E.T., Phone Here

From Web Exclusives

In the early spring months of 1950, the city of New York witnessed an outbreak of juvenile delinquency. Late at night, prowling gangs were stealing those iconic Department of Sanitation iron-mesh trash cans from New York’s street corners”and local newspapers at the time were in a dither… . Continue Reading

The Suffering, Abominable Hamlet

From Web Exclusives

T. S. Eliot caught a bit of flak in the 1920s when he claimed that Shakespeare’s most famous play Hamlet was, of all things, a flop: “Far from being Shakespeare’s masterpiece,” he said in “Hamlet and His Problems,” published in 1922, “the play is most certainly an artistic failure. In several ways the play is puzzling, and disquieting as is none of the others.” … Continue Reading »

Nonsense Drives Them Away

From Web Exclusives

Gary Saul Morson, a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Northwestern University, teaches a popular course on the Russian novel at this renowned school in Evanston, Illinois. As such, he might be expected to welcome a defense of the humanities from any quarter. But in his review of Martha Nussbaum’s latest book, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, he amply shows how some self-styled friends of the humanities are to a great extent the cause of the doldrums into which they have fallen… . Continue Reading »

Atheism’s Just So Scenarios

From Web Exclusives

The British cosmologist Fred Hoyle coined the term “the Big Bang” as a term of derision, but it quickly caught on with the public. He had handed his opponents the most vivid (if somewhat misleading) image for the theory that our universe began as an infinitely small and infinitely dense “singularity,” which then “exploded” … . Continue Reading »

The Moral Consequences of Episcopal Sin

From Web Exclusives

A preacher is often faced with the burdensome task of confronting the discrepancy between the texts from Scripture assigned for the day and the headlines that have been blaring during the past week. For example, how does one reconcile the news of God’s love with the news of the earthquake in Haiti? … Continue Reading »

Parliament’s Equality Bill

From Web Exclusives

When speaking in terms of employment, what does the word discrimination mean? It is now almost universally admitted in liberal democracies that discrimination according to extraneous categories like skin color is morally wrong, and for that reason in most democracies it is also illegal. But the word is ambiguous. … Continue Reading

Stone Age Girard

From First Thoughts

The name of René Girard, I’ve noticed, has of late been cropping up on this site a bit more often than usua l. I don’t want to rehearse what I’ve written elsewhere on this remarkably original thinker, now inducted into “The Immortals” of the Académie . . . . Continue Reading »