Category: Culture

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, […]

He Was a Lifelong Buddy

I got a story, ain’t got no moral: Let’s call him Thomas. I have known him since I was five. His was the first (and only) black family on my block, circa 1973. They could have timed their arrival better: One of Thomas’s older brothers killed his estranged white girlfriend shortly before or after the […]

My Epiphany at a New Jersey Chinese Buffet

Perhaps I am the only person for whom a visit to the Chinese buffet is an occasion for reflecting on the nature of work and society. I do not mean that I philosophize to the exclusion of stuffing myself with chicken and broccoli, hibachi noodles, and soft serve ice cream. But I will never forget […]

Redeeming the Debauched Falstaff

Falstaff: Give Me Life (Shakespeare’s Personalities) Harold Bloom, Scribner, 176 pages. In The Daemon Knows, published in 2015, the heroic, boundless Harold Bloom claimed to have one more book left in him. If his contract with Simon & Schuster is any indication, he has more work than that to complete. The effusive 86-year-old has agreed […]

The Strangeness of ‘Stranger Things’

The second season of Stranger Things is just around the corner. Set to debut on Friday, just in time for Halloween (when else?), Netflix’s return to Hawkins, Indiana, should prove a test as to whether the show can maintain what made it a standout in this new media environment: namely that it resisted many of the sentimentalizing […]

Shutting Up Richard Spencer

Certain things used to be more, well, self-evident. A great many of us didn’t necessarily like that the First Amendment protected speech we disagreed with, or that even made us afraid, but we accepted it. An agreed-upon duty to protect the right to expression irrespective of its content existed, and we knew ensuring that liberty […]

Our Shocking Acceptance of State Sanctioned Violence

“Do you mean to tell me, that if there was a law against state attorneys using blue pens and you found incontrovertible evidence that I was using blue pens, you could not follow the law and render a guilty verdict based on the evidence alone?” A few years ago, I found myself sitting in a […]

How the Banality of Aloof and Chill is Ruining Sex

It’s practically axiomatic: Whenever supposedly oppressive religious limits are cast aside in order to give freer rein to individual desire, harsher and less livable imperatives emerge in their place. “Thou shalt not kill” has given way, in our age of assisted suicide, to “Thou shalt not be a burden to others”; meanwhile, “Thou shalt not […]