Essays

Lee’s Corner: The Great American Richards

The Great American Richards are primed to overcome all thoughts about fathers, all thoughts about mothers, all thoughts about wives and children, as though thought about anything is an affliction.

Lee’s Corner: Accounting for Taste

If beauty is truth and truth is beauty and something I find beautiful and truthful is hideous and deceitful for someone I respect, what can happen except bloodshed, a fight to the death?

Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND HOTEL ABYSS

The fulfillment we get from nostalgia can only be taken up, at best, in an ossified, brittle sort of way. Wes Anderson must understand this, as it is essentially what is dramatized in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Change in the Land: Willa Cather’s Midwest

The mysterious work of the novel in regard to climate change seems less about politics and more about calm, diverse reflection.

Unserious People

The lost innocence and deteriorating sanity of AMERICAN HUSTLE’s protagonists is meant to play less as tragedy than as camp.

Artificial Loneliness

Dave Eggers’ THE CIRCLE is a smart techno-potboiler. Spike Jonze’s HER is an intimate film about our relationship with technology. Together they illustrate the dual relationship we have with the tools we use: they at once make us lonely and promise themselves as the cure for that loneliness.

Violence and Intimacy in Palestine’s OMAR

It’s possible that my intimacy blinds me to the larger issues at play in OMAR. But it’s also possible that the inability to account for love in so many theoretical approaches to violence is what renders them so useless.

Mediocrity Finds a Way

GRAVITY fails in a very American way: the lone individual triumphs over nature, energized by her sense of self-value. Americans have a history of bringing our own banalities into space with us.

Inside the Coen Brothers

Evil will stay evil. This is true in all the Coens’ work, and it may be why their movies always seem linked up with the Fates: because, unlike most of Hollywood movies, they are about life on earth.

Children of the Dust

In Louise Lawrence’s 1985 young-adult novel CHILDREN OF THE DUST, mutation becomes a queering strategy for post-capitalist, posthuman survival.