On Avatar

From First Thoughts

Peter’s review of Avatar is a must-read: Avatar isn’t much a movie: Instead, Cameron’s cooked up a derivative, overlong pastiche of anti-corporate clichés and quasi-mystical eco-nonsense. It’s not that the film’s politics make it bad, it’s that . . . . Continue Reading »

On the Limits of Professional Expertise

From First Thoughts

Matt Feeney has a great, tart post on Tiger Woods, which I nonetheless want to take in another direction. For Matt, the prevailing sentiment unleashed over the last few weeks is not, in the most immediate sense, some reflex of racial loathing that we white people have been holding in store in . . . . Continue Reading »

Murder, He Lied

From First Thoughts

Ross is right to come down on Ezra for reckless and irresponsible hyperventilating on health care. But let me dot the i here. Ezra Klein kicked up a hornet’s nest of controversy by accusing Lieberman of being “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to . . . . Continue Reading »

Europe’s Europe Moment

From First Thoughts

Ross’s take on Europe and Islam focuses deftly on the democratic deficit behind the Continent’s integration problem: this political style — forge a consensus among the establishment, and assume you can contain any backlash that develops — is [ . . . ] how the Continent came to . . . . Continue Reading »

Therapy and the Military, Redux

From First Thoughts

Continuing coverage : “To me,” Mr. Meehan said, “the healing power of being able to write through everything, talk through everything, really helped me make order of it.” “That’s something I know is going to be one of the tragic long-lasting effects of the Fort Hood . . . . Continue Reading »

Of Friction and Frictionlessness

From First Thoughts

Ross is back — as a blogger, that is, after a well-deserved six-month hiatus. Riffing off of Peter’s lament that “our political debates will become indistinguishable from our health care debates,” becoming “permanently intertwined, going on and on, forever and ever, . . . . Continue Reading »

Culture, Anti-Culture, and Lists

From First Thoughts

The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Touch, The Feel of Patienthood

From First Thoughts

At Ft. Hood’s “Spiritual Fitness Center” , the therapeutic’s trying to change warrior culture one triumph at a time: on the vast Army post cloaked in drab, Fort Hood’s new Spiritual Fitness Center offers color. Inside, sunlight filters through stained glass of lavender . . . . Continue Reading »

The Banality Kerfuffle

From First Thoughts

I woke up to discover that more or less everything I wanted to say last night about Ron Rosenbaum’s misbegotten hit job on Hannah Arendt and her conception of the banality of evil has been said this morning at length by Steven Menashi at the American Scene. (Extra fun: in touching on Carlin . . . . Continue Reading »