Blog Profile / Literary Kicks

Filed Under:Academics / Literature
Posts on Regator:557
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:March 2, 2008

Blog Post Archive

The Salinger Mystique

(Dear readers: some of you may have been wondering why I have not blogged my thoughts about the stunning news that five new J. D. Salinger books will be posthumously published. The truth is, I'm dumbstruck. I never expected to read another...Show More Summary

Setting Free the Poets

Poet Robert Pinsky has written a book about the plight of modern poets, Singing School. which must be pretty good, because it inspired a brilliant piece -- a manifesto, even -- by Daniel Bosch in the Daily Beast. Time was, a poem stood the test of time because one person after another stood up and spoke that poem aloud, and their speaking gave him or...

Philosophy Weekend: Faces

Who wants words, on an August weekend before the final week of the summer? I don't. Let's look at some pictures instead. Renee Jorgensen Bolinger, a philosophy graduate student at the University of Southern California, has found a fresh...Show More Summary

Once More to West Egg, Through the Valley of Ashes

This is Willets Point, a sprawling center for automobile salvage located just west of Flushing Meadows Park in New York City, and a place of amazing squalid beauty. CitiField, where the Mets play baseball, is visible just beyond the scrap yards. Show More Summary

The Space of an Idea

I had an idea for a blog post. I'm on summer vacation -- not exactly on a beach, but near one -- so I didn't finish it in time. Since my idea was for a blog post about the idea of a blog post, I'm not sure if this is that blog post, or if this is a blog post about that blog post. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Your Frame of Reference

Do you ever get a "stuck" feeling when you're trying to think? How can we ever know if we're thinking widely enough, if we're failing to realize something obvious, something so large that it can't fit inside our frame of reference? The...Show More Summary

Katharine Graham, the Heroine of the Washington Post

A surprise announcement that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is buying the Washington Post has signaled the end of a distinctive era in family publishing. The Washington Post has been owned by three generations of a single family since Eugene Meyer bought it in 1933. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Chomsky the Hopeless Anarcho-Syndicalist

I wish I could love Noam Chomsky, the American political philosopher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of important books about revolutionary politics like Hegemony or Survival and Manufacturing Consent...

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

There's a moment in Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove when Ben Greenman (the book's co-writer and the co-manager of Questlove’s the Roots) makes the observation that the Roots is one of the few bands – perhaps the only band – left in hiphop. Actually, strike that. It was Questlove who said that, on page 4, in a...

Philosophy Weekend: Slavoj Zizek and the Dream of Yugoslavia

Last weekend I mentioned two keys to appreciating Slavoj Zizek, the popular but controversial Marxist philosopher. First, I said that his philosophical stance if one of defensive advocacy rather than constructive theorizing, that he is best understood as a self-appointed "lawyer for Marxism". Show More Summary

The Ballad of J. T. Laura

I never understood why anyone called Laura Albert a fake writer. When she invented J. T. LeRoy, she formed the basis of an enduring emotional and artistic chemistry with a wide variety of readers. Isn't this what a real writer is supposed to do? Some accused Laura of creating a fake persona, but J. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Slavoj Zizek, Marxism's Lovable Lawyer

The philosophy blogosphere (to the extent that such a thing exists) blew up this week after Noam Chomsky opened a can of whoop-butt on Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida. The American philosopher characterized the threeShow More Summary

The Great Lost Blues Memoir: When I Left Home by Buddy Guy

I used to buy records in a Chicago shop called the Jazz Record Mart on Grand Avenue. It was run by a guy named Bob Koester, a jazz and blues fanatic. He also had his own record company, Delmark Records, where he recorded a lot of blues artists who'd been passed over by Chess Records. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Tactile Philosophy, from Helen Keller to Jacques Lacan

Tactile philosophy. These words popped into my mind when I saw a beautiful, amazing photograph of a blissful 74-year-old Helen Keller enveloped by a troupe of Martha Graham's dancers, feeling the music and visual expression through vibration and touch, raising her arms and joining in the dance. Show More Summary

Sparta by Roxana Robinson

A Roxana Robinson novel will never waste your time with characters who are fashionably bored. Robinson's characters are always in trouble -- are nearly or literally in extremis. Her early novel This Is My Daughter is a piercing study of a second marriage besieged by child problems. Cost is a bitter tale of a young heroin addict and his family. The new Sparta...

Philosophy Weekend: Humbled at Gettysburg

This is the last of five blog posts inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. As I struggle to write this one today, I'm forced to admit two things that you'll very rarely ever hear me say. First, I feel humbled....Show More Summary

Gettysburg 150: Impressions of a Battlefield

The happy chaos of a large family vacation to a historical battlefield town doesn't leave much time for the kind of reflection I like to put into a Litkicks blog post. It does, however, lend itself to some pretty good jokes. When I arrived...Show More Summary

Gettysburg 150: Longstreet and Lee and the Quintessential Battle

What happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable object? In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 150 years ago, 51,000 people died. I'm in Gettysburg now, soaking in the historical moment with Civil War buffs, reenactors, curious locals, traveling families, bikers, historians, writers, artists, unidentifiable visitors from North and South. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: John Calhoun and Confederate Ethics

This seems to be a primal aspect of human nature: we always believe ourselves to be ethically correct. It would be very surprising to hear a person openly declare that he or she lives without moral principle, and it would be even more...Show More Summary

Gettysburg 150: The Book That Made Me a Civil War Geek

I've never been sure how to reconcile the fact that I'm a pacifist with the fact that I'm a major American Civil War geek. Though I'm a major geek, I'm not a Major -- that is, I don't participate in any Union or Confederate reenactment brigade. Show More Summary

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