American Exceptionalism Revisited

From First Thoughts

Ponnuru and Lowry respond to their critics . I’m the sure the sphere will be all over this within hours.  But a few particularly egregious points are worth noting. 1) Ponnuru and Lowry claim that Obama rejects American exceptionalism in favor of the “Wilsonian project of relocating . . . . Continue Reading »

Why is there no Jewish Narnia?

From First Thoughts

That’s the question Michael Weingrad asks in the inaugural issue of The Jewish Review of Books. The article has taken heat from fans of the many Jewish fantasy authors . But most of them have missed the point. Weingrad isn’t asking whether Jews write fantasy or enjoy reading it. . . . . Continue Reading »

Two Concepts of Exceptionalism

From First Thoughts

In the current issue of National Review, Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru try to develop a respectable argument that President Obama is un-American . They dismiss the literal version that defines Birtherism. And they stipulate that the president and his allies want sincerely to improve the lives of . . . . Continue Reading »

What’s the matter with you?

From First Thoughts

Over at the Ordinary Gentleman, David Schaengold has launched an attack Martin Scorsese’s reputation as a grand homme of American cinema . Using the distinction introduced by our own James Poulos, he claims that Scorsese doesn’t traffic in the sublime, but only the “sense of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservatism and the Establishment

From First Thoughts

I don’t like to praise David Brooks because I’m afraid it makes me look middlebrow. But sometimes he nails it. Today’s column is a tentative, perhaps merely arguendo , defense of the old WASP establishment. Sure, Brooks observes, positions of power in America are more open to . . . . Continue Reading »

Olde Tyme Hardcore

From First Thoughts

So the fall semester is finally in sufficient order that I can return to blogging. I don’t imagine that I was particularly missed. But I’ll proceed on the assumption that at least some readers liked to alternate their reflections on the very serious matters we usually discuss with one . . . . Continue Reading »

Bikes on the Porch

From First Thoughts

Matt Crawford’s excellent book Shopclass As Soulcraft has a gotten a lot of attention recently, almost all of it favorable. This week, FPR is joining the party with a symposium featuring posts from Rod Dreher, Mark Shiffman, and, among others,  me . In it, I claim Crawford as chief . . . . Continue Reading »

Class, Status, and American Leninism

From First Thoughts

Now, I really, really, really hadn’t intended to post anything on Palin. I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said. And most of what has been said would have been better unsaid: the delight in speculation without the slightest basis in evidence is among the worst tendencies of . . . . Continue Reading »

A Call to Order

From First Thoughts

Okay, so there’s blood on the floor. The bottles have been smashed, the tables flipped over. But now perhaps we should heed Professor Wilson’s suggestion and bring some order to this brawl. Not Marquess of Queensberry rules: we’ll keep it bare-knuckle. Yet it might worth selecting . . . . Continue Reading »