From Jennifer M. Silva, “Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty”

In an era of short-term flexibility, constant flux, and hollow institutions, the transition to adulthood has been inverted; coming of age does not entail entry into social groups and institutions but rather the explicit rejection of them. … [Read more...]

The Dishonorable Poor: “Harakiri”

It's 1630. A desperate, aging ronin arrives at the gates of a big estate and asks permission to commit harakiri in the courtyard. The estate's counselor lets him in and tells him a story: the story of the last samurai who came there, not too long ago, with the same request.This is the arresting opening to Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 Harakiri, a tense, tragic movie which includes the requisite crazy samurai fight scenes and discourses on the nature of bushido, but goes far beyond those elements … [Read more...]

Friday Links: Wal-Mart, Letter to My Freshman Self, Kitchen Tricks, And Much More

What I'm reading. If you follow me on Twitter you've seen some of these--but not all!Radley Balko does an AMA (Ask Me Anything) about his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop. Tons of interesting q&a about police practices and culture.And more from Balko, "New Study Finds that State Crime Labs Are Paid Per Conviction." I see no way this could go wrong!Megan McArdle: "Why Wal-Mart Will Never Pay Like Costco." Useful reading, important in correcting various economic myths, although … [Read more...]

In Defense of Living With Your Parents

me at the Weekly Standard:A few years ago I was getting a ride home from a party with a guy in his early twenties. I lived in a gentrified neighborhood I could no longer pretend to afford, and he lived, it emerged, with his parents. “Good for you,” I said. “I think that’s great.”We hit a stoplight and he turned to look at me. “Do you?” he asked, with a sudden edge of cynicism in his voice. “Do you really?” I could hear what he was thinking: I guess you’re trying to be nice or whatever, bu … [Read more...]

“The Lost Boys”: I review Jodi Angel’s “You Only Get Letters from Jail”

at the Weekly Standard:The words “have” and “get” pulse insistently through Jodi Angel’s new short story collection. What you have to do, what you get to do, what you get away with; getting in trouble, getting used to it. Sometimes Angel even doubles up on these words: “My stomach clenched a little and I got ready to get in trouble.” That tensed, hurting readiness is one of the collection’s central moods. The other is a post-traumatic numbness which can sometimes become sentimentalized and is … [Read more...]

“In Love and Struggle”: I review LaToya Ruby Frazier at the Brooklyn Museum

It's a terrific show, closing THIS SUNDAY, so check it out if you're in the area! It’s the kind of Mother’s Day card you might give if you come from an especially unflinching family: A mother stands tall and imposing in front of the camera, facing it squarely and glaring at it. The daughter stands behind her mother–she’s slim enough that her body fits entirely behind her mom’s, as her face looks away and down. Their two shadows merge on the wall, creating one larger, indistinct shadow. The mothe … [Read more...]

Tunes for Our Times

“The vices of the rich and great are mistaken for error; and those of the poor and lowly, for crimes.”-attr. the Countess of Blessington, and via JWB … [Read more...]


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