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Binx and the Malaise

I heard the news in late May as I was walking into the Sno-White Cafe here in Pine Bluff, Ark. Walker Percy died, Roger Coley told me. Roger is a Mississippi boy who’s now design editor at the Pine Bluff Commercial. Newspapers have titles like Design Editor these days. He stopped in front of the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Uses of Homophobia

The best way to win an argument is to control the terms of discussion. Any high school debater knows that, and those of us who forget it do so at the risk of finding ourselves in awkwardly defensive modes of public discourse. Take the current and curious case of the term “homophobia,” a word . . . . Continue Reading »

Nine Numbers

On card after card he sees it. Along with a harsh identity photograph And his preposterous signature, A black line struggling into a name. The face is Irish, and his name. And even some of the wallet cards, The printer prayer to St. John Neumann, Bohemian bishop in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Organbuilders

The name of the one organbuilder was Craft, the other Dream, both descendants of an ur-figure. Creation. To graft metal to wood, not to look askance at fanatics in the guise of shepherds, and to listen with both delicacy and might was required. A duration. Death . . . . Continue Reading »

Poverty and Morality

The Undeserving Poor: From the War on Poverty to the War on Welfare by michael b. katz pantheon books, 293 pages, $22.95  In The Undeserving Poor, there are two Michael Katzes on view, the historian and the social commentator, and the former is much the more persuasive. Katz, who teaches . . . . Continue Reading »

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