Share If You Agree

black and white film image of a bowler hat suspended over a bed of tall daisies I have had it with the rage.

It might drive me off social media.

At first, I thought it might just be a problem of living in metropolitan Washington, D.C., where the strident opinions held by many are usually interlinked with what they do for a living. No such luck, though: I’ve been on trips to Mississippi, California, and Texas in the past couple of years, and it has been just as bad there, too.

This social pose has driven me crazy for the past eight years, the ongoing and incessant braying that has filled up my Facebook notifications, the “Honk if I’m Paying Your Mortgage” and “I’ll Keep My Guns and Religion, and You Can Keep the Change” memes, which also appear on bumper stickers that I have to follow on the Beltway. [Read more…]

Auden’s Love of Neighbor

This is my one hundredth post for Good Letters. What a privilege it has been to write for these readers (you readers) all this time. I treasure the stimulating conversations we’ve had through the comments, and the cyber-friendships I’ve made among Good Letters writers and readers.

To mark my one hundredth anniversary, I looked back at what I’d written for my very first post in 2008. (Of course I had no idea until I opened the document; I can’t remember what I’ve written—or read—a month ago, let alone five years ago.) Ah, it was on W.H. Auden.

I was curious: what about Auden had interested me then?

In The New York Review of Books, I’d read a review-essay, “Auden and God,” by Auden’s literary executor, Edward Mendelson. The book under review was Arthur Kirsch’s Auden and Christianity.

Mendelson praised Kirsch’s book but (as often in NYRB essays) scarcely referred to it in his own informative overview of Auden’s religious life. Though I’d long known about Auden’s Christianity, something about Mendelson’s presentation of it so stimulated me that I was zinging as if I’d slogged down four cups of coffee (though I’d had none: doctor’s orders). [Read more…]