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Sunday, August 7 2011

Steve Earle’s ‘I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive’

A been-there-lived-it-attitude and street-level redemption, all propelled by a songwriter's/storyteller's lyrical and narrative knack.


Thursday, August 4 2011

‘Shock Value’: What Men (and Boys) Really Fear

Jason Zinoman argues that the fantastic, Gothic monsters of the first half of the 20th century were replaced by a New Horror -- the monster right in front of your face.


Sunday, July 24 2011

Frustrated Fantasies: Misperceptions of Fandom and ‘Gone With the Wind’

The value of fandom is often underestimated. Rather than the stereotyped burnt-out housewives or socially inept teenagers that obsessively and indiscriminately consume popular culture, fans are active agents.


Friday, July 22 2011

No One Is Untouchable: Not Federico Garcia Lorca, Not Ai Weiwei

Governments tend to take on their worst form, to devolve to their most horrific manifestation, when they kill artists. Artists look out into the horrors of the world, and inevitably, the horrors sometimes reach back.


Sunday, July 17 2011

The Hate for Southern Hip-Hop: Why So Serious?

The way some of us disparage Southern rap, you'd think rappers like Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame had recorded a record dissing Kool G. Rap and Big Daddy Kane.


Monday, July 4 2011

‘Norwegian Wood’ Is Pretty Onscreen, But Puzzling

Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood has been referred to as the "Japanese Catcher in the Rye", but J. D. Salinger said that his book was not actable and he would never sell the rights to Hollywood. Maybe Murakami should have listened to Salinger.


Thursday, June 30 2011

Enmeshed In Modernity: Malcolm Turvey’s ‘The Filming of Modern Life’

Most of these films have been studied to death, then autopsied, buried, exhumed, and autopsied again, but Malcolm Turvey unearths some fresh perspectives and in the process, provides a nice corrective to long-misguided notions.


Tuesday, June 28 2011

Tommy McKearney’s ‘The Provisional IRA Is an Insider’s Analysis of the Dream and the Reality

A contemporary analysis of the main IRA force in its 40 years "from insurrection to parliament", from a participant not in a seminar but a cell, as an operative and not as a professor, a volunteer and a leader of the IRA -- not a reporter.


Wednesday, June 22 2011

Dylan As Text, Sub-Text, Ur-Text in ‘Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown’

This is Bob Dylan as shifting text, not just layered like pages, back or front, or over-laid like a palimpsest, but cross-wise and motile as a termite.


Monday, June 20 2011

Reality, and Then Some, as Conveyed in ‘The Wire’ and ‘Oliver Twist’

The spoonful of sugar that The Wire employs in relating its harsh theme is all wrapped up in that medicine's themes of fatalism. The humor employed in Oliver Twist highlights the opposite: the needlessness of the system that allows orphans to starve to death.


In Praise of Silliness

They say you gotta laugh to keep from crying. A simple dose of pure silliness taken on a regular basis is much needed, these days.


Thursday, June 16 2011

Prince’s Parade: It’s Really All About the Music

A large part of what I love about Prince is his ability to take his influences and synthesize them into a whole that suits his fancy. So it's not so much that he brings a new dish to the table. It's more that he explores new ways to enjoy what's already there.


Monday, June 6 2011

David Foster Wallace’s Posthumous ‘The Pale King’ Explores Self-Consciousness As a Disease

The problem with The Pale King is not that it killed a great writer, but that a great writer’s own problems became the narrowing factor for what might have been his greatest work.


Sunday, June 5 2011

Cinderella May Have Eaten Peggy Orenstein’s Daughter, But Who Ate Cinderella?

All the expertise in the world doesn’t prepare a parent to face the vagaries of American culture that lays itself pink, shiny, and bejewelled at the feet of a young girl.


Wednesday, May 11 2011

How Sherlock Holmes and Isaac Asimov Can Help Purge Your Social Media Addiction

Old books and even older movies can fend off the creeping anxiety of information overload.


Friday, May 6 2011

Christopher Newfield’s ‘Unmaking the Public University’

What happens to America's higher education system when humanists meet industrial (and now post-industrial) knowledge managers and technocrats?


Sunday, May 1 2011

88 Highly Debatable Statements About ‘Reality’ in ‘Reality Hunger’

When I review a book, I like to dog-ear pages that contain interesting passages or noteworthy statements. By the time I was done with Reality Hunger, my paperback was so puffed up by pages that were doubled in width from dog-earing that it looked like I'd dropped it into a hot bath filled with Calgon and then left it to dry on a radiator.


Wednesday, April 27 2011

‘Atheist Manifesto’ Combines Density with Levity

This brisk study encompasses vast learning, marshaled with much wit, considerable venom and steady argument, all doled out in differing amounts.


Wednesday, April 20 2011

‘Electric Eden’: A Musical Retelling of the Elusive Past

Rob Young, editor at The Wire music magazine, conjures up the contradictions of sound technology harnessed to rural moods, and an urban audience longing for antiquarian lore.


Tuesday, April 19 2011

How TV Ruined Charlie Brooker

Everything the media told us we now had to question, because Charlie Brooker showed us the truth. But hearts were broken when television's biggest critic was seduced by the boob tube's charm.


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