Concession Stand

Concession Stand

22

Jun

2017

Ladies and gentlemen, my constituents, citizens of my lovely home town of Fleenerville, voters, and Platinum V.I.P. Brunch Club Super-Tee level donors; my beloved wife Plovis, and my two wonderful sons Coho and Spelt, who flew in to support me tonight right after their Offal Studies final at Klumner State Butcher's College; ...
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Show of Force

Show of Force

21

Jun

2017

It is giving no secrets away to say that, growing up, I was a huge nerd.  I am, let us be honest, still a huge nerd, which is why you are reading these words on the pages of a decade-old blog instead of the pages of Entertainment Weekly.  But in some fairly important ways, I was a different kind of nerd than most of my ...
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A Moral with No Fable

A Moral with No Fable

20

Jun

2017

Another week, another flame-out between liberals and the left over which we should ‘choose’ in the alleged battle between class and identity.  Believe me, folks, I don’t like writing these pieces any more than you like reading them, but until we can bury this utterly false dichotomy once and for good, these beatings ...
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Love is the Only Law

Love is the Only Law

16

Jun

2017

It's been a busy week as I help my comrades prepare for the Democratic Socialists of America's national convention, to be held here in Chicago in only a few months.  I'll also be running for a leadership position in our local chapter -- a prospect that, I must admit, fills me with dread.  Ever since my anarchist days, I'v ...
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Laugh? I Thought I’d Die

Laugh?  I Thought I’d Die

14

Jun

2017

Showtime's new dramedy series, I'm Dying Up Here, is definitely a product of its time.  The question is, what time is that?  Is it the early 1970s, when the series is set? Is it the mid-1980s, when any schmuck with a colorful shirt and a rap about bad drivers could get his own TV series?  Is it the late 2000s, when we a ...
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The Slave Mind

The Slave Mind

8

Jun

2017

The news that Hillary Clinton, during her time as the First Lady of Arkansas, was in charge of a staff that consisted of unpaid prison labor is...well, not exactly news.  It's a 'revelation' published in her own memoir, written and published over twenty years ago, and only recently rediscovered by a racial justice advocat ...
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Fix Your Hearts or Die

Fix Your Hearts or Die

6

Jun

2017

There is a school of thought which says that an artist, to do truly effective work, must always keep the audience -- any audience, even an imaginary one -- in mind.  I've never quite believed this to be true. Except in the case of explicitly commercial work, an artist can (I do not say must) create entirely for himself; h ...
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Dangerous Intersection

Dangerous Intersection

5

Jun

2017

So here we are again, talking about materialist dialectics vs. identity politics as if the two could exist independently of one another.  Longtime readers will know that I've struggled with this issue for years, and the stark contradictions between what I will describe for the sake of convenience as the leftist position an ...
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Make It Last All Night

Make It Last All Night

30

May

2017

Neil Gaiman is in the news again.  Some concatenation of dullards is trying to raise half a million dollars for charity, in exchange for which the dreamer of dreams and seller of stories will – and, I am not, I can assure you, making this up, though I wish I were – read the entire menu of a casual dining chain restaura ...
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Send Me No Flowers

Send Me No Flowers

23

May

2017

Ottessa Moshfegh is a hot property right now.  Establishing herself as a writer of excellent stories in the early 2010s in the Paris Review and Granta, she has just published her first collection of short fiction, Homesick for Another World.  It was her first novel, however, that really put her in the sights of the litera ...
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Deadly Quiet

Deadly Quiet

12

May

2017

I'm not normally a fan of horror movies.  Even when they're well-executed, they tend to be all surface and no depth; they tell us nothing about the human experience beyond the sensation of fear and our capacity for cruelty, which isn't something many of us need to be reminded of.  Without exploration, without an attempt a ...
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Crashing Bore

Crashing Bore

11

May

2017

I've always been a little distrustful of the critical language of rejection when it comes to our current wave of 'difficult men'.  Sure, there's no doubt that the last thing in the world we need is another story about misbehaving white males; it's not like there's a dearth of them.  On the other hand, a good show is a goo ...
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Vox Populi, Vox Invisibilia

Vox Populi, Vox Invisibilia

4

May

2017

As I write this, the Republicans of the U.S. House of Representatives have just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of legislation of their own making.  That the American Health Care Act is a complete disaster almost goes without saying; it will rob millions of people of the already inadequate health insurance ...
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The Steps of the Palaces of the Rich

The Steps of the Palaces of the Rich

1

May

2017

This year's May Day sermon is an expanded version of a speech I gave this morning at the dedication by Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa of Chicago's 35th Ward of an honorary street named for the great radical freedom fighter Lucy Parsons.We’re all here today because of Lucy Gonzalez Parsons. And when I say we’re here today ...
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Ghost Capital

Ghost Capital

30

Apr

2017

It may not be entirely fair to call French director Olivier Assayas, who has delivered some of the most thrilling as well as some of the most bewildering film of the past few decades, wildly inconsistent.  There is always, at least, a baseline of artfulness in his work that suggests a control and purpose at odds with wildn ...
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