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The End of the World as They Know It

From First Thoughts

The crisis in the humanities has “officially” arrived, Stanley Fish asserts in his October 11th piece for The New York Times . Why now? Because on October 1st, SUNY Albany decided to cut the French, Italian, classics, Russian and theatre programs from the university curriculum. The . . . . Continue Reading »

The City, Fall 2010

From First Thoughts

A few weeks ago, David Mills mentioned The City . The fall issue is now out. To whet your appetite: Matt Milliner discusses the two art worlds, Jay Richards writes on Christianity and socialism, and Albert Mohler reviews Christian Smith. Read it here . . . . . Continue Reading »

Rules for Poets

From First Thoughts

Over the past few days, poet Thomas Sayers Ellis has posted “Ten Rules for Changing the Game of Poetry” to his Facebook profile. (The full list can be found here .) Ellis’s ten rules actually reveal a lot about the state of poetry today. Apparently it’s necessary to tell poets . . . . Continue Reading »

Bored or Confused?

From First Thoughts

Like me , Caspar Melville is bored with New Atheism . It has been good for some things, Melville writes, like creating copy for journalists and arguing against odious “Christian religious fundamentalism.” Regarding the latter: The origins of the New Atheists’ impulse, according to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Blessings of Atheism?

From First Thoughts

I was bored with Hawking’s statement about God before he even made it, but this zinger from Richard Lea at The Guardian is worth sharing. Reminding us that Hawking has far outsold his fellow scientists who have tried their hand at trade books precisely because of “his willingness to . . . . Continue Reading »

Overrating Overrated Writers

From First Thoughts

Outing overrated writers is a favorite pastime of critics everywhere, and this summer particularly so. First there was Gabriel Josipivici’s attack in The Guardian on Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes. They exhibit a “petty-bourgeois uptightness,” a . . . . Continue Reading »

“Read Ayn Rand” (or Not)

From First Thoughts

Ayn Rand acolyte, Nick Newcomen, has driven 12,328 miles with a GPS tracking device on to spell out “Read Ayn Rand” . According to The Guardian , “Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between . . . . Continue Reading »

The Classics and Statecraft

From First Thoughts

Adam Kirsch, whose poetry I admire, has a surprisingly muddled argument on the value of great books for world leaders in a recent article for The New Republic . Responding to Charles Hill’s argument in Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order that great books tutor leaders in . . . . Continue Reading »