A Romantic, a Monk, and a Neoliberal Walk Into a Bar…

On Romanticism in Politics Romanticism is wonderful in a work of fiction, art or video game. As a died-in-the-wool modern day romantic, I’ve spent most of my life doing my best to use fantasy novels, role-playing-games, and other modes of escape to travel to other worlds. This world can feel awfully pale and insubstantial at…

Rise of the right-wing double-speak machine and the Sandra Fluke affair

Think of this as a brief addition to Tod Kelly’s last piece which reminded me how unbelievably silly the American political scene has become. This whole Sandra Fluke affair – my eyes just glaze over. I can’t help it, it’s like so many of the other nontroversies plaguing our national discourse. The Limbaughs and Coulters and Becks of…

Sympathy with the Kabbalists

I once wrote a short story for workshop that involved, I believe, the narrator dismissing any approach to grief informed by the Kabbalah as guilty of a kind of heretical dualism.  It wasn’t this-worldly enough.  Afterward, a classmate stopped me and said, “You know, for all your complaints, you do start sounding awfully Kabbalistic when…

Chicago-style politics means you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight

I’m so tired of buzz-phrases repeated endlessly on cable news so that people who are angry and don’t quite know why can repeat them without really thinking about what they mean. Well that’s not entirely true. I’m also sort of fascinated by them, but that’s just because I’m a blogger and we’re designed to be…

Punctuated Equilibrium

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 4/11/2011 – Christopher Carr to William, Robert, Becca, Kevin, Kevin, Adam, Caitlin, Joseph, Julie, Dmitri Hey guys, Wondering what you thought about this cover letter:   Here’s the job description: Title: Junior Digital Video Production Assistant II Location(s): Cambridge MA PT/FT: Full Time Pos. Number: S7658763b37bh-S7 Dept.: Center for Biomedical Science Journalism Payroll Category: T Work Shift Code: S09-0401 JUNIOR DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCTION ASSISTANT…

Missteps

Many reliable writing guides tell us to visualize all figures of speech. This is almost always good advice. It’s particularly good advice while reading a piece of bad writing. The infelicitous but visualized figure of speech is the one true joy of bad writing. But sometimes this good advice fails. Each of the following is…

bad analogies

I was out for drinks with friends and Israel came up in the conversation.  A friend of mine said that she’d heard somewhere – Fox maybe? – that if you likened Gaza to a Nazi concentration camp you were an anti-Semite, and isn’t that ridiculous?  Can’t we criticize the Israeli government’s policy without being anti-Semitic?…