flesh for the inaugural Big Ten showdown for Nebraska (their opponent: Wisconsin) meant indulging in a week of cheese, corn, and so, so much beer. Turns out, it is also British Cheese Week.…

Gripes

I’m not feeling super-motivated to write about politics these days – the two debates and the job speech over the last couple weeks have left me too exhausted to even bother – so instead I’m going to channel all of that disappointment into talking about things I hate. This is not an interesting post, but…

Nostalgia and film

As a brief follow up to my post on upper-middle-class families in modern television and film, I’d like to respond to this comment by Sam MacDonald: Yes. If we could only go back to my childhood, when there were accurate, realistic portrayals of the American middle class, such as the Jeffersons, Silver Spoons, Dallas, Dynasty,…