Category: Culture

Artificial ‘Intelligence’ Turning Brains to Mush on YouTube

As the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre recently said in a lecture given at the University of Notre Dame, “The mind is mindless without the imagination.” And even though his subject was the grammar of morality, his pithy line prompts us to picture a “mindless mind” completely devoid of imagination. Something the exact opposite of ourselves: […]

An Interview With James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler, a novelist and journalist active since the early 1980s, burst onto the scene in 1993 with The Geography of Nowhere, perhaps the most famous post-war denunciation of suburbia. Written with the intensity of an Old Testament prophet, The Geography of Nowhere and much of Kunstler’s later work is chock full of obscure […]

France’s Harvey Weinsteins

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has laid bare the extent of off-screen sexual coercion in the film industry—but what about on-screen? While the first conflates sex and power, the other typically conflates sex and art. And one of Weinstein’s accusers claims to have experienced both. In the same year that actress Lea Seydoux says Weinstein made […]

Out of the Shire: Life Beyond Tolkien

If you look at what’s playing on your television, at what’s showing at the local cinema, at what video games your children are playing, or at what is selling in the young adult section of your neighborhood Barnes & Noble, you’ll see something that is at once deeply cultural and deeply countercultural at the exact […]

Orient Express doesn’t feel like Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie’s novels have become classics in the mystery canon—perhaps not for perfect literary prose, but most likely for the eccentricity and endearing manner of her detective protagonists, especially Hercule Poirot. He’s a stodgy, somewhat annoying little man, with habits and tics that hint at a struggle with OCD. But he’s also warm, thoughtful, friendly, […]

Blight & Flight: The Wisdom of Abandoned Buildings

I have mixed feelings about the removal of unsavory aspects of our history for the same reason that I am ambivalent about tearing down old motels and strip malls; because our built landscape, complete with its failures and its blight, provides a wealth of knowledge into how to live and not to live, into the […]

Thor: Superhero, Überman

On January 27, 1979, Saturday Night Live aired a segment from its popular TV show, “What If?” The host asks the simple question (from “Kevin O’Donnell, 10, a paperboy from Houghton Illinois”): “What if Superman had grown up in Germany instead of America?” A typical SNL comedic dramatization ensues, revealing how Überman (emblazoned on chest, […]

Stressed? Depressed? Cowboy Up!

I always leave my cowboy friends’ house in a good mood, relaxed from a couple of cans of Coors, and covered in dog fur. It’s the best way to go through life. “Cow Camp,” as they call their quaint little homestead, is frequented by cowboys, of course, eccentric old-timers, eccentric young-timers, and regular folks like […]

Metropolis at 90: You’ll Never See a Movie Like This Again

In 1927, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premiered in Berlin, accompanied by majestic symphonic music written by composer Gottfried Huppertz, one of the first orchestral works specially composed for films during the silent era. In fact, some of the film’s reconstructions and restorations were only possible using transcriptions from Huppertz’s film score cues. Metropolis was recut considerably after its premiere and the […]

More Women Have Joyless Sex Than You Think

The great 19th century British jurist, James Fitzjames Stephen, writes the following in Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: “A woman marries. This in every case is a voluntary action. If she regards the marriage with the ordinary feelings and acts from the ordinary motives, she is said to act freely. If she regards it as a necessity, […]