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Thumbs Up for “Three Masters”

06/10/2014 11:29:46 AM

My latest film criticism, “Three Masters: Spielberg, Anderson, Haneke, and Their Audience,” excerpted in the previous post, is recommended reading for the week at If that doesn’t get you to read, I don’t know w

Three Film Masters

06/04/2014 19:08:43 PM

My latest film criticism is available now at Bright Lights Film Journal. “Three Masters: Spielberg, Anderson, Haneke, and Their Audience” addresses the question, as the tag line has it: “Is the filmmaker tyrant, aesthete, ringmaster

The Third Narrative: Not So Third, Not a Narrative, Not New

04/07/2014 07:00:06 AM

(This essay originally appeared in the Algemeiner on April 3, 2014.) I regret to say that a fair number of people I respect (and some not so much) have signed on to a statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that, evince as it may the ...

Ave Atque Vale

04/04/2014 11:20:54 AM

from Ave Atque Vale by Algernon Charles Swinburne XVIII For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,       Take at my hands this garland, and farewell.       Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell, And chill the solemn earth, ...

Let Your Soul Stand Cool and Composed

03/24/2014 07:00:34 AM

From the National Portrait Gallery in Washington comes an exhibition on one of my favorite subjects: the cool. “American Cool” offers up its representative icons of cool in portraits by renowned photographers, such as Avedon, Arbus, and ...

Ukraine and Legitimacy

03/17/2014 07:00:55 AM

It is fascinating to witness with events in Ukraine an enduring controversy of history in the making. Controversies arise all the time, of course, but some are drawn in more dramatic relief than others, and one of those is Ukraine, 2013-14. ...

The Revolution with No Name

03/11/2014 08:00:17 AM

When it seemed to some at the end of the Cold War that we had also reached the end of history, more than ever, every act of rebellion and revolution seemed cause to celebrate an elevated human spirit. After a long winter of merely staving off ...

A Misguided Argument About Anti-Semitism

02/18/2014 07:30:36 AM

(This essay originally appeared in the Algemeiner on February 11, 2014.) In the Wall Street Journal of February 3, Harvard’s Ruth R. Wisse published an Op-Ed titled “The Dark Side of the War on ‘the One Percent.” In the article, Wisse ...

Academic Boycotts and Re-Colonization by Theory

02/03/2014 07:30:57 AM

(The full text of the following essay was published by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.) from “Academic Boycotts and Recolonization by Theory“  As a matter of international justice, however, conceptually distinguishing and cruci ...

Wrong on Both Counts: Academic Boycotts and Israel

01/06/2014 08:30:23 AM

(An earlier version of this essay first appeared in the Algemeiner on December 30, 2013.) Now that the American Studies Association has passed its resolution calling for an  academic boycott of Israel, universities and fellow academics all ...

Do You Give to the Ones Who Are Drunk?

12/23/2013 10:58:08 AM

Good friend Rivvy Neshama has written a book, Recipes For a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles, that is the accumulation of a life’s gained wisdom. Panning through the grains of the sad red earth, we see the fool’s-gold spar ...

A Second Look: Thinking Through the Iranian Dilemma

12/16/2013 08:30:20 AM

I posted the following on March 19 of last year. Nothing that has transpired since, not even the recently achieved, yet still not implemented short-term deal – which I think a basis for justified future military action just as it is, more ...

The Trope Dope: “Check Your Privilege”

12/09/2013 08:00:34 AM

In the final analysis, Madame Bovary is just another trope. Unknown academic wag. dope: an illicit, habit-forming, or narcotic drug; a stupid person; [slang] the inside scoop, the poop, the skinny, the lowdown Cant kills ideas. Leaves them dead ...

A Second Look: Abraham Lincoln on the “Mud-Sill” Theory of Labor

12/02/2013 11:11:18 AM

The movement to increase the minimum wage, and to tie it legislatively to the cost of living, is growing. The obscenity of low-wage employment among adults – full-time employment that does not offer a living wage – is increasingly app ...

Objectivity and Neutrality

11/26/2013 11:52:55 AM

From Thomas L. Haskell, “Objectivity Is Not Neutrality: Rhetoric Vs. Practice In Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream“ I regard Nietzsche‘s attack on asceticism as a cultural calamity, all the more regrettable because of his high

The Rhetorical Element: Not only where you’re coming from, but where you’re going.

11/21/2013 13:23:52 PM

From Thomas L. Haskell, “Objectivity Is Not Neutrality: Rhetoric vs. Practice in Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream” That two people sharing the same position should say different things about it need not be surprising. One obvious re

A Second Look: the End (of History, War, the Enlightenment, and Western Civilization) Or Not

11/18/2013 08:00:32 AM

My recent posts on Syria were argued against a more global backdrop: considerations of war and how it is entered into, with what achievable (or other) ends in mind, and, more specifically again, how the United States engages in it. In focus ...

Invisible Cities

11/14/2013 08:00:58 AM

Tonight the The Industry and LA Dance Project production of Invisible Cities completes its extended one month run at Los Angeles’s Union Station. A 75-minute opera based on the Italo Calvino novel, with music and libretto by Christopher C ...

Syria, the Limits of Interventionism, and the International Order

11/11/2013 08:00:41 AM

Noted in the comments to the previous post, “A Plague: Contesting Syria, in Context,” is the posting of a reply to it at his blog from my ever wry blogging compadre, Snoopy the Goon. Please do  read it here. Below is my response to, ahem, ...

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