Redskins and Indians: America Isn’t Done With the Natives Yet

Years ago, on ESPN, I saw a young African-American player on the Washington Redskins‘ roster  interviewed about the periodic controversy over his team’s name.  The interviewer asked, quite straightforwardly,  ‘Do you think the team should change its name?’ The young man, looking worried–perhaps knowing he stood a good chance of offending someone and aware ofContinue reading “Redskins and Indians: America Isn’t Done With the Natives Yet”

Reflections on Translations-VI: The Advantages to Philosophy

Over at The New York Times‘ The Stone, Hamid Dabashi writes: Though it is common to lament the shortcomings of reading an important work in any language other than the original and of the “impossibility” of translation, I am convinced that works of philosophy…in fact gain far more than they lose in translation. Consider Heidegger.Continue reading “Reflections on Translations-VI: The Advantages to Philosophy”

Hudson Crossings

Yesterday, at the World Trade Center transit station, as I took the escalator down to the PATH train, heading for an afternoon spent with a cousin living in Exchange Place, New Jersey, I made note of a little datum: I’ve been crossing the Hudson–in both directions–for over twenty-five years.  One such crossing, back in 1993,Continue reading “Hudson Crossings”

A Smoking Career, Suspended

A New York Times article that wonders, ‘Why Smokers Still Smoke‘ set me to thinking: Why did I smoke? For as long as I did? I smoked my first cigarette in my teen years. My father smoked, as did many of the men–all Air Force pilots–that I idolized. There was glamour and masculinity written allContinue reading “A Smoking Career, Suspended”

‘Little Clouds’ and ‘Enemies of Ambition’

Children leave you little time for ‘work.’ Children are work. They displace priorities; many a career ambition runs aground on the shoals of their demands and needs. So goes an exceedingly common complaint, especially from those who consider themselves ‘creative types’: writers, artists and the like. As Cyril Connolly once noted, ‘That enemy of ambition,Continue reading “‘Little Clouds’ and ‘Enemies of Ambition’”

Amory Blaine’s Disillusionment and Enlightenment

Toward the conclusion of This Side of Paradise, as Amory Blaine as undergoes that educational disillusionment which is our common lot as we ‘mature’, F. Scott Fitzgerald steps up a ruminative commentary detailing the insights his hero is now ‘enjoying.’ These unmask crucial pretensions of the world around him: There were no more wise men; thereContinue reading “Amory Blaine’s Disillusionment and Enlightenment”

Adam Phillips on Self-Knowledge and the Unconscious

Adam Phillips, psychotherapist and essayist, can be a frustratingly elliptical writer. There are allusions, suggestions, shadings and hints in every passage. (I seem to dimly remember a frustrated reviewer in the New York or London Review of Books complaining about this characteristic slipperiness.) From these though, the diligent reader can often find a perspicuous insight,Continue reading “Adam Phillips on Self-Knowledge and the Unconscious”

56-Up: Checking In With ‘Old Friends’

Roger Ebert once referred to Michael Apted‘s Up series as the ‘noblest project in cinema history.’ In writing his review of 56-Up–the latest installment in the story of the Fab Fourteen–Ebert disowned those words as ‘hyperbole’ but its easy to see why he might have thought so. It is as straightforward–and as complicated–a film project as could be:Continue reading “56-Up: Checking In With ‘Old Friends’”

School as Preparatory Space for the Workplace

During the course of an essay on Keith Moon and the pleasures of drumming (‘The Fun Stuff‘, The New Yorker, 29 November 2010) James Wood writes: Georges Bataille has some haunting words about how the workplace is the scene of our domestication and repression: it is where we are forced to put away our Dionysianism. TheContinue reading “School as Preparatory Space for the Workplace”

A Long, Hot, Sickened Journey

The worst of the heat might have receded from New York City but that’s not going to deter me from churning out another hot weather-related blog post. On this occasion, about a time when a combination of heat and a mysterious ailment combined to induce in me a misery that has, thankfully, not been rivaledContinue reading “A Long, Hot, Sickened Journey”