The Parisian Becoming of Simone de Beauvoir

May 16, 2020

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir share the same grave in the Cemetière du Montparnasse — or rather, their ashes do — and every morning someone places a long-stemmed rose on their slab beside the cemetery wall. The legendary romance is thus renewed in the eyes of the daily visitors....

Max Weber’s Three Qualities for the Modern Politician
May 08, 2020

Max Weber’s Three Qualities for the Modern Politician

The Truth Behind “The Plot Against America”
Apr 30, 2020

The Truth Behind “The Plot Against America”

Anne Frank’s Amsterdam: Remembering Our Privilege in Times of Pandemic
Apr 03, 2020

Anne Frank’s Amsterdam: Remembering Our Privilege in Times of Pandemic

The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt

The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt

Mar 23, 2020

It seems that on the highest levels, everything is going wrong. In the past few years, populism and authoritarianism have reared their ugly heads. The economy has just reached historic lows, and we are only beginning to reap the effects of a ruined environment. Suicide rates are climbing, refugee...

Martha Nussbaum’s Magnificent Opus, a Critique

Martha Nussbaum’s Magnificent Opus, a Critique

Mar 13, 2020

The philosopher Martha Nussbaum has a prodigious output and, indeed, it takes a prodigious effort to keep up with it. No sooner had I completed reading the latest trio of her books than a new one was signaled,  many of the recent works being based on her delivery of prestigious guest lectures...

Talking African Literature With Chigozie Obioma

Talking African Literature With Chigozie Obioma

Mar 05, 2020

African literature has attracted immense international interest in recent years, and a number of “Afropolitan” icons and rising stars have won acclaim from critics and literary festivals. Yet most reading lists released by major newspapers and journals are still disproportionately...

Is Twitter Killing the Written Word?

Is Twitter Killing the Written Word?

Feb 14, 2020

If Donald Trump had anything in common with a poet, it would be Homer. Homer was a pre-literate poet from Ancient Greece, while Trump is a post-literate US president who prefers to be briefed orally, gets his news from television and boasts that he likes to read as little as possible. Homer refers...

Understanding Our Place in the Grander Whole

Understanding Our Place in the Grander Whole

Feb 12, 2020

In an interview with theoretical physicist Brian Greene, The Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, questioned the author of the recently published “Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe” on the themes he develops in his book. The interview...

Does “Positive Thinking” Have a Place in Politics?

Does “Positive Thinking” Have a Place in Politics?

Feb 10, 2020

To make money in the world of self-help books, being realistic and balanced, and where failure is accepted as a good thing, will not work. It seems that the leaders of America and the United Kingdom have cottoned on to this. It is well documented that Donald Trump is a big fan of the...

Naomi Wolf Talks Homophobia, Feminism and “Outrages”

Naomi Wolf Talks Homophobia, Feminism and "Outrages"

Jan 08, 2020

The year 1990 witnessed several revolutionary changes, one of which was the release of “The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women,” written by Naomi Wolf. The “Beauty Myth” highlighted how male dominance is maintained by holding women to certain standards of beauty, and...

A Poet’s Meditations on Inspiration and Hope

A Poet’s Meditations on Inspiration and Hope

Dec 21, 2019

A poem arrives like a hand in the dark. Who knows where inspiration comes from, and where it goes. I submit that even artists don’t — at least not yours truly. After something of a dry patch, where I began to refer to myself as an “ex-writer,” I find that I'm writing poetry, again:...

Did You Say High Culture Was Dead?

Did You Say High Culture Was Dead?

Dec 12, 2019

When I was a was a young teen attending a German high school in southern Bavarian in the late 1960s, we were made to know how to distinguish between high and popular culture. High culture was Kafka and Thomas Mann, Beethoven and Mozart, Goethe and Berthold Brecht, Fritz Lang and Josef von...

Peter Handke’s Nobel Win: The Banality of Hypocrisy

Peter Handke’s Nobel Win: The Banality of Hypocrisy

Oct 21, 2019

Nobel Prizes are not what they used to be. This is particularly true when it comes to literature. Who, for instance, still remembers that the late Dario Fo, characterized as the “acerbic, anarchic clown of a dramatist,” received the Nobel Prize in 1997? Or, going back into a distant past, who...

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