Monthly Archives: November 2015

La Folie Almayer (2011)

Even though the Anglo-Polish writer Conrad was 38 years old when he left the British merchant marine to devote himself to literature, his first novel Almayer’s Folly is a young man’s book. A bitterly ironic story about a Dutch businessman in Borneo who sends his biracial daughter to a Catholic boarding school in the the […]

The Big Lie Americans Tell Themselves

On October 17, 2014, a 17-year-old black man named Laquan McDonald died after being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer named Jason Van Dyke. Laquan, who was armed with a 3-inch folding knife, and who alleged to have tried to break into a car, was undoubtedly “no angel.” Neither is Jason Van Dyke, […]

The Devil Finds Work (1976): James Baldwin and American Cinema

James Baldwin’s book-length essay on American cinema is not the kind of film criticism Roger Ebert or Janet Maslin writes. Baldwin doesn’t particularly care which movies should be rated four stars and which movies should be rated two. Unlike Ray Carney, François Truffaut, or Pauline Kael, he’s not a partisan for any one particular kind […]

Death Wish (1974)

Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes you may get it. While the Hays Code, which was instituted in 1930, was designed to censor the radical left, its repeal in 1968 did not lead to a new age of socialist realism or risque, but sophisticated romantic comedies. On the contrary, it was the radical right […]

Terrorism: The Memetics of Guerilla Warfare

Since beginning this blog together, Stan and I have continued a running discussion on what distinguishes terrorism from other forms of military siege or action. To isolate a single specific cogent meaning that fits every popular usage would likely be impossible. Stan at one point suspected the major difference in usage stemmed from the weapon […]

The US In Syria and the Rationalization that Ate the Sober Web

There’s been much debate over how to understand a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document describing efforts by the US coalition and conditions on the ground in Syria. The document showed startling prescience about the emergence of ISIS in Syria out of AQI support and its intention to claim historic territory in Iraq. Indeed, the events […]

Pretty Princess

(This is a story I wrote for my spoken word album. Check out the full album here.) PRETTY PRINCESS, HER LIFE, HER MANY LOVES, THE COLONY OF THOSE BLINDED, THOSE MAIMED BY HER DAINTINESS This is a story. The story of the continuing adventures of Pretty Princess, her many tragic loves, meals she ate, and […]

How Are We Hating on People?

Journalistic articles are heavily schematic; of all the prose styles they’re the closest analogue to pop music. They use a very simple rhythmic pattern aggressively to get into your ear above all other considerations in a manner perhaps only surpassed by the prose advertisement, which in the print magazine works as the refrain between the […]

The Calling Card of Posterity, or: We’ve Tried Nothing (And We’re All Out of Ideas)

Night after night they sat in restless repose, watching beer commercial after beer commercial and car commercial after car commercial, not necessarily in that order, ten and thirty feet respectively from where a 24-pack of clearance-sale Budweiser resided in an ice box and from where a Cavalier resided in a carport, doors and skirts rusted […]

The University of Missouri Protests: What Happens Now?

The University of Missouri’s black students have used hunger strikes, protests, and walk-outs to try and reach the ears of the university’s administration. The last straw was a swastika drawn on one of the dorm buildings in excrement, which might have been the first and only straw for some, in what the Washington Post called […]