Let’s fall in love: Terence Trent D’Arby’s Symphony or Damn

When used CD stores were a thing, they had copies of Symphony or Damn. Not as many as R.E.M.’s Monster or Michael Bolton’s greatest hits, but enough to get me thinking: how many people did buy the third album by a former multiplatinum threat who said his debut was better than Sgt Pepper? My college… More Let’s fall in love: Terence Trent D’Arby’s Symphony or Damn

‘”Race is not a sober-minded description of peoples. It is casus belli’

“Race has never been much about skin color, or physical features, so much as the need to name someone before doing something to them,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes. “Race is not a sober-minded description of peoples. It is casus belli.” He refers to the oft misunderstood Toni Morrison line about Bill Clinton as the America’s first… More ‘”Race is not a sober-minded description of peoples. It is casus belli’

Two kinds of narcolepsy: The Weeknd and Beach House

The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness I know what the problem is: where the usual R&B approach is to apply dirty talk to fast ones, Abel Tesfaye puts his smut into ballads. Whether he’s urging her to blow him, reminding her that if she thinks she’s the only one, well, she isn’t, or boasting… More Two kinds of narcolepsy: The Weeknd and Beach House

‘It is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing’

Marianne Moore challenges the idea of coherent poems. Hers are often accretions of quotations and bon mots. For example, “A Graveyard,” in which “There are others besides you who have worn that look—/whose expression is no longer a protest.” Happy September. Man, looking into the sea— taking the view from those who have as much… More ‘It is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing’

Resurrecting Lochner

Besides a fabulous name, Rufus Peckham is remembered in American jurisprudence for penning one of the most notorious decisions in the era between Reconstruction and the New Deal. Lochner v. New York invalided state laws regulating maximum hour laws. Something called “liberty of contract” existed in what William O. Douglas would later (in)famously call the… More Resurrecting Lochner

‘If my heart could do the thinking, will my head begin to feel?’ — Van Morrison remastered

It can’t have escaped the grouch’s notice that his seventieth birthday lands three days after his catalog gets digitized. I’m not much of a Van Morrison fan — I prefer Saint Dominic’s Preview and Tupelo Honey to the earlier classics when I remember I own them — but it took this kind of availability for… More ‘If my heart could do the thinking, will my head begin to feel?’ — Van Morrison remastered

Jonah Goldberg in 2005: ‘I think it’s time to face facts’

Thank Digby for reminding me what my right wing confrères were writing ten years ago after Hurricane Katrina doomed New Orleans residents poor enough to watch their homes join the Gulf of Mexico: ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS – I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of… More Jonah Goldberg in 2005: ‘I think it’s time to face facts’

‘I thought I was doing everything right for you’

Working my way through the glitz and thud of Smokey Robinson’s eighties productions, I found this track from 1987’s One Heartbeat album. The home of “Just To See Her” also accommodated this narrative about a home wrecker: a father announces that he’s walking out on his family, to their astonishment. Then the situation repeats itself… More ‘I thought I was doing everything right for you’

The bare cupboard: H.W. Brands’ Reagan

As Republican super PACS prepare to Brylcreem candidates who babble about liberty and marauding Mexican invaders, yet another biography about the greatest leader in world history emerges from a reputable publishing house. But H.W. Brands, who distinguished himself with fine FDR and U.S. Grant bricks in 2008 and 2012, respectively, emerges no less stunned and… More The bare cupboard: H.W. Brands’ Reagan