Ben Jonson on Doctors

A few weeks ago, I had made note here of a brief excerpt from Molière’s Love’s the Best Doctor, which rather pungently satirized doctors. Today, here is another master of comedy–Ben Jonson–on doctors. (A personal reminiscence follows.) As an added bonus there is some skepticism directed at the cost of medicine, the products of the pharmaceutical industry, andContinue reading “Ben Jonson on Doctors”

The Artist: An Eloquent Homage to the Silent

Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, a five-time Oscar winner for Best Picture (only the second ever silent movie to do so), Best Director, Best Score, Best Costume and Best Actor is a tasty little homage to silent movies, 1920s Hollywood, Douglas Fairbank-style swashbuckle, faithful chauffeurs and dogs, romantic comedies and plenty else. Its success at the AcademyContinue reading “The Artist: An Eloquent Homage to the Silent”

Babies and Personal Archaeology

Before my baby daughter was born, one of the most common statements made to me by extant parents was, ‘The birth of your child will change your relationship with your parents.’ Well, my parents aren’t around anymore for my relationship with them to be changed. In one sense. In yet another, I have come toContinue reading “Babies and Personal Archaeology”

Writing Under the Influence: Greene on Benzedrine

Stories of Adderall-inspired writing binges by over-achieving students keen to upstage their cohorts and get the best grades possible are now old hat. And perhaps so are stories of writers fueling (or attempting to fuel) their writing sessions with a variety of intoxicating, calming, inspirational and brain-cobweb clearing substances. These have ranged from the ubiquitousContinue reading “Writing Under the Influence: Greene on Benzedrine”

Shrapnel is Still Deadly, No Matter Where It Strikes

Many years ago, while talking to my father and some of his air force mates, I stumbled into a conversation about munitions.  There was talk of rockets, shells, casings, high-explosive rounds, tracer bullets, napalm, and all of the rest. Realizing I was in the right company, I asked if someone could tell me what ‘shrapnel’Continue reading “Shrapnel is Still Deadly, No Matter Where It Strikes”

Might Same-Sex Relations Be Evolutionarily Advantageous?

A prominent fallacious argument used against same-sex marriage is the good ‘ol ‘we’re only protecting our species’ one. I referred to it in a post a while ago: [R]oughly, same-sex marriage is problematic because a) marriage is all about procreation and the raising of children and because b) evolution tell us that reproductive success isContinue reading “Might Same-Sex Relations Be Evolutionarily Advantageous?”

Samuel Chase and Judicial Supremacy

In the history of the US Supreme Court, Samuel Chase holds a singular, if dubious honor: he is, to date, the only Supreme Justice to be impeached (he was, however, ultimately acquitted by the US Senate). The background to his impeachment is indicative of the political ferment so common  in the early days of theContinue reading “Samuel Chase and Judicial Supremacy”

Moral Saints, Just Lacking Modesty

Over at The Boston Review, David V. Johnson interviews Larissa MacFarquhar on her writing about ‘moral saints’, (‘people who have a very demanding sense of moral duty and live their lives accordingly’). MacFarquhar took this project on by way of offering a thesis opposed to the one advanced by Susan Wolf in her ‘Moral Saints‘Continue reading “Moral Saints, Just Lacking Modesty”

Eagleton on Sex and Sexuality: Fun, and Not-So-Much (Respectively)

In yesterday’s post, I offered a couple of critical remarks in response to Stanley Fish‘s review of  Terry Eagleton‘s Reason, Faith and Revolution. Those remarks were directed at a pair of passages excerpted from Eagleton. Today’s  post features Eagleton too, but cast as reviewer, not reviewee, on everyone’s favorite topic: sex (and the considerably more seriousContinue reading “Eagleton on Sex and Sexuality: Fun, and Not-So-Much (Respectively)”

Fish on Eagleton on Religion

Stanley Fish reviews Terry Eagleton‘s Reason, Faith and Revolution in The New York Times and approvingly quotes him contra the excesses of Christopher Hitchens: [T]he fact that religion and theology cannot provide a technology for explaining how the material world works should not be held against them, either, for that is not what they do. When Christopher Hitchens declares thatContinue reading “Fish on Eagleton on Religion”