Blog Profile / Literary Kicks

Filed Under:Academics / Literature
Posts on Regator:551
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:March 2, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Bradley the Buyer (from 'Naked Lunch')

One of the first pages I ever created on this website was a biography of William S. Burroughs, and I also typed in a favorite piece of text from his signature novel Naked Lunch, titled Bradley The Buyer. Today is the hundredth birthday of William S. Burroughs, and as part of the celebration I'm running this excerpt again. The illustration was...

Philosophy Weekend: Wealth and Envy

A video that's been making the rounds about a clueless super-wealthy plutocrat who compares America's treatment of the rich to the Holocaust and brags about his wristwatch that's worth "a six-pack of Rolexes" has got me to thinking.Show More Summary

David Amram Remembers Pete Seeger

After Pete Seeger died last week, I remembered that the last glimpse I'd had of the great folksinger was a video of his Broadway march in support of Occupy Wall Street in October 2011, with his friends Arlo Guthrie and David Amram in tow. Show More Summary

Dave Van Ronk Remembers Pete Seeger

I noticed something strange when I read folksinger Dave Van Ronk's awesome autobiography a few weeks ago. The gruff ethnomusicologist remembered most of his old friends with sarcasm and bittersweet wit... but he had nothing but full-throated words of love for Pete Seeger, his elder journeyman who has just died at the age of 94. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: A Dangerous Method

We need more movies about philosophers. I can only think of very few examples to mention, but David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, a 2011 film about the rivalry between early psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, shows that the format can work. Show More Summary

Eli Stein's Cartoon Caption Contest

Some of you have met Eli Stein before; he's written Litkicks articles about P. G. Wodehouse and Al Jaffee, and he's my father. He's also a cartoonist with a body of published work dating back to the 1950s. If you've read a lot of the...Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: The Privacy Policy We Deserve

It's great that Edward Snowden got us all talking about privacy. But are we saying intelligent things about it yet? The most common reaction to revelations of federal invasions of individual privacy is to visualize the government as an "other" looking at "us". Show More Summary

Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn's Negative Space

Back when I was an art class nerd in high school, I once struggled with an assignment to use "negative space". We were supposed to create a painting or artwork that communicated through the shape or presence of what wasn't there, rather...Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Perambulating

I wasn't able to stand still long enough this weekend to put any thoughts together. I've been walking around, in the wind and rain and snow. Sometimes it feels like I'm walking in circles. Sometimes it feels like I should be walkingShow More Summary

Amiri Baraka, Newark Poet

Amiri Baraka, a seminal Beat poet, angry playwright, revolutionary activist and scrappy indie publisher from Newark, New Jersey has died. The Allen Ginsberg Project blog has the scoop. Here's a Litkicks article about Amiri Baraka by Jamelah Earle from 2003. Please feel free to share your memories or personal encounters with Amiri Baraka by leaving a comment below.

The Great Lost Folk Memoir: The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk's The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a constructed autobiography, pieced together by the blues/folk singer's friend and admirer Elijah Wald after Van Ronk died of cancer in 2002. Elijah Wald is a roots-music scholar who has also written books like How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music...

Philosophy Weekend: Respect For Religion

An Atlantic Monthly article by David A. Graham titled "Why Has Republican Belief in Evolution Declined So Much?" made the rounds last week, citing a Pew Research Center study that shows the percentage of self-identifying Republican voters...Show More Summary

2013 Wrap-Up: A Mockingjay Year

I hope my pick for the most significant book of 2013 will surprise you. It surprises me. For one thing, it's not a book. It wasn't published in 2013. And I've never mentioned it on Litkicks before. Before I explain, here's a quick wrap-up of my year of reading and blogging. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: What "Orwellian" Meant to Orwell

(Privacy in the Internet age is emerging as one of the crucial ethical topics of our era; we've briefly touched upon it here at Philosophy Weekend, but will clearly have to begin devoting more space to the big controversies in 2014.Show More Summary

Paul Auster's Internal Journey

I'll never forget where I was and how I felt when I read the closing pages of Paul Auster's City of Glass, the first and most crucial part of his New York Trilogy, and a formative book for me as a reader and writer. City of Glass was a mock mystery novel. It opened with a noir-ish phone call that led a vulnerable narrator into a drama involving...

Philosophy Weekend: Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu

Thanks to Nelson Mandela, I have a new favorite word. I'm serious about this; I like this word a lot. I've known about "Ubuntu" for years, but I always thought it was a distribution of the Linux open source operating system. I've installed and used Ubuntu Linux often. Show More Summary

Canons of Cool

A couple of really great finds for you today... My temperature was no better than lukewarm as I pondered the cover of a book called The Cool School: Writing from America's Hip Underground, a Library of America anthology edited by Glenn O'Brien. The Library of America isn't known for edginess, and books with the word "hip" in their subtitles don't have...

Philosophy Weekend: Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk

I wonder if all the glory that's been heaped upon Nelson Mandela since his death on Thursday is hurting his feelings. This level of adulation has got to be hard for anyone to endure, living or dead. Well, the glory is well-deserved,Show More Summary

The Editor's Story: Andre Schiffrin and Daniel Menaker

Legendary book editor and publisher Andre Schiffrin died last weekend at the age of 78. Years ago, I read his memoir/broadside The Business of Books. Here's Schiffrin describing the scene at Random House in the early 1960s, after Random House acquired Pantheon Books, a literary publisher his father had helped to build: I arrived at the Pantheon...

Philosophy Weekend: Buddha-Nature

A surprising news bulletin made the rounds this week: "Incredible Discovery Reveals Birthplace of Buddha". They did what? The story appears to be credible, though many Westerners like me who feel the significance aren't quite sure how to react. Show More Summary

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