Popular Culture

Two Flags; Two Wars; Two poets

My town hall boasts two flag poles. One flies the requisite Stars and Stripes. But it is the companion pole standing next to it that stirs the local blood. This one flaunts the colors dearest to a well-appointed community that congratulates itself on its civilized progressivism. Ukraine’s bicolor tops the second pole. It is paired with the rainbow colors of the LBGTQ Nation. The duet proclaims the town fathers’ common purpose: celebration of those chic causes that thrill The Better Sort. Continue Reading
Huey Newton

The violent bear it away. That title of Flannery O’Connor’s 1960 novel still resonates. Some relentless atavism is at work in our culture, a monstrous irrationality that awakens what O’Connor called “the stuff of which madmen and fanatics are made.” Violence, no longer shunned, is now an accepted political tool. The attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh—preceded by U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland’s refusal to enforce federal law against protesters at justices’ homes—exposed the fragile divide between constituted order and willed anarchy. Continue Reading
pregnant pro-abortion protester

The Dobbs decision has been thoroughly analyzed and discussed elsewhere. What appears here are notes jotted in the margins. Begin with the anarchic trajectory of Justice Kennedy’s “mystery passage” of thirty years ago. Roe v. Wade invented a Constitutional right out of whole cloth. Planned Parenthood v. Casey exalted the grounds of that invention. The 1992 decision codified Justice Kennedy’s madcap dictum: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Continue Reading
Minton in drag

Biden’s new appointment to the Department of Energy is a strutting, non-binary drag queen. He is also a packmate in the leather subset of “pup handlers.” You can bone up on the culture of puppy love later. For now, pay attention to Sam Brinton holding forth on the ethical necessity of role-playing of another kind: genderqueer pronouns for the newly discovered constellation of gender identities. A link to his three and a half minute video is in the previous post. Still, it is better to have the libretto in front of you. Continue Reading
Sam Minton in drag

I have not brought myself to pay this year’s dues on my long-term membership in AICA-USA, the United States section of the Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art. Founded in 1950 in Paris (hence the acronym), it presents its mission as “elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.” [Embalming criticism in an academic discipline sends cold steel through the heart of the kind of lively observations recorded by the Goncourt brothers. Continue Reading