Tag Archives: aesthetics and politics

Joan Didion, Californian

Joan Didion seized my attention early, before I wrote for myself.  Assigned “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in high school, I read with amazement her cool, detached descriptions of things I recognized growing up in California.  I graduated quickly to “The White … Continue reading

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What matters most

A recent opinion article by Roger Cohen about a book and polling data demonstrating a gulf in transatlantic public opinion struck me as a windy but representative example of the unnecessary polarization in our political debate.  We find more visceral examples of this bifurcated outrage … Continue reading

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What LEGO Taught Me

For my birthday my wife bought me the LEGO kit Benny’s Spaceship.  For anyone who’s seen The Lego Movie you’ll get the joke. It’s the outrageous monster outer space cruiser the little blue 1980s LEGO astronaut with the busted helmet … Continue reading

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Do We Need A Cultural Foreign Policy?

This month in Bosnia-Herzegovina citizens protested government paralysis in every major city in the country, in some places leading to destruction of municipal government buildings. In Sarajevo, somebody took advantage of the chaos and burned the city archives – a … Continue reading

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Punk Is Not Dead

Today my review essay of Masha Gessen’s latest book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, appears in the Los Angeles Review of Books. The book is a testament to the courage of the members of the group who … Continue reading

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The Interpreter of Comedies

The extended appearance of Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina on The Colbert Report Feb. 7 is worth watching for any number of reasons, top among them are hearing two victims of Vladimir Putin’s regime speaking in their own … Continue reading

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“We have met the enemy and he is us”

Attending a conference of public diplomacy professionals and academics last week at the U.S. State Department, a particular comment made by a participant during one of the main sessions struck me. He described the positive outcome of a recent YES … Continue reading

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Lou Reed and the Power of Art

Lou Reed died today at 71. The standard obituaries have noted his profound influence on popular music since the 1960s and 1970s. Dig a little deeper and you might find, as The New Republic did, that he affected political leaders like Vaclav … Continue reading

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Culture Shut Down

It was hard not to feel a sense of schadenfreude watching Republicans yesterday as they wriggled in a box of their own design, desperately proposing to re-fund those “non-essential” elements of government they were so keen last month to de-fund … Continue reading

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American Republic, Now Available from Amazon

I’m pleased to announce that my book, American Republic: Essays on the Nature of Politics, is now available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon.com. American Republic includes the original book, plus three essays that first appeared on this site: “The Plastics and … Continue reading

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