“The party erred only in its excessive compassion”

There’s a been a few of these written in the last few days. Chait: And so the reality remains that a vote for Romney is a vote for his party — a party that, by almost universal acclimation, utterly failed when last entrusted with governing. Romney may be brainier, more competent, and more mentally nimbleContinue reading ““The party erred only in its excessive compassion””

Straight guys – less free sexually than anybody else

There’s truth to what Dan Savage says here. In Miami, despite its tolerance, you don’t want the reaction of a young woman of Hispanic descent to an admission that her boyfriend, to quote Suede’s Brett Anderson, tried it that way: “Straight guys run the world, but that includes the Taco Bell franchise. They’re less freeContinue reading “Straight guys – less free sexually than anybody else”

“The hard labor of a difficult pregnancy”

Ta-Nehisi Coates reposted an amazing short essay he wrote two years ago called “On Labor.” A highlight: This is the era of Internet intellectuals, mostly dudes, who excel at analogizing easily accessible facts to buttress their points. It’s a good skill to have, and one I employ myself. But it isn’t wisdom. Like most people,Continue reading ““The hard labor of a difficult pregnancy””

Jacques Barzun – RIP

A few years on an older blog I wrote the following about my happy experience reading From Dawn to Decadence. Since then I’ve acquired A Jacques Barzun Reader, containing several of his (in)famous essays on education as well as ruminations on music, the James brothers, Wilde, Diderot, and Lincoln (“…a man of strong passions andContinue reading “Jacques Barzun – RIP”

Singles 10/26

Miguel wins this easily, although it’s my least favorite of the leaked tracks and singles he’s released since last spring. Same goes for “Compton,” a mediocrity on one of the year’s best albums. The record most deserving of replay: “Merry Go ‘Round.” Click on links for full reviews. Miguel – Do You…? (8) Kacey MusgravesContinue reading “Singles 10/26”

“All populist movements lead to socialism”

A Romney rally in Hialeah: “He’s 100 percent better than I expected,” Pedro Peraza, 57, tells me. Peraza’s son, Michael, 27, adds that he would have taken back his Gingrich vote in the primaries had he known Romney would campaign this hard. The elder Peraza has also seen some tough times. He built a profitableContinue reading ““All populist movements lead to socialism””

Whatcha doin’ uptown: Sunken Condos

Everything Must Go deserved Two Against Nature‘s plaudits. Besides a credible anti-Bush (I think) song (“Godwhacker”), four or five of Walter Becker’s most elegant and acerbic solos, and indelible ones all over the place by saxophonist Walt Weiskopf, it even sports a title worthy of Steely Dan. Donald Fagen’s fourth solo album Sunken Condos boastsContinue reading “Whatcha doin’ uptown: Sunken Condos”

Recognizing the appeal of violence

David Drake: It’s also interesting, though, how rap music is as much a part of the text as it is a source for the record’s producers. Jeezy pops up on the aforementioned “The Art of Peer Pressure,” while E-40’s lyrics “had us thinkin’ rational.” Kanye didn’t just open the door for Kendrick’s conflicted feelings (“ProjectsContinue reading “Recognizing the appeal of violence”

A dramatic turnaway: Taylor Swift’s Red

The best track on Taylor Swift’s Red is “Starlight.” Buried in the last third of a sixteen-track album, it boasts the most Swiftian lyric: during the violet hour of a past that might exist, dreams become flesh to the accompaniment of a song on the radio. It’s a trope as old as rock itself; eldersContinue reading “A dramatic turnaway: Taylor Swift’s Red”

George McGovern – R.I.P.

For his and my generation, a symbol of haplessness, of fumbling. He’s the man whom Richard Nixon, as Deep Throat told Bob Woodward with more than a touch of smugness in All The President’s Men, wanted to run against. But the GOP didn’t repudidate Barry Goldwater after 1964. The Democratic Party did McGovern, to itsContinue reading “George McGovern – R.I.P.”