Uncomfortable Conversations: Children And The Bad News

On Friday morning, I finally faced the kind of problem I had heard many other parents make note of: how do you talk about the horrifying in the presence of children? On Thursday night, I had gone to sleep after reading the news reports on the murders in Nice, and on waking up, wanted toContinue reading “Uncomfortable Conversations: Children And The Bad News”

The Intimacies Of Mass Killings

There is an added dimension of the gruesome, the visceral, in reading reports about mass killings where the immediacy and intimacy of the deaths involved becomes apparent. Tales of bombings of distant lands are remote, colorless, obscure, and abstracted; there is a distant plume of smoke, perhaps a spectacular pillar of flame, a mound ofContinue reading “The Intimacies Of Mass Killings”

Mass Shootings, Gun Control, And Masculinity

Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. There is a great deal of truth in this, er, truism. But having acknowledged that, one can then move on to ask: why do so many people kill people in the US? What are the factors at play in the network of actors and causes and effects thatContinue reading “Mass Shootings, Gun Control, And Masculinity”

Black Lives Don’t Matter In Charleston

Gore Vidal once said that it was mighty convenient John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King had all been killed by loners, by curiously isolated killers, who just happened to not be part of a broader conspiracy. Same as it ever was. A lone gunman shot nine people in Charleston, South Carolina lastContinue reading “Black Lives Don’t Matter In Charleston”

A Couple of Reflections Prompted by Sandy Hook

Yesterday, on Facebook, I reposted a link to a post I had written here in response to the Aurora shootings in July. You could change the title of the post slightly to reference ‘Sandy Hook’ rather than ‘Aurora’ and nothing else would need changing. This morning, still clearly unable to write anything coherent in response,Continue reading “A Couple of Reflections Prompted by Sandy Hook”

The Snowtown Murders: John Bunting and his Barrels

Snowtown (aka The Snowtown Murders) is one of the most difficult movies I’ve ever seen. It took me three viewings to finish watching it: I called the first one off because the accumulated horror and dismay had become too much; I restarted it hours later, stopped again after a few minutes, and then finally, onContinue reading “The Snowtown Murders: John Bunting and his Barrels”

Aurora is All-American, Grimly So

I consider myself to have some facility with words but I’m struggling today to find a term that will describe a political debate that has progressed to the point where the most perspicuous contributions to it are made by satirists, cartoonists and professional humorists. (Should all political debates be so blessed? I wonder.) ┬áThe ‘debate’–forContinue reading “Aurora is All-American, Grimly So”