Category: Culture

The Last Intellectual Late-Night Talk Show

Once describing the appeal of his eponymous show in a 2011 appearance on Charlie Rose, Dick Cavett volunteered somewhat coyly that it was the nature of its conversations. Sure, there was the top-of-the-line talent: Orson Welles, Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum, John Lennon, the list goes […]

Monty Python in the Politically Correct Crosshairs

Then the PC police came for Monty Python, the famed British comedy troupe. On June 19, the Daily Mail headlined a story: “No Joke: Head of BBC comedy says Oxbridge white blokes of Python wouldn’t get on TV now.” The article detailed the politically correct comments of Shane Allen, the BBC’s Controller of Comedy Commissioning […]

Religion is the Salt That Preserves the State

This upcoming Friday, June 29, is the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul, specifically their martyrdom in Rome. The teachings of both of these men have recently come up in American politics: Attorney General Jeff Sessions mentioned Paul’s writings to bolster the Trump administration’s immigration policy, while pro-immigration advocates have referred to the “love […]

Common Core Is a Menace to Pluralism and Democracy

Common Core: National Education Standards and the Threat to Democracy by Nicholas Tampio, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 216 pages The federal government has been involved in public education since before the Constitution was ratified. In the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (renewed in 1789), the federal government mandated that land in new territories be set […]

A Little Formaldehyde With Your Milk?

The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum, Penguin Random House, September 2018, 352 pages We are living in a time when many see “deregulation” as a goal in itself. Red tape is obnoxious and counterproductive, and government should just leave businesses alone. That […]

Remembering the Iconic TV Dad

This year, in celebration of Father’s Day, I figured I’d get my media critic on and take a look at how the small screen has portrayed our proud papas and the institution of fatherhood. From the conservative ’50s to the swinging ’70s to the morning-in-America ‘80s to today, the way that dads were reflected in […]

A Plague of Suicide, A World of Alienation

We are plagued by an epidemic of self-killings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report on June 7 noting the rise of suicide rates in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases visible across age, gender, race, and ethnicity. In North Dakota, the rate jumped more than 57 percent. […]

Fake Culture is Hastening Our Idiocracy

Carl Wilson, music critic for Slate, sat down at his desk, placed his fingers to the keyboard, and actually wrote the following sentences in a review of the debut record from Cardi B, a former stripper and current “Instagram star”: The finest example, though, is the way she quotes and samples Three 6 Mafia associate […]