Monday, June 6 2011
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
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
Old books and even older movies can fend off the creeping anxiety of information overload.
Friday, May 6 2011
What happens to America's higher education system when humanists meet industrial (and now post-industrial) knowledge managers and technocrats?
Sunday, May 1 2011
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, April 10 2011
Upon this ethical foundation for an entertaining tale, Kevin Holohan follows a satirical tradition which questions authority, undermines cliché, and upends the social order.
Thursday, March 24 2011
Hal Hartley's films bridged the world of art school vibes and workplace routines, elite snottiness and pedestrian punches, suburban angst and critical thinking finesse, and mixed-up politics and prolonged personality crises.
Wednesday, March 23 2011
Despite her love of books, Jackie Kennedy Onassis spent a lifetime trying to prevent people from writing about her, sometimes with the accompanying threat of legal action. Her entire life was led with one arm thrust outward, eyes cast downward, keeping the world at bay.
Monday, March 21 2011
Now don’t get me wrong—of course I believe in saving the planet (at least until scientists determine if there are other inhabitable planets with better mobile phone service), but there's gotta be a limit.
Sunday, March 20 2011
Like Aristophanes in Ancient Greece, Mark Twain in 19th century America, or Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, Banksy’s visual humor chastises power in its multiple manifestations by hauling it before the court of public opinion for a well-deserved flogging.
Thursday, March 17 2011
When halal turkeys sell for Thanksgiving, "Happy Holidays" drowns out "Merry Christmas", Easter egg hunts replace Mass celebrating the Resurrection, and sacred Catholic terms in Quebec serve only as swear words, culture has parted ways with religion.
Monday, March 14 2011
What makes Close Encounters of the Third Kind stand out to this day is that it isn’t the usual UFO tale of “us vs them”, like Spielberg’s later remake of War of the Worlds; rather, it's very much a story about Earthlings.
Thursday, March 10 2011
Like J.M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year, Ill Fares the Land and The Memory Chalet reveal the diverse cross-pollination of public and private speech. Ill Fares the Land ostensibly contains the strong opinions, The Memory Chalet the "soft" opinions.
Tuesday, March 1 2011
How fitting that a post-punk band from the late '70s, fascinated by the Marxist metaphysics of modernity, would re-emerge to remind us that nothing new has happened in rock in decades. Of course Thom Yorke might disagree...
Wednesday, February 23 2011
A subgenre has emerged that should placate memoirphobes and please memoirfiles: the artist-teacher memoir.
Tuesday, February 22 2011
Laura Bush largely avoided the public slanderings that Nancy Reagan endured and that, to a lesser extent, Michelle Obama is now enduring, even though George W. Bush himself was perhaps the most excoriated President in recent American history. The reasons have something to do with Laura Bush's literary sensibility.
Thursday, February 17 2011
The essays included in this fine, wide-ranging, thought-provoking volume take pains to remind the reader how every instance of urban dystopia – whether in Mexico, India, Africa or the United States – is shadowed by the particular history and legacy of its geography, culture, and society.