Behold — Neil Gorsuch

I defer to Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog: “[Neil] Gorsuch is still a very natural choice for any Republican president to nominate as a replacement for Scalia — someone who would espouse similar principles, stand firm on similar doctrinal commitments, reach similar outcomes, and even fill a similar role as one of the court’s most articulateContinue reading “Behold — Neil Gorsuch”

‘The Exterminating Angel’ hasn’t lost its power to jolt

The most terrifying existential crisis, awful enough that it goes unmentioned in Sartre and Karl Jasper, is dealing with guests who don’t want to leave. In 1962, Luis Buñuel fused this and two of his other fascinations — food and the banal rich — into a pungent script he called The Exterminating Angel. The lastContinue reading “‘The Exterminating Angel’ hasn’t lost its power to jolt”

We’re in for it now #245

I haven’t responded to White House events as they’ve happened because human endurance has limits, but firing an acting attorney general days before a new attorney general takes command of the Department of Justice strikes me as a stupid mistake that will nevertheless please large portions of the president’s base, most of which thinks attorneysContinue reading “We’re in for it now #245”

Nothing frightens me more: The best of John Cale

Until drink and drugs froze the hockey mask into a manner and Lou Reed himself cleaned up, John Cale spent the seventies jumping from peak to peak. His was the most fruitful kind of cult career: record company exec, producer on the make for hungry acts, both of which funded increasingly reckless albums. Amanda Petrusich’sContinue reading “Nothing frightens me more: The best of John Cale”

Accessibility, with limits: Cloud Nothings and Kehlani

Kehlani – SweetSexySavage “I’m too much of a woman, too much of a bad ass bitch,” Kehlani sings on a track, three quarters of the way through her debut, that plays like “More Than a Woman” without Aaliyah’s preternatural reserve. “In My Feelings” interpolates New Edition’s devastating “If It Isn’t Love” — apt, for SweetSexySavageContinue reading “Accessibility, with limits: Cloud Nothings and Kehlani”

Sowing what we reap: Trump and the travel ban

As news of the Trump administration’s executive order imposing the temporary travel ban on refugees from countries that have sent no terrorists to destroy us, Glenn Greenwald was on Twitter doing his favorite thing: playing I Told You So, this time with context. In The Intercept, Greenwald publishes a longer piece explaining how Trump isContinue reading “Sowing what we reap: Trump and the travel ban”

Twenty-five best films of 2016

1. Being 17 (André Téchiné) 2. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt) 3. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman) 4. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke) 5. American Honey (Andrea Arnold) 6. The Measure of a Man (Stéphane Brizé) 7. Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante) 8. Little Men (Ira Sachs) 9. Elle (Paul Verhoeven) 10. The Other Side (Roberto Minervini) 11.Continue reading “Twenty-five best films of 2016”

New and true and gay: The best of Luther Vandross

Eleven years ago, I wrote a consideration of Luther Vandross for Stylus. Many of my points now embarrass me, but I’ll post it anyway. To call Luther Vandross the greatest R&B singer of the era reminds me of what my French teacher said about Victor Hugo: greatest isn’t “necessarily” the best. Yet listening to theContinue reading “New and true and gay: The best of Luther Vandross”

Best films of 2016 #1-5

We’ve reached the end. Older entries here. Click on the director’s name for links to the original reviews. 5. American Honey (Andrea Arnold) Named after a Lady Antebellum single to which I was indifferent seven years ago, Andrea Arnold’s first American film is stuffed with music, much of it blessed hip-hop like E-40’s “Choices (Yup),”Continue reading “Best films of 2016 #1-5”

‘It’s working out very nicely’

Cabinet officials without governmental experience? What could possibly go wrong? It wasn’t until Friday — the day Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days — that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, aContinue reading “‘It’s working out very nicely’”

The problem with “pro-life” as a position

After Friday’s nationwide March for Life, Alan Levonovitz, assistant professor of religion at James Madison University, asks obvious questions: Why, as I look out on the sea of signs at today’s the March for Life, do I see nothing about maternity leave, much less paternity leave? Why aren’t expansive parental leave policies front and centerContinue reading “The problem with “pro-life” as a position”