Justice Laid (Possibly Unlawfully) Bare

Arguendo

I'm reviewing Arguendo today at The American Interest, and explaining how this play about a Supreme Court case deciding whether stripping was First Amendment protected speech winds up painting SCOTUS in a romantic and heroic light.The justices begin on a plinth that resembles the actual Supreme Court (set design by David Zinn), but shortly after the arguments begin, they send their wheeled chairs zooming down ramps to the main part of the stage. For the rest of the play they scoot around, co … [Read more...]

To Mary Through Henry Adams

Chartres-Interior-8-2011

It's been a week of Marian feasts.  Yesterday was the feast of Mary's name and this past Monday was the feast of her birth.  I lucked into doing extremely thematic reading for the week, since this is when I finally got around to reading the copy of Henry Adams's Mont-Saint-Michel and Chatres that I had on my kindle.Adams (descended from the presidential Adamses) is also the author of The Education of Henry Adams, which was my favorite part of the curriculum of the "Political Philosophy as Edu … [Read more...]

Plato Disappoints at the Googleplex

Plato-raphael

I'm over at First Things today, reviewing Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's Plato at the Googleplex, in which she writes new dialogues for Plato, in modern contests, answering modern questions.  Here's a teaser: When scientists like Laurence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson call philosophers to answer for their crimes today, the lovers of wisdom aren’t accused of anything as exciting as corrupting the youth.In Rebecca Goldstein’s telling, Plato’s greatest danger is his elitism. She’s less worried … [Read more...]

They Eat Horses, Don’t They?

oots0150

Last night, I got to see a special screening of the Folger Theatre's 2008 production of Macbeth (all magic courtesy of Teller -- of Penn and Teller).  Usually, when I see Macbeth, my focus is on the titular pair, or, barring that, the witches, but, in this production, my attention and sympathies were more with the courtiers than in any other staging I've seen.For whatever reason, I was less wrapped up in the fall of Macbeth and his wife, so I kept thinking about the lives of the people in th … [Read more...]

Why is it So Hard to Find New Friends?

mwf-seeking-bff-by-Rachel-Bertsche-1024x1024

I wanted to like MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend better than I ultimately did, since Rachel Bertsche makes a persuasive case that we need more archetypes of adult friendships. Unfortunately, although I feel like Bertsche and I are working on the same project, generally, I never wound up caring very much about her specific project.Bertsche has the goal on going on 52 “girl dates” in a year, in the hopes of finding a new best friend in Chicago, her new home. The troubl … [Read more...]

The Worm at the Heart of the Tower in Merrily We Roll Along

merrily crowd

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves.In high school, I took a survey history course on the Middle East, which ran in reverse.  We started at the present day, and worked our way backwards, with a sense of suspense to discover the cause of the war whose consequences we had learned in the last lecture.  Merrily We Roll Along follows a similar format, spooling out its story back … [Read more...]

Three Priestesses Deciding Whom to Sacrifice

full fathom five

There are three priestesses at the heart of Max Gladstone's newest book in his Craft Sequence, Full Fathom Five, and none of them fit easily into the traditional split of Maiden, Mother, Crone.In his last book, Two Serpents Rise, the action took place in a city that had thrown out its gods and had replaced it with a more mechanical means of keeping communion flowing between souls.  This book also takes place in a city without gods (Kavekana's gods went out to the wars, and never made it ba … [Read more...]


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