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First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

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Film

Parasites: Montesquieu on the End of Civic Virtue in a Republic

Bong Joon-ho's scathing Parasite reflects Montesquieu's critique that the decline of civic virtue causes great social inequality, which then incurs greed, envy, and violence.

Film

Defragmenting Bodies: Yoko Ono's 'Fly' at 50

In her 1970 avant-garde short Fly, Yoko Ono works within the same parameters as directors like Alfred Hitchcock or Takashi Miike. Yet, she posits the intermixture of her celluloid images as reconstructive effort, not a destructive one.

Film

"I'll See You Later": Repetition and Time in Almodóvar's 'All About My Mother'

There are mythical moments in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. We are meant to register repetition in the story as something wonderfully strange, a connection across the chasm of impossibility.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

Books

'Egress' Mourns and Celebrates the Life and Work of Theorist Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher's insights are often obscured in Matt Colquhoun's personal/academic hybrid, Egress, which ranges far and wide over philosophy and pop culture.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Love at a Socially-Isolating Distance

In one sense, life in the time of Coronavirus clarifies an essential element of love: love always occurs at an ontological distance.

Books

Nazism Repackaged? A Closer Look at the "Fascist Subtext" of 'Attack on Titan'

Many fantasy writers have incorporated the visual footprint of the Third Reich into their fictional worlds. Few, however, have done so as extensively as the creator of Attack on Titan, who revisited this terrible chapter of history not to find inspiration for a fearsome antagonist, but to excavate the divisive ideas that lay buried there.

Books

Optimism and the Inquisition: The Extraordinary Life of Girolamo Cardano

Polymath Girolamo Cardano was beaten, imprisoned, survived a plague, and was banned by the church. Yet his work in medicine, engineering, mathematics and more is present in our lives today.

Television

You'll Never Make It Alone: On Groups in 'The Good Place'

What happens when you put an Arizona dirtbag, a human turtleneck, a narcissistic monster, and the dumbest person you've ever met in the same room? They become good people, sure, but more importantly, they become a group.

Music

Tipping the Swear Jar: How mewithoutYou Used the F-Bomb to Say More Than the F-Word

Lyricist Aaron Weiss of post-punk Christian band mewithoutyou used the F-word in a song and it got banned from radio and the album got pulled from record stores. Meanwhile, his fans ponder his parodying of cultural mores.

Books

'Mister Rogers and Philosophy', for the Children Now Grown

Mister Rogers and Philosophy considers reality, fantasy, and our philosophical role in both worlds of the long-running PBS children's program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Books

Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence (By the Book)

Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, the contributors to Abjection Incorporated examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga. Enjoy this generous excerpt, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond
Books

Ever Have That Theory About Feelings About Theory in Grad School?

Graduate school, everyone? The glory of Jordan Alexander Stein's Theory is that it unmasks both the utility and the futility of theory.

Film

Embracing Nothing: Nihilism in Bellocchio's 'Fists in the Pocket'

Bellocchio's best work, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) is key to understanding the stark shift Italian cinema experienced in moving from the post-realism phase of the 1950s into the experimentalism, social commentary, and surrealism of the 1960s.

Books

Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel's Essays Make It Fun to Ponder, 'Am I a Jerk?

Eric Schwitzgebel's excellent and accessible philosophy in A Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical Misadventures would be great at parties—just open up to any random three-page essay, read it aloud, and let the conversation flow.

Games

'The Witcher' Game and Those Inescapable Nietzschean Blues

Who is man? Who is monster? Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomies are at play in the video game series, The Witcher, soon to be a Netflix series.

Books

Combustible Hope: Critics Simon Reynolds and Darren Ambrose on Mark Fisher's Works and Philosophy

Critic Mark Fisher never stooped to suckle the masses; nor did he fluff the pillows of academics. Colleagues Simon Reynolds and Darren Ambrose provide insight into Fisher's posthumous book, k-punk, and his intriguing legacy.

Books

'The Madness of Knowledge' Is Maddeningly Banal

Like some kind of academic performance art, it's as if the author of Madness of Knowledge smashed a pane of glass with a hammer and was dazzled by the tiny shards.

Books

How, in These Times, Can We Reconcile 'Anger and Forgiveness'?

There's a lot of anger in the ugly, infuriatingly stupid, and implacable discourses of our political culture, to say nothing of the distorting, amplifying, and accelerating effects new media has for our anger. Perhaps it's time to revisit Martha Nussbaum's Anger and Forgiveness.

Books

​​'Good Enough' ​​​Is Great on Darwin

In Good Enough: The Tolerance for Mediocrity in Nature and Society, philosopher Daniel S. Milo argues that science and society have overemphasized Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection

Film

Abortion and Difference Feminism in Agnès Varda's 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't'

It is the impossible demand placed on the woman that drives the engine of Agnès Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't.

Film

The Terrifying Reciprocity of the Aesthetic Gaze in Visconti's 'Death in Venice'

Luchino Visconti's oft-misunderstood Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia) tenderly explores how beauty stares back at us and demands that we accept and acknowledge its terrible contradictions.

Film

War's Degradation of the Human in Bergman's 'Shame'

Ingmar Bergman's Shame is one of his few films so blatantly concerned with the impositions of the external world,as opposed to the internal, subjective aspects of life.

Books

Unlike Virgil, De Villiers Has a Sense of Humor About 'Hell and Damnation'

Marq De Villiers' readers will readily discern where -- aside from abysses -- Hell and Damnation: A Sinner's Guide to Eternal Torment is headed: someplace unexpectedly fun.

Books

Open Court's The Handmaid's Tale and Philosophy Emphasizes Caution and Awareness

As far as The Handmaid's Tale and Philosophy­ is concerned, Trump et al are the exact bastards you're not supposed to let grind you down.

Books

Is There Hope for Knowledge? On Robert Pasnau's 'After Certainty'

In After Certainty, Robert Pasnau constructs a history of knowledge and concludes that most theories of knowledge aren't up to par. But, he says, we can hope.

Music

A Deeper Disney Discourse on Song

We look at Disney songs through the lens of hardcore hermeneutics. Be warned, you may never be able to hear these songs the way you did before!

Books

'Aquinas and the Market' and the Possibility of a "Truly Humane Economic System"

With Aquinas and the Market, economist and theologian Mary L. Hirschfeld begins a necessary conversation between economic and theological sectors, in the academy and, one hopes, outside the ivory towers and seminaries, to calculate our ultimate worth.

Film

The Unhappiest Two: The Impossible Demand in Ingmar Bergman's 'Scenes from a Marriage'

Kierkegaard's existential rumination on our impossible relation to an incommensurable and unknowable God informs much of Bergman's work, and most certainly Scenes from a Marriage.

Books

Chronicling the Non-Event: Anton Chekhov and the Short Story

Chekhov is engaging with an underlying, rumbling, non-event that pervades life and yet is nearly always blithely ignored. His stories move us in their ability to excavate this subterranean, haunting static that informs all experience.

Film

The Dialectic of the Freak: On John Waters' 'Female Trouble'

In John Waters' work, poor taste is a manner of refinement that attains a strange air of considered sophistication and knowing advertency.

Books

'The Anguish of Thought': A Logical Line of Analysis for a Study of Madness

Regarding Evelyne Grossman's The Anguish of Thought, Ph.D. candidates across America should just lay down their pencils now before they embarrass themselves.

Film

Action at a Distance: The Father in Víktor Erice's El Sur

The Father is the wielder of profuse potency but it can only be maintained through distance and the renunciation of understanding, the willingness to embrace the mystery without examining it. But, necessarily, the child must penetrate that veil.

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The End of Endings; or, Why Won't Anyone Stay Dead?

What does it mean, ontologically and narratively, when the seeming finality of death disappears from our stories? What does it mean when our stories and our characters, unlike our lives, refuse to come to an end?

Books

An Appeal for Balance: 'Action Versus Contemplation'

Billions grapple with a frenetic paradigm shift which scuffs lines between a carefree ant's and a diligent grasshopper's domains.

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