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Play American

Just seventy years ago, a Fortune poll reported that 62 percent of Americans listened to classical music, 40 percent could identify Arturo Toscanini as an orchestral conductor, and nine million listeners (11 percent of American households) tuned in to weekly Metropolitan Opera broadcasts from New . . . . Continue Reading »

The Eyes of Wendell Berry

The Seer opens with a blur of urban lights and longings: the faster freeway, the taller building, the machines that become the objects of our affections. Over this, the film’s subject, in his distinctive timbre, laments the pursuit of “the objective.” These opening three minutes culminate in . . . . Continue Reading »

Good Catholics, Good Citizens

The Catholic love affair with the United States of America is heading into rough and uncharted waters—and not only in this 2016 election cycle, but for the foreseeable future. U.S. Catholics have, in a sense, been there and done that, given that the history of the Church in this country includes . . . . Continue Reading »

The Need for Epiphanic Evangelicalism

The second challenge I see facing American churches today (I discuss the first one here) is how the Church engages postmodernism in American culture. By “postmodern” I do not simply mean the period succeeding modernity, however one wants to date that. Rather, I mean the subjectivist thrust of . . . . Continue Reading »

What I See in America

Small nations look outward. I was born in Jamaica—remain a Jamaican citizen, for that matter—and we Jamaicans learned early that history was something that mainly happened elsewhere. We knew that Jamaica was, at best, peripheral to the social and political developments that defined the age.This . . . . Continue Reading »

An Unbooming Business

After the Baby Boomers:How Twenty- and Thirty-­Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by robert wuthnow princeton university press, 312 pages, $29.95 Baby boomers are becoming old news and dated scholarship. For nearly a half century after the Second World War, the cohort of babies . . . . Continue Reading »

Not So Gay Blades

The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subcultureby howard p. chudacoffprinceton university press, 341 pages, $29.95 Howard Chudacoff, a professor of history at Brown University, has written what amounts to a propagandist tract in the form of a purported sociological history of the . . . . Continue Reading »

TV’s America

Almost every entry in the index to this book is a prime-time show. Among the very many: “Amos ‘n Andy,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Cosby Show,” “Dallas,” “Empire,” “Falcon Crest,” “Gunsmoke,” “Hill Street Blues,” “I Love Lucy,” “Kate and Allie,” “Marcus Welby, . . . . Continue Reading »

Nothing But Muck

Scandal: The Culture of Mistrust in American Politicsby Suzanne GarmentRandom House, 335 pages, $23 At the end of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the narrator Nick Carraway sums up the inner lives of the rich and self-absorbed Tom and Daisy Buchanan and their indifference to the pain and . . . . Continue Reading »

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