The Perils of Optimism, with Zeppelins

Truth itself won’t be comforted, but there’s solace in seeing the huckster unmasked. On American optimism and THE CARP CASTLE by MacDonald Harris.

Dismantling the University

The cutting of humanities programs in favor of business and STEM degrees is backed not by the pure arithmetic of budgetary restraints but by entrenched and quixotic neoliberal ideology.

Grieving in the Time of Lulz

Knausgaard could have Instagrammed his father’s empties. Didion could have live-tweeted her late-night ambulance ride. Instead they wrote. Why do we write grief?

Mad Moon

Disaster and triumph became another set of eventualities, ones that television could help viewers practice, prepare for, and witness, at least through their screens. TV both created its audiences and informed them.

The Corpse Singing On The Radio

Scott Beauchamp writes about the first time he saw a dead body in Iraq, his experience reading the Stoics during combat, and his later turn to a philosophy capable of responding to injustice.

Soul Proprietors

The Robin Thicke verdict renders the 2013 song theft, and thereby the two songs the same. It’s the latest installment in the American government’s recent series of ontological rearrangements.

Pale/ontology: The Dinosaurian Critique of Philosophy

When it comes to the non-human world, philosophers have an unusual tic: they all suddenly start talking about desks. They should be talking about the real Absolute Other: the dinosaur.

An Adversary After Our Own Image

Could it be that we too want a portrayal of utopia in order to avoid civil strife, just like the eternally criticized Soviet regime?


While dystopian fiction, film, and television is now as popular as it’s ever been, we’ve surgically amputated our fears about societal collapse from our individual ambitions.

Ad Infinitum  

Exposure to more ads means more reading and seeing and hearing the empty rhetoric of essentialist perlocution: paltered clichés, tropes, maxims, lies, and nonsense. One result, in Barthes’ view, is a cheapening of the greater language.