|Filed Under:||Academics / Literature|
|Posts on Regator:||582|
|Posts / Week:||1.4|
|Archived Since:||March 2, 2008|
I was nothing but psyched when I heard that postmodern novelist Colson Whitehead was writing a book about poker. Sure sounded like a great idea to me. Whitehead is a clever, acidic satirist with a gift for inventive situations and touching emotional connections. Can he write? Absolutely -- novels like The Intuitionist and Apex Hides the Hurt...
I sometimes wonder if pacifism needs the kind of bedrock philosophy that more popular ideologies like conservativism and communism have. A firm rooting in philosophy helps an ideology stand its ground firmly. I've noticed that American conservatives are very quick to cite John Locke or David Hume, along with (variously) Aristotle, St. Show More Summary
In one remarkable moment in The Last Illusion, a new novel by Porochista Khakpour, a shy and vulnerable young man who was raised as a bird in a cage meets an impetuous young woman who seems to understand him. He then meets her sister, who is so enormously fat that she lives her life in bed, occasionally dressing up in a tiara and gown and high-heeled...
When I write about the damages caused by rampant militarism, I'm afraid some readers think I'm just making noise, just enjoying the sound of my own voice. I wish to assure everybody who reads my blog that I would never bother writing...Show More Summary
Exactly 150 years today, the most grueling and relentless eight days of the Civil War in the United States of America began. These are the opening days of the Overland Campaign, in which two armies rampaged south through north-central Virginia in their final race towards Richmond, capital city of the Confederacy. Show More Summary
I've got to recharge the old battery this weekend. Hope I don't get the red and black cables mixed up. Back to philosophy soon!
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Show More Summary
Every once in a while I find myself wondering why I run a blog series called Philosophy Weekend that doesn't necessarily resemble anybody else's idea of what philosophy is, and maybe also doesn't necessarily resemble anyone's idea of...Show More Summary
One Hundred Years of Solitude must be Gabriel Garcia Marquez's best title, and it's the book that made him famous all over the world. But I somehow neglected to finish that epic novel, and was more attracted instead to Love in the Time of Cholera...
I didn't start a blog series called "Philosophy Weekend" so I could write the same old shit you've already read. That's what a lot of other philosophers and ethical theorists and historians seem to be good at. I don't know what their...Show More Summary
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that my blog is almost twenty years old. Well, sometimes I also find it hard to believe that my youngest daughter is almost twenty years old. (They were born the same year, and they both grew up so fast.) Literary Kicks will turn twenty on July 23, 2014. Show More Summary
When we write about genocide, it's customary to descend into paroxysms of inexplicability. Jeffrey Herbst of Foreign Affairs magazine marked this month's 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda with a typical display. "Despite the...Show More Summary
A literary biography ought to possess a voice and attitude that reflects and complements the literary voice and attitude of its subject. Leon Edel's life of Henry James is prim and probing, with an energy that gradually accumulates into stately magnificence. Gerald Nicosia's biography of Jack Kerouac...
One of many unforgettable moments in Philip Gourevitch's book about the 1994 Rwanda genocide We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the author's visit to Gitarama prison a year after the massacre. He finds a scene of incredible physical misery, though the sufferers barely complain. It's the suspected Hutu perpetrators...
I recently heard about a British Library project to reassemble and digitize a 17th century illustrated edition of the Ramayana, a classical Hindu epic. This sounds pretty cool, and it reminded me of a different edition of the Ramayana...Show More Summary
We speak of genocide as a problem from Hell, but we rarely speak of it as an ethical problem that can be solved. This suggests that we have ceased to think of genocide as a problem of human dimensions. We have become as superstitious about genocide as cave dwellers must have been about tornadoes and hurricanes: we see it as a rare force of nature,...
As Double Negative by Ivan Vladislavic begins, a hapless 80s-era hipster in South Africa named Neville Lister is listing badly: Just when I started to learn something, I dropped out of university, although this makes it sound more decisive than it was. He works a brainless job, pretentiously puffs on a tobacco pipe, argues bitterly with his racist...
It's time to start putting some puzzle pieces together. Five weekends ago I began a project by suggesting that we try to analyze some tough ethical/historical problems with the methodology of a puzzle-solver, by which I meant that we...Show More Summary
"The people dance passionately on the earth, sanctifying it and becoming one with it." -- Igor Stravinsky I'm sure it's a hipster affectation of mine: I try to listen to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring every year when the Spring Equinox comes around. Show More Summary
What can we discover by analyzing the worst atrocities of modern history together, looking for patterns and common features? A whole lot, it turns out -- and we're just getting started. Last weekend we discussed the surprising fact that...Show More Summary