Andrew Sullivan: a post-mortem

I’ve written enough about St. Andrew over the years, the first political writer whose work I followed online, one of the first writers, period (Charles Taylor of Salon was another before I lost interest, for many of the same reasons). I won’t retract this sentence written in 2011: “These days Sullivan exists for me asContinue reading “Andrew Sullivan: a post-mortem”

Rod McKuen, inventor of the seventies

From an unreleased poem called “rehearsal for a sonnet on your body”: Were I a priest I’d lay you open like a rite and stretch you out across church conversation. I would translate every limb of you from my mother tongue to Latin, Greek, Greek orthodox. I’d mouth your arms as I would Sunday saintsContinue reading “Rod McKuen, inventor of the seventies”

Who dies first and grisliest: Black Sea

In Black Sea, Jude Law wants you to know that he’s serious about making some dough headline in a formula submarine picture. As Robinson, a Scottish captain who accepts the job of piloting a ship in search of Nazi gold at the bottom of the Black Sea, Law gets his hair cropped short, hones hisContinue reading “Who dies first and grisliest: Black Sea”

“Identity grants experience”

J. Bryan Lowder wrote the best response to Jonathan Chait’s essay about identity politics. I wasn’t kind to Chait myself. For one, he’s not the Iraq War supporter and netroots skeptic from whom I want complaints about rude progressives. Lowder: The problem with identity politics—in this particular manifestation, anyway—is that it assumes that just becauseContinue reading ““Identity grants experience””

Selma as good historical fiction

Mark Harris, whose credentials as reporter and cultural historian I don’t doubt after Five Came Back and Pictures at a Revolution, wrote an essay on the purported inaccuracies in Selma. I don’t agree with his defenses of Ava DuVernay’s characterization and direction of LBJ; thanks to the writing and Tom Wilkinson, this Lyndon Johnson isContinue reading “Selma as good historical fiction”

Jonathan Chait, casualty of political correctness

Jonathan Chait is a professional Democrat writing for New York magazine. This means he makes a decent living excoriating, often well, Republican attacks on the president. It also means he’s obtuse, often horrifyingly so. In his defense, it’s often more irksome fending off attacks from people ostensibly on one’s own side than from the enemy;Continue reading “Jonathan Chait, casualty of political correctness”

A job well done: Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love The band has sharpened every song – every song – so that it declares its principles, marshals evidence, and concludes. After two plays I could look at a title and hum it. Not even Dig Me Out boasted such an impressive average. But if something has been gained, something’sContinue reading “A job well done: Sleater-Kinney”

Homosex, alcoholism, SCOTUS, God

Check out the rogues gallery of opinion on gay marriage among GOP candidates: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: In a major reversal of his 1990s position of opposing same-sex marriage rights with some hostility, Bush recently called for respect for the court’s ultimate decision in a statement, and for those on both sides of theContinue reading “Homosex, alcoholism, SCOTUS, God”

Florida GOP state senator: pass restricted medical marijuana bill

Well, this news surprises me: Florida medical physicians would be allowed to prescribe “medical grade” marijuana to needy patients under a major cannabis bill filed Monday by a top Florida Republican state senator. The legislation proposed by St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes would allow people who have specified serious medical conditions —- such as cancer,Continue reading “Florida GOP state senator: pass restricted medical marijuana bill”

Obamacare: what’s a few deaths here and there?

The perfectly named Michael B. Strain gets a WaPo op-ed with the headline, “End Obamacare, and people could die. That’s okay.” If The Onion had published it, we would have laughed. But the American Enterprise Institute scholar also writes: In a world of scarce resources, a slightly higher mortality rate is an acceptable price toContinue reading “Obamacare: what’s a few deaths here and there?”

Jeb Bush: the perfect conservative

Apart from boasting the personality of a shoe tree and the mien of an Ocean Bank district manager, Jeb Bush isn’t conservative at all, which makes him a perfect conservative avatar in 2014. And 2004. If conservatism means anything besides a pathology bred on the suspicion that someone browner, poorer, straighter, and less masculine mightContinue reading “Jeb Bush: the perfect conservative”

“A first class ticket to ecstasy”

A forgotten but crucial second tier R&B artist, Karyn White scored four consecutive pop tens between 1988 and 1991, peaking with the number one “Romantic.” Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced that track, which made sense: White seemed to want Janet Jackson-type hits from L.A. Reid and Babyface. Their greatest composition for her was “Superwoman,”Continue reading ““A first class ticket to ecstasy””