“A Russian Guide to Scary Movies”: Russia Beyond the Headlines

Russia’s first horror films appeared before the Revolution in 1917 and, unfortunately, did not survive to present day. These first films had largely to do with the flowering of symbolism and other decadent tendencies in Russian literature that actively promoted interest in mysticism.Later, horror movies were not produced in the Soviet Union, where the only permissible artistic method was socialist realism. The screen version of Nikolai Gogol’s “Viy” remains the only example of a horror movie … [Read more...]

“Sublime Recovery and Banal Recovery”: I’m in AmCon

sketching: This week I’m preparing to go to the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference (which I’ll be reporting on for TAC), and also reading for the first time David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The conference and the novel offer strikingly different narratives of addiction and recovery–both of which are gaining cultural ground in different ways. more … [Read more...]

“Their Decadence and Ours”: Helen Andrews

right in her wheelhouse--provocative & insightful: Fundamentally, the difference between the two movements was that the English thought decadence was just a game. Only after intense personal suffering did they come to realize what the French had known from the beginning, that it was serious business in which a person could—almost certainly would—get hurt. more … [Read more...]

“Ivan Bilibin’s Russian Wonder Tales”

One of my favorite picture books when I was a child--second only to Tomie de Paola's Prince of the Dolomites--was a retelling of "The Tale of Czar Saltan" with Bilibin's illustrations.more … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

The Aventura's low driver's seat and huge windshield afford your thinking man maybe a little more view of the sky than he'd like. The sky is low and gray and loose and seems to hang. There's something baggy about the sky. It's impossible to tell whether snow is actually still falling or whether just a little snow that's already fallen is blowing around. … [Read more...]

“Bury My Art at Wounded Knee”: I’m in The American Interest

just a touch late for Columbus Day: Few art forms are as self-consciously nostalgic as the platinum photograph. The Instagram filter of its day, platinum printing was used at the end of the 19th century to convey a stylized, distant past. The velvety blacks and glowing whites could make an image’s textures feel soft and enclosed, liquid, no longer entirely real.Some of the most famous images of American Indians were made using this process. If you picture a stern or mournful Native American … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

Of course--the Crocodiles dig at each other with their knobby elbows and guffaw and wheeze--they say when they tell Gately to either Hang In AA and get rabidly Active or else die in slime of course it's only a suggestion. … [Read more...]


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