THE EVENING REDNESS IN THE WEST: American stories, isolation, God, and violence. So everyone has a pet lineage of American literature. As far as I can tell, the line I find illuminating and compelling is sharply different from the one traced by Motime Like the Present, for example. (I mean, c'mon--Emerson? Why drink Diet Caffeine-Free Nietzsche?) Most cultures are characterized by particular tensions and conflicts--cultures aren't univocal, but they emphasize some of the eternal conflicts over … [Read more...]

GAYER THAN A PICNIC BASKET: More responses to "Playground Twist."Clio writes about possible sources of the difference between societal response to homosexuality and response to other temptations. Since I was focused more on the effects of that response on people with whatever degree of same-sex attraction, I really didn't get into any of this stuff: Neither you nor your correspondents have suggested that homosexuality is "treated differently" than other sins of the flesh by Christians for … [Read more...]

READING TWO BOOKS AT ONCE? COMBINE THEM!I Capture the Castle of Otranto: Bloodcurdling, gothic--but tender--coming-of-age saga.Gone With the Wind in the Willows: Thrills, romance, voles.Go Ask Alice in Wonderland: Teen girl becomes drug addict, takes the trip of her life.From Russia With Love Story: James Bond discovers that the love of his life has a terminal illness. Mind your sides!On the Road to Wigan Pier: Author meets working-class people, borrows money.Stupid White Noise: … [Read more...]

BUT I CAN'T SAY THAT I SEE THE POINT OF THE GIANT SPACE STARFISH: Scattered thoughts prompted by Jim Henley's "Gaudy night: Superhero stories and our own," and the comments thereto.First let me get the polemical point out of the way: People who complain about superhero characters' vigilantism are being too literal-minded and missing the point. The situations superhero characters confront are meant to mirror or illuminate situations we face. Sometimes the vigilante nature of the superhero helps … [Read more...]

"Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good, for one of two things: --either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in … [Read more...]

PLEASE PRAY FOR STUART BUCK'S RECOVERY. Information, and other prayer requests, here.Update on Buck's condition here. … [Read more...]

edited, I should read entire articles before linking to them!There's a discussion of the issue this post was about (drug war and search warrants) here. … [Read more...]