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,…

Normalizing the Upper-Middle-Class in Movies and Television

Alyssa Rosenberg worries that the introduction of characters like Ashton Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt – the replacement for Charlie Sheen’s character on Two and a Half Men – could ‘normalize’ the very wealthy: The thing that’s annoying about having a very rich character (it doesn’t sound from this description like Kutcher’s character will have lost his…

“The Harrow and the Harvest”: Weep No More My Lady

(I’m writing about Gillian Welch’s The Harrow and the Harvest until I feel like stopping.  But really, you should listen to the music more than you should pay attention to me.) Bob Dylan isn’t the only thematic influence on The Harrow and the Harvest: “Hard Times” riffs on the songs and world of Stephen Foster, re-imagined a century and…

Tits! Swords! Edginess!

(Editor’s note: Erik’s praise for “Game of Thrones” drew me out of semi-retirement. Bear with me) One of the problems with easing constraints on a creative medium is that creators are inevitably tempted to prove their boundary-pushing bona fides. Cable television has been widely hailed as this decade’s dominant cultural force, but I can think…