Putin’s Patriots and the Death of the American Dream

This is from my 2013 book The Cult of Individualism: A History of an Enduring American Myth.  In it, I write about the Borderers, the people of  much of my ancestry, the Scots-Irish who… Continue reading

August 4, 1968: The Worst of It, and Moving On

Originally posted on 1968: Nothing Is Revealed:
The fight was over. In a way, that was too bad, for it had given me cover for edging into the shadows by the row of dark…

Doing Too Much

My primary task in Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa in the late 1980s was to help farmers establish a plowing regime using oxen. I ran a small training center and traveled to… Continue reading

July 24, 1968: Hitchhiking, Europe ’68

Originally posted on 1968: Nothing Is Revealed:
By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1990-1210-001 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5348179 Somewhere around this day in July of 1968–maybe a day or two later, I don’t…

Traitor? Call Him Out, But Not His Supporters

Yes, today has been one of the most troubling days for Americans since the Second World War, assassinations aside. We have seen our elected leader give the keys to the kingdom to the… Continue reading

Fighting Fire with Fire: Reinvigorating the Language of American Universities

These are the first paragraphs of an article I wrote for the Planning in Higher Education Journal, V 46, N 3, April-June 2018. The entire article can be found here  www.scup.org/asset/126611/PHEV46N3_Viewpoint_Fighting_Fire_Barlow.pdf/?url_key=f4cdddefd35ba290: The beliefs and even… Continue reading

What Immigrants Add to the Army

My father’s college roommate, after he returned home from the South Pacific in 1946, was another WWII veteran, a man named Mike Block. No, let me correct that: until he joined the US… Continue reading

‘Unhand Me, Grey-Beard Loon!’

The power of language, of writing: “The Wedding-Guest stood still.” Every semester, I use this example with my writing students. “‘There was a ship,’ quoth” the mariner. And the Wedding-Guest listens to the… Continue reading

Trumpism = Fascism = Death

Aurel Kolnai’s 1938 book The War Against the West contains elements that leave me cold, most certainly, but also elements that bring on an immense chill far beyond mere cold. Among these are the… Continue reading

Black Lives Mattering

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn had gentrified over the 1980s and I took advantage, opening Shakespeare’s Sister, a café and gift store across from the Cobble Hill Cinema in 1994. The neighborhood, now less Italian… Continue reading