Author Archives: humanizingthevacuum

Our mutual friend

The perspicacity and elegance of the current Oval Office occupant: AP: Can I ask you, over your first 100 days — you’re not quite there yet — how do you feel like the office has changed you? TRUMP: Well the … Continue reading

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Keeping the house in order: MoPOP Pop Conference 2017

At the MoPOP Museum, about three dozen conference attendants and more than a few bemused tourists packed the cavernous planetarium-like chamber called the Sky Church to hear activist dream hampton and Robert Christgau testify. Voice often cracking with emotion, the … Continue reading

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Because y’all want more Reagan out of me

I’ll have a MoPop Conference post-mortem up soon. Here’s a copy of my paper “Mourning in America: How Ronald Reagan Smiled on a Low, Dishonest Decade” Mourning in America

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Best of the Eagles

It took hours to cut the deadwood. 1. The Long Run 2. One of These Nights 3. Life in the Fast Lane 4. Journey of the Sorcerer 5. I Can’t Tell You Why

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My favorite sci-fi flicks

“Films that question reality and regard existence as infinitely strange” is my definition of sci-fi cinema, which encompasses Krystof Kieslowski’s 1994 masterpiece and one of Woody Allen’s best and most prescient comedies. 1. Metropolis 2. Aliens 3. The Man Who … Continue reading

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‘Social issues’ ARE economic

An election battle over the mayoral race in Omaha has given the New York Times the excuse to run yet another story pitting “economic justice” versus “social issues”: Not every liberal sees the issue as so clear-cut. Ms. Weingarten, who … Continue reading

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‘The Lost City of Z’ a sober, cool look at obsession

In the last scene of The Lost City of Z, the wife of explorer Percy Fawcett (Sienna Miller) at last transports herself out of London: reflected in a large mirror at the foot of a staircase she has descended is … Continue reading

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Singles 4/21

A week of medium-intensity singles — I’ve never awarded so many 5s, although I’d bump “Think a Little Less” a notch this morning after succumbing to the sheen (the song’s, not Michael Ray, who’s no slouch himself). Miranda Lambert – … Continue reading

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The party ain’t jumpin’ like it used to: The best of Usher

The most fluent R&B balladeer of the last twenty years, Usher Raymond IV has struggled lately. Like Brad Paisley, he flings himself at trends and subjects, hoping for a hit. In his case, his biggest album was his best: the … Continue reading

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Best films of 1937

1. Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir) 2. You Only Live Once (Fritz Lang) 3. Easy Living (Mitchell Leisen) 4. Make Way for Tomorrow (Leo McCarey) 5. The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey) 6. Stella Dallas (King Vidor) 7. History is Made at … Continue reading

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Beltway wisdom

“Washington always wins,” Joe Scarborough repeats at least once a day on Morning Joe, like a Catholic murmuring a Hail Mary. He’s right in this sense: diseased with an incurable self-regard, the Beltway press now excuses its mistake in thinking … Continue reading

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Here we are now: the best of Moby

Here’s smugness for you: I was listening to Moby at seventeen. Based on nothing but a couple of approving profiles in Details during its James Truman heyday, I bought the first album in fall ’92, alternating play with Utah Saints’ … Continue reading

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