Ross Douthat Finds ‘Ascendant Social Liberalism’ Lurking Beneath His Bed

The New York Times’ Resident Sophist Laureate, Ross Douthat, has a long-running argumentative and rhetorical strategy of suggesting, through dark imprecations, that ‘liberalism’ and ‘godlessness’ are to blame for America’s social evils, for they they have produced them by provoking a reaction to their excesses. If only social and political movements didn’t engage in suchContinue reading “Ross Douthat Finds ‘Ascendant Social Liberalism’ Lurking Beneath His Bed”

Aristophanes’ Sausage-Seller and the Tea Partier

I have just finished writing a draft review of Lee Fang‘s The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right (New York: The New Press, 2013); it will appear shortly in The Washington Spectator. As I read Fang’s depressing history of the corporate-funded ‘New Right’ that has derailed the Obama presidency, looked over its roguesContinue reading “Aristophanes’ Sausage-Seller and the Tea Partier”

Bert Williams and the (Funny) Sadness of Clowns

WC Fields described his fellow Ziegfield Follies mate Bert Williams–‘one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time…the best-selling black recording artist before 1920′–as ‘the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew.’ Williams certainly made no secretContinue reading “Bert Williams and the (Funny) Sadness of Clowns”

Woody Allen’s Guide to Civil Disobedience and Revolution

Today is Easter Sunday. Jesus was a Jew and a rebel. So, on this great day in Jewish history, and in honor of Jewish rebellion, here is Woody Allen on civil disobedience and revolutions. In perpetrating a revolution, there are two requirements: someone or something to revolt against and someone to actually show up andContinue reading “Woody Allen’s Guide to Civil Disobedience and Revolution”

The Deadliness of Humorlessness

In the climactic scenes of Umberto Eco‘s The Name of the Rose, Adso of Melk and William of Baskerville confront the old, blind, and malignant librarian Jorge, sworn, no matter the price to be paid in lives, to keeping ¬†Aristotle‘s¬†Poetics a perennial secret because of its subversive doctrines that not only analyze and permit laughter,Continue reading “The Deadliness of Humorlessness”