Taylor Swift, Nazi Barbie?

January is Taylor Swift month in the Green household. If, like me, you have three young daughters, then every month for the last ten years has been Taylor Swift month. Still, Swift’s new album, Reputation, has driven the Swiftometer to an all-time high. Three copies arrived by courier on . . . . Continue Reading »

Chatterley on Trial

Lady Chatterley’s Loverby d. h. lawrencemacmillan, 432 pages, $12.99 Six weeks after a London criminal court permitted the unexpurgated publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover on November 2, 1960, a forlorn rearguard action took place in the crimson and gold chamber of the House of Lords, then . . . . Continue Reading »

Phenomenology of the Hand

If you teach high school or college students, or have kids who are passing through those ­places, and if your duties include grading papers, or you watch your kids struggle with writing assignments, I have a piece of advice. Tell them to try composing by hand, with pen and paper, not on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Evangelizing the Nones

By far the fastest-growing “religious” group in the United States is the “nones,” that is, those who claim no religious affiliation. In the latest Pew Research Center survey, fully 25 percent of the country—80 million people—say that they have no formal religion, and the growth . . . . Continue Reading »

Historical Ignorance, Moral Arrogance

My generation tends to think of itself as the first generation to be moral, tolerant, decent, and good. We abhor racism, sexism, nationalism, and homophobia, crimes we set at the center of past societies—all of them. We have avoided the bloody vices of slavery, torture, pillaging, religious . . . . Continue Reading »

Neither Pop Nor Culture

Let me begin with a confession. I spent almost a half century producing pop culture, mostly for television. This admission is an act of penance but also suggests a degree of generational responsibility. Maybe a half century in the entertainment industry isn’t sufficient for a full understanding, . . . . Continue Reading »

Beware of Dog

Pets are replacing America’s children. According to the marketing research firm Mintel, two-thirds of American pet owners treat their pets as “part of the family.” One-third say that their pets understand their feelings better than most humans. Half care as much about the . . . . Continue Reading »

Empathy is Not Charity

Martin Scorsese’s recent film Silence, like the historical novel by Shūsaku Endō on which it is based, turns on an act of emotional blackmail. Inoue, a seventeenth-century Japanese magistrate intent on eradicating Christianity from his country, pressures a Jesuit priest named Rodrigues to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Death of Eros

Something strange is going on in America’s bedrooms. In a recent issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers reported that on average, Americans have sex about nine fewer times a year than they did in the late 1990s. The trend is most pronounced among the young. Controlling for age and . . . . Continue Reading »