“Every Day Is Like Sunday: Rediscovering Wilfrid Sheed’s ‘The Hack’”

Me at AmCon: Don’t call Wilfrid Sheed’s 1963 The Hack a forgotten Catholic classic. I don’t want it to be dismissed so easily.Sheed was the scion of Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, the Catholic publishers and apologists; he knew that pre-Vatican II world of professional religion from the inside. The Hack is a satirical tragedy about Bert Flax, a man who supports his wife and five children by writing pabulum for the lower levels of the Catholic press: angels with cotton-candy wings, Irish … [Read more...]

“Art Breakers”: I’m in The American Interest

reviewing: The first chamber sets up the thesis of “Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950,” at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington through May 26. As visitors enter, a 1950s filmstrip plays, showing nuclear blasts recorded for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. To one side, so you only see it once you’re already in the room, there’s a smashed baby grand piano with an axe still sticking out of its body: the remains of a 2013 performance art piece in which Raphael Montañez Ortiz hacked the … [Read more...]

From Evelyn Waugh, “Men at Arms”

They performed an exercise of "company in the attack," became entirely intermixed, extricated themselves and bivouacked under the stars. A warm night, smelling of dry furze. Guy made a round of the sentries and then lay awake. Dawn came quickly, bringing momentary beauty even to that sorry countryside. They fell in and marched back to camp. Rather light-headed after his sleepless night Guy marched in front beside de Souza. From behind them came the songs: "Roll out the barrel"; "There are rats, … [Read more...]

“Disorientation”: I review a photography show at the Sackler Gallery

for AmCon: Now that the shutdown is over, I can tell you about a small but punchy photography exhibit at the Sackler.“Sense of Place,” which runs through November 11, disrupts many of the cliches of East vs. West. In these tired oppositions, Europe is a clash of swords and horses; China, Japan, or any other part of the undifferentiated East is a lone monk crossing a quiet pond. The West is the land of change and history, the East is the land where life is as fleeting and yet eternal as the s … [Read more...]

“Crime History”: Ronald Reagan as Com-Symp, Then As Liberal

(then as farce? I kid, I kid): On this day, June 20, in 1958, FBI headquarters learned of actor Ronald Reagan’s desire to star in the film “The FBI Story,” but the bureau rejected the idea because of Reagan’s association with alleged Communist front organizations in the 1940s. more--and Reagan played a dashing Cold War liberal in real life, as recounted in Red Star Over Hollywood. My review of that book isn't online any longer, unfortunately, so I will just tell you a) it was really good, much … [Read more...]

“Sex, Spies, and the 1960s”: Christopher Sandford

in AmCon, for those who would like a vivacious little primer on the Profumo affair: Shortly before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 1962, a 36-year-old Soviet naval captain, gourmand, and priapic man-about-town named Yevgeni Ivanov entered a low-lit restaurant in London’s fashionable South Kensington. Although dressed in the standard boxy dark suit and gabardine raincoat, Ivanov cut a striking figure even in that free-swinging era. There was a certain bustle about him, and he moved through the r … [Read more...]

From Frank Kermode’s introduction to “Brideshead Revisited”

In these circumstances the "marriage" between Waugh and the army headed for breakdown. He long retained an earnest if, as it sometimes appeared from the conduct of associates, idiosyncratic interest in the idea of combat, but other military qualities were lacking; one commanding officer rated him highest for "Zeal" and lowest for "Judgment." … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X