In Defense of Excellence?

In his column in The New York Times today, David Brooks writes “Excellence is hierarchical. Excellence requires work, time, experience and talent. Populism doesn’t believe in hierarchy. Populism doesn’t demand the effort required… Continue reading

The Horse’s Mouth: How Philip K. Dick Expands Conversation

Perhaps my favorite novel is Joyce Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth. Cary’s main character, Gully Jimson, is an ageing artist with very little to show for his life’s work: Though he has a painting… Continue reading

The Truth Behind the Latest Project Veritas Sting Attempt Revealed

It was seven years ago that I first wrote about James O’Keefe and Project Veritas. I was writing about ‘citizen journalists’ and complaining that O’Keefe was besmirching the concept. I ended the post,… Continue reading

Don’t Blame the Poor for Trump–Not Even If They Are White

Last week, Kevin Williamson published a piece on National Review that asks why “We’ve gone from William F. Buckley Jr. to the gentlemen from Duck Dynasty.” He claims that: The populist Right’s abandonment of principle has… Continue reading

The Attitudes of Trump/Moore Supporters

The Scots-Irish based Appalachian culture that thoroughly imbues at least a third of Americans is becoming a focus of interest ‘on the coasts’ as a result of Trump’s ascendency and, now, proof (the… Continue reading

Bawer on Greenblatt: A Response

Though I have not read anything he has written this century, Stephen Greenblatt has had an outsized impact on my academic career. The New Historicism he spawned granted permission to incorporate the ‘original’… Continue reading

Now Is the Time to Stop It

In a speech to an American Legion gathering, a lieutenant who had lost his leg in service spoke against the alt-right. He argued, among other things, that “private vengeance and outrages can be… Continue reading

The Triumph of the Lie?

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s new book seems to be rubbing a number of Trump supporters the wrong way. Flake, it turns out, is a real and principled conservative, and that seems to make… Continue reading

Where Journalism Shouldn’t Be

Satire doesn’t need explication. But satire, on occasion, can also provide a useful starting point for clarifying poins. Erik Wemple’s column on Chris Cillizza’s Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) does just that. Cillizza… Continue reading

Legacy of a Lynching

An article in The New York Times, “Hangman’s Noose, Symbol of Racial Animus, Keeps Cropping Up” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Caitlin Dickerson, reopens a family wound I’ve tried to cauterize a number… Continue reading