From Peter de Vries, “The Tents of Wickedness”

The task of rearing a child must have taught her a lot. Taught her that the conformity we often glibly equate with mediocrity isn't something free spirits "transcend" as much as something they're not quite up to. That convention calls for broader shoulders--and, for all I know, more imagination--than revolt. --this is in the voice of the comic hero, so he's kind of a fatuous ass, but the best trick is to put wisdom in the mouths of asses. … [Read more...]

Painting the Town Red: “The Exiles,” A Masterpiece of Lost L.A.

Kent MacKenzie's The Exiles played exactly once, at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, and then vanished for more than forty years. It was rediscovered in 2003, and you can find it now on Netflix--which you should do, for real, here's why.The Exiles follows a group of American Indian men and women over the course of one night at the very end of noir-era Los Angeles. The neighborhood where the film was shot was demolished--excuse me, I mean renewed--shortly afterward. The Native actors were … [Read more...]

Addiction and the Politics (and Poetics) of Personal Responsibility: me at AmCon

a listicle, and for some reason I saved the best stuff for the end, so feel free to hate me: There’s a narrative that comes up whenever addiction is discussed publicly nowadays: the narrative in which the disease of addiction essentially replaces a person’s free will.The barroom-wisdom version of it is the old line, “First the man takes a drink. Then the drink takes a drink. Then the drink takes the man.” A fairly heartbreaking version of it comes in this interview with author (and father of … [Read more...]

“18th Century Fox”: Helen Rittelmeyer Is Hilarious

in AmSpec, on Burke-era popular conservatism: TWO THINGS ALL  conservatives love are narratives of decline and talking about conservatism. Put those together and you have the popular argument that conservatism ain’t what it used to be. The chart of that supposed decline, if you were to draw it Ascent of Man style, would start with Edmund Burke looking intelligent and walking upright, followed by William F. Buckley as Australopithecus, slouching. The present age would be represented by some knuc … [Read more...]

Francis’s Conservatism (Uh, Sort Of)

I finally had the chance to read that really fascinating interview with the Pope. And the first thing that really struck me was a passage I'd been expecting to basically skim: Francis's description of what it means to be a Jesuit. I ended up thinking that, at least from one perspective, this and the discussions of art were the most important elements of the interview.I mean, first of all I do love that he cops to loving the Jesuits' discipline despite/because "I am a really, really … [Read more...]

“In the Hour of Chaos”: I review Charles Johnson’s short stories

at AmCon: Somebody–I hope a commenter will remind me who it was–has suggested that the Left typically thinks in terms of an opposition between oppression and liberation, whereas the right typically thinks in terms of an opposition between civilization and barbarism. I would reframe the latter opposition as order vs. chaos; if we do that, it’s obvious that both oppositions are unrelentingly relevant, yet few thinkers or artists are able to hold both conflicts before our eyes at once.I just fi … [Read more...]

#lifehacks

Undermine an authority, slowly ease away from the traditions it backstopped, lament the breakdown of community. … [Read more...]


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