YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD, AND I AM A MATERIAL GIRL: Eheu, eheu, people who believe in conservative or libertarian ideals fund magazines that promote those ideals! Nooooooooo!!!!!Would you like some cheese with that whine? [EDITED: that's the right link.](I met the guy who wrote this piece, and he was pretty cool, which makes me all the more annoyed that he thinks forcing all Yale students to pay for left-wing propaganda is in some way morally strengthening whereas having … [Read more...]

MORALITY PLAYS: For the past few weeks I've been kicking around various ideas about the relationship between morals and art. I don't intend this post as a manifesto--more as a series of problems. I go through phases: a year as a journalist, a year as a philosopher, a year as a (fiction) writer. These days I'm 100% writer, and it takes a huge and perhaps detrimental effort to make my fiction synch up with more abstract concerns. So I'm going to present the problems, and tell you how I solve or at … [Read more...]

THE POLITICS OF DANCING: "WHERE YOUR EYES DON'T GO." One in a continuing series of posts in which I impose my own beliefs on various pop songs. Previous victims include The Cramps' "Eyeball in My Martini" (still my favorite--honestly, one of my favorite posts overall, which maybe tells you something distressing about me); Cat Power's "Say"; Queen's "Princes of the Universe". Now we turn to They Might Be Giants, and their song about (...or not) the mystery of sin.I've heard a lot of people try to … [Read more...]

I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN RESIST CLICKING THIS LINK: "Old editions of the Yale Songbook included a German drinking song called 'The Pope.' This was its first stanza: 'The Pope, he leads a jolly life / He's free from every care and strife. / He drinks the best of Rhenish wine, / I wish the Pope's gay life were mine.'"if you're hesitating, may I point out that this is Rick Brookhiser? (And it's a substantive piece, well worth your time.)Via The Corner. … [Read more...]

12. ME AND MY SNOWBALL ONCE AGAIN STORMED THE GATES OF HELL. Ten Things They've Done That (...Which?) You Probably Haven't.A Frolic of My Own: More cosmopolitan than a trashy magazine!The Rat: She's just cooler than you. Admit it, accept it, move on.Keep 'em coming! … [Read more...]

WHAT HE REALLY THINKS OF YOU: There's a striking passage in one of Harold Bloom's books--probably The Western Canon? or is this just something he'd say in his lectures? not sure... Ratty will know--where Bloom compares King Lear and the portrayal of Yahweh in the Old Testament. He basically says, "These characters both come across as mad old kings, relentless in their unreason; and yet the most admirable characters are devoted to them." I can't remember what he concludes about Yahweh, but he … [Read more...]

NASHI YOUTH:With President Putin's popularity in sharp decline, the Kremlin has set up a new Russian youth movement to ensure its control of the streets in the event of mass anti-government protests.Hundreds of youths, many belonging to the president's cultural society "Walking Together", held a meeting in a house owned by the Kremlin Property Department to launch the group at the weekend. The organisation, which leaders hope will attract 300,000 members, was christened "Nashi" [Ours], a word … [Read more...]