In 1939, when Mel Brooks was twelve or thirteen in Brooklyn and Gene Wilder was six or seven out in Milwaukee, they probably saw John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln starring Henry Fonda. They were both that kind of boy. Though sparked by the early life of our sixteenth president, the movie was a fanciful tale; … Continue reading The Monster and the Comics: Frankenstein, Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder and America Popular Culture
The photograph I chose to accompany this post makes my blood boil. It's a decade older than I am, yet I can see today that the antisemitism spawning the horror shown has not abated. What angers me almost as much as the disgusting event itself (and its modern inheritance) is that I had long believed … Continue reading The Learning Curve… Flatlines?
One of the my favorite poems was inspired by Key West, Florida. It is Wallace Stevens' "The Idea of Order at Key West." It starts: She sang beyond the genius of the sea. The water never formed to mind or voice, Like a body wholly body, flutteringIts empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion Made constant cry, caused … Continue reading "Of ourselves and of our origins": Hemingway and Williams in Key West
Christmas of 1965, while Americans back home were beginning to learn where Saigon was, the Barlow family was preparing to leave Bangkok for a few days in Cambodia, the country separating Thailand from Vietnam where peace was becoming rare. We had come to Southeast Asia six months earlier, to a part of the world we … Continue reading Angkor Before the Khmer Rouge: A Snapshot Essay
On market days in the late 1980s, women carried bundles of wood alongside the national road, the one paved road in much of northern Togo. They might be going to the village of Barkoissi or to Tambaong where I lived or to any other of the dozens of towns and villages in the Savannes, the … Continue reading Savanna, Sahel, Sahara: Then What?
As goes Kentucky, goes the nation. Could be. And that might not be so good. Already, defeated incumbent Governor Matt Bevin is claiming voter fraud and demanding a recanvass though the 5,000-vote margin that has given Andy Beshear the election probably will not change--not enough to alter the outcome. Bevin will likely ask for a … Continue reading Signs of Things to Come?
In a post on August 4, 2016, I posited Donald Trump as Indiana Jones faced with a scimitar-twirling attacker (his Republican primary opponents). He, of course, pulls out a pistol and shoots the attacker dead. Someone in the crowd (Hilary Clinton?) picks up the dropped scimitar and runs off with it, thinking they have a … Continue reading Blowhards and News Clowns: Can They Learn to Win?