Presidential Reading

In this golden age of American polarization, it is no surprise that even one’s reading is subject to the scourge of partisan bickering.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Greatest Con

He hid in dark alleyways and revealed his ass to women walking by. “What they saw was not the obscene thing, I never even thought of that, it was the ridiculous thing,” he wrote.

I Dreamed a Dream, Goddamnit

And so, for at least a few weeks this Christmas season, I refuse to apologize for my lack of cultural discernment. I will read shitty books, watch shitty movies, and refuse to apologize for my non-shitty love of musical theatre.

Five Characters in Search of a Christmas Episode

This “Christmas” episode falls comfortably under the Twilight Zone sub-category of imagined-personal-hell-that-turns-out-to-be-a-weirder-reality.

Hollywood Visits The Black Sites

The discourse that has surrounded Homeland, Argo, and now Zero Dark Thirty reveals that if we don’t care much about what we’re actually doing in the Middle East, we care very deeply indeed about possessing the moral high ground when it comes to discussing it.

The Doomsday Narrative: Right Outside our Door

The stories that speak to us most are those that reflect our own reality. And that, I believe, is where our current fascination with doomsday or the apocalypse comes from: a (possibly subconscious) awareness our own reality.

Pretty Ugly Glitch

We like glitch because it’s a little bit messed up, just like us. It’s taking the parts that we might consider mistakes or flaws and illuminating them and saying, hey, this is beautiful.

The End-of-the-World Roundtable

I could say that there’s still time for one more drink, I thought as I started thumbing through The Faerie Queene. There’s at least one more chance to impress that grad student, at least one more month before the loans start coming due, at least one more end of the world to celebrate. We’re in for the long haul tonight, I could say. The canon of apocalyptic literature is proof.

We Looked Like Giants: The Literary Magazine of the Future?

I have a perhaps old-fashioned notion of fiction as ideally separate from the online sprawl of news and links and the overwhelming barrage of photos and all of the roadside blight we cruise by on a daily basis. Art, in this context, feels designed as a deliberate escape from this roiling flux, a momentary stay against confusion.

Harvey Kurtzman’s Corpse on the Imjin

We still wish to believe that every single person who wears this uniform is a hero, someone we should emulate. Harvey Kurtzman would have none of that.