An American Declaration of Christmas

From First Thoughts

It’s impossible to ignore all the characteristic signposts of the Christmas season—wherever you go the familiar sights and sounds are unmistakably evocative of the winter holiday. Our malls, shops, houses, television stations and radio airwaves are all transformed into vehicles of . . . . Continue Reading »

A Very Vegas Postmodern Christmas

From First Thoughts

An uninteresting collusion of circumstances locates me this week in Las Vegas, in a room not in but overlooking the Bellagio fountains (Of Claire de Lune fame, Oceans 11).  The fountains are lovely, but one has only to raise one’s gaze a few degrees to behold, across the . . . . Continue Reading »

Harking to Christmas Past

From First Thoughts

When one reaches a certain age there is an inclination to reminisce about how much nicer, better, or easier things were forty or fifty years ago. For most of us our youth was a special time, not so much materially, more so in a spiritual sense. As children we are less spiritually inhibited, more . . . . Continue Reading »

Evil Knowledge

From First Thoughts

The best torture is an effect caused by acts which are not torture. Andrew and Ross reflect. My basic stance on torture is pretty clear but also pretty modern: I want a strict, narrow definition of that which is absolutely impermissible. This suggests great skepticism and discomfort with what Ross . . . . Continue Reading »

BIG

From First Thoughts

    When does a quantitative change in politics become a qualitative one?  Many, including Karl Marx, have puzzled over this question without providing a fully satisfactory response. At long last an answer now appears to be at our disposal. Blago, Bernie, and Barack, each in his . . . . Continue Reading »

‘Round the Site

From First Thoughts

Wendy’s life borders on chaos. What could make her life easier? A team of experts in colorful blouses with good hair, of course — according to Real Simple magazine’s new reality TV show. By Laura Vanderkam . An American town is living in a past that isn’t even real . The . . . . Continue Reading »

‘Round the Site

From First Thoughts

Justin Hart’s daughter goes to her first Mormon Saturday Night Dance . Both father and daughter leave with a smile on their faces. The coke-fueled nights of Hollywood were his normative experience; the mundane conventions of suburban Cleveland feel exotic to him. Joe Eszterhas, however, is . . . . Continue Reading »

Mind, Brain, Rock ‘n’ Roll

From First Thoughts

 One of the basic distinctions in contemporary thought about thinking is between brain and mind. "Brain" means the organic machine inside our skulls. "Mind" is more elusive: it can refer to anything from the generic subject of any possible judgement to the syndrome of . . . . Continue Reading »