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Prudence in the Pandemic

We do not exercise moral judgment in the same manner in every instance. Broadly, there are three basic situations in the moral life, which require three different ways of thinking. The recent pandemic, and the ensuing reflections on our moral responsibilities as civic leaders and citizens, . . . . Continue Reading »

Style Reveals the Man

Writing cannot be taught, as I came to realize after attempting to teach it for thirty years to university students, but it can be learned. One can only teach the mistakes bad writers make and provide examples of what makes good writers good. One cannot teach a love of language, the power of . . . . Continue Reading »

Monumental Contrast

In the annals of monumental sculpture, James Earle Fraser’s equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt hardly ranks as a masterpiece. The Rough Rider is portrayed in frontiersman’s garb and flanked by two figures on foot: a Plains Indian and an African tribesman. Prominently sited before the august . . . . Continue Reading »

Lamb to the Slaughter

George Frazier had a story about the first time he met John O’Hara. The journalist and clotheshorse Frazier was introduced to the novelist O’Hara while hanging out at a Greenwich Village jazz club. The famously cranky O’Hara looked Frazier up and down before inviting him to have a drink. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Anti-Romantic

What Éric Rohmer said of one of his characters could be said of him as well: He was committed to “redoing all of ­Rousseau in reverse.” His films are anti-­romantic. They reject romantic notions of liberation and autonomy. They critique the cult of romantic love. They warn against a romantic . . . . Continue Reading »

My Recipe Binder

For those of us who were adults before the advent of the Internet, a three-ring binder was the best way to keep track of our favorite recipes. Most of the women I know still have one, filled with recipes torn from magazines or printed from websites, handwritten by friends on index cards and . . . . Continue Reading »

Gelded Critics of Capitalism

Capitalism gets off easy these days. Its loud but underwhelming critics are stuck in the 1960s, repeating slogans that never quite amount to a compelling condemnation of the system. Proposing costly federal programs is all it takes to be considered an ­anti-­capitalist radical. Take, for instance, . . . . Continue Reading »

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