Katha Pollitt, George Orwell, Essayists and Posterity

For a couple of days now, Katha Pollitt’s obit/remembrance of Christopher Hitchens has been making the rounds to near-universal adulation. For good reasons; the piece is well worth a read, especially as it highlights aspects of Hitchens’ writing and personality that few have seen fit to focus on (especially not by his drinking buddies, whoseContinue reading “Katha Pollitt, George Orwell, Essayists and Posterity”

Dragon Tattoos And Flirting With Pointlessness

Right. So David Fincher’s remake of Neils Arden Oplev’s _The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo_ is out, and even the normally-hard-to-please Andrew O’Hehir isn’t entirely displeased with the product. For myriad reasons: Fincher’s cast adds “emotional depth;” the movie is “beautifully engineered;” it possesses a “depth and subtlety” that was perhaps absent in the StiegContinue reading “Dragon Tattoos And Flirting With Pointlessness”

Nietzsche, Henry Moseley, and Conscript Armies

Years ago, as a schoolboy, I read Isaac Asimov on the evolution of the periodic table from Dmitri Mendeleev’s relative atomic mass version to Henry Moseley’s atomic number version. At the end of the essay, after describing Moseley’s contributions to devising the modern form of the periodic table of the elements, Asimov wistfully noted Moseley’sContinue reading “Nietzsche, Henry Moseley, and Conscript Armies”

Ross Douthat, Sophistry, and Getting Philip Larkin Wrong

Folks familiar with Ross Douthat’s writing over at the New York Times should be well clued-on to his style, which produces bits of meandering sophistry that include a sentence or two toward the end giving away the game. In those sentences, Douthat reveals the tension of maintaining the appearance of a sophisticated intellectual conservative isContinue reading “Ross Douthat, Sophistry, and Getting Philip Larkin Wrong”

The Decline and Fall of Christopher Hitchens

I have no talents to speak of; all I can do is read and write. Thus, it would make eminent sense for me to admire those that read a great deal, and write really well. Christopher Hitchens evidently read a lot, and he wielded his pen and keyboard with great flair. He was also aContinue reading “The Decline and Fall of Christopher Hitchens”

Pick-up Games, Participation, and Basketball

As is evident from a glance at my “About” page, I blog on cricket. Which would seem to indicate I’m obsessed about the game to some extent. But when it comes to actually playing a game, cricket is not my favorite sport. And the reason for that is simple: cricket too often permits non-participation byContinue reading “Pick-up Games, Participation, and Basketball”

Oscar Wilde on Kidney Markets

Reader Austin Donisan has a long comment worth reading in response to my post on why kidney markets might offend me. I’m not going to engage with every single point Donisan makes, because in doing so I would be repeating myself (please read the post which started this discussion). But let me make a fewContinue reading “Oscar Wilde on Kidney Markets”

“Thrill is Gone” and Vietnamese Jazz Bars

It’s a cliche: listening to a song can conjure up memories associated with past encounters with that song. But my knowledge of that power still does not diminish the little start of surprise I experience when I come into contact with the fine-grained, specific recall that a particular piece of music can bring about. EarlyContinue reading ““Thrill is Gone” and Vietnamese Jazz Bars”

Police Militarization – Contd.

Reader Dan Newberry, in the course of offering a thoughtful response to my recent post on the militarization of police says: [T]hese names [like “interceptor”] are made up by the people who make and market the items…It is no surprise to anyone that companies which market to police forces routinely do so with names thatContinue reading “Police Militarization – Contd.”

Get-Dressed, Get-Ready, Out-The-Door Music

Making music playlists is ubiquitous: music to work-out by, music for a road-trip, music for the blues, music for lovemaking, music to cook by. 8Tracks serves up a veritable smorgasbord of playlists put together with plenty of ingenuity and imagination; I’ve found gems and more than a few turkeys at 8Tracks, but really, the site’sContinue reading “Get-Dressed, Get-Ready, Out-The-Door Music”