Bodily Revulsions

From the April 2012 Print Edition

The Meaning of Disgust by Colin McGinn Oxford, 264 pages, $35 The eminent philosopher Colin McGinn has written twenty-five or so sharp, illuminating pages on the topic of disgust. Unfortunately, he has scattered those twenty-five pages among two hundred other pages of bizarre, tossed-off piffle, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Tree of Life and Melancholia

From First Thoughts

I crawled into bed last night just before 12, shaken and very quiet. I had just returned from seeing Lars von Trier’s new film Melancholia . Many readers of First Things likely took David Bentley Hart’s advice to eschew Atlas Shrugged in favor of Terrence Malick’s masterpiece, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Virtues of Trilling

From First Thoughts

This will not be the first time that First Thoughts readers have heard from me on the virtues of Mr. Lionel Trilling , but readers interested in learning more about one of America’s greatest critics and intellectuals can check out my piece in today’s Wall Street Journal . . . . . Continue Reading »

The Verdict on Verdicts

From First Thoughts

The folks over at Commonweal are up to something. In case you don’t make it to that corner of the web very often, let me commend to your attention Verdicts , Commonweal ’s new blog covering books and culture. So far, since its launch in July, Verdicts has featured fine short pieces on . . . . Continue Reading »

Elements From Opposing Minds

From First Thoughts

I have just finished reading Lionel Trilling’s 1940  Partisan Review essay “Elements That Are Wanted.” More than sixty years after its publication, it remains a galvanizing read, though perhaps now in a different way. For a thorough account of the piece, and its important . . . . Continue Reading »

Democracy Comes for the Journalists

From First Thoughts

As usual, the nineteenth century saw this coming. Tocqueville and Nietzsche, among many others, long ago predicted that an advanced democratic culture would entail a flattening of the spiritual landscape, discouraging the development of truly outstanding individuals who are willing and able to . . . . Continue Reading »