Monthly Archives: January 2010

Quentin Tarantino’s List of the 20 Best Movies Made Since 1992

Battle Royale leads his list, and Woody Allen’s Anything Else is on the list too: Since Tarantino doesn’t include any of his own films on his “best” list, I’d suggest, if you haven’t already seen them, the following: Death Proof Jackie Brown

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Are You a Bohemian?

This nineteenth century person was. She let herself be painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and he named the painting Lise the Bohemian (1868): This appears to be a young woman, amidst a languid summer, in the process of falling in on herself, almost … Continue reading

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Oil Dependence on the Middle East: Jimmy Carter Tried to Break It

And Republicans demogogued the issue and, in the 1980s, reversed Jimmy Carter’s even very modest initiatives. Now it’s President Obama’s turn to get smacked around by the Republicans on this issue. But I think that he has to do it. It’s right … Continue reading

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The Post Carbon Institute’s Richard Heinberg on Peak Oil

Richard Heinberg’s talk on peak oil is very good. Here’s part 1 of 5: And here’s part 2 of 5:

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T. Boone Pickens: Peak Oil is Here and Our Middle East Oil Dependency Needs to End

Texas oil man—and now octogenarian wind power activist—T. Boone Pickens, in an interview with Amanda Little posted at Mother Earth News, says that the world has already reached peak oil and that the U.S. better end its Middle East energy dependency pronto:   Pickens doesn’t believe that … Continue reading

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A Fanciful Map of “Bohemia” (1896)

Amusing: The philosopher Thomas Nagel: Most people take life as they find it, and try to make something of the possibilities that are offered by their personal and social circumstances, avoiding catastrophe or failure, pursuing happiness, and working to realize … Continue reading

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Fight or Flight? Two Ways to Read Matthew Arnold’s Poem, “Requiescat” (1849)

If you’re a temperamentally anxious and emotionally tumultuous person, as I have been all of my life, the Matthew Arnold poem below might give you a bit of life perspective. But it also depends on how you read it. One of … Continue reading

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Understanding the Tea-Partiers Underlying Psychological Motivation

I think it’s the Exodus-Joshua narrative—perhaps the most persistent narrative in the American psyche. As a liberal, I think it’s something very potent, and needs to be respected and worked with somehow. Over the past year, conservatives, by being dropped from the Bush-Cheney … Continue reading

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Let My People Go? Why Barack Obama and Liberals (Like Me) Would Do Well to Read Exodus Before the Next Election

If you’re a liberal like me you probably scratched your head after the Massachusetts Senate election this week and asked yourself: How did Democrats lose so dramatically in the most liberal state in the country? And what does it mean … Continue reading

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Three Examples of 21st Century Anti-Semitism

The former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir, at an Islamic conference in 2003: And Richard Williamson, a Catholic bishop: And the Drudge Report, using an anti-Semitic trope—the large and overshadowing Jew—in reporting on the Pope’s visit to Israel (May 12, 2009): … Continue reading

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Conspiracy Theory Taken to a New Level: The Haiti Earthquake is Now the U.S. Navy’s Fault

This today at Reason: Both Venezuelan state-owned radio and television properties zeroed in on a secret U.S. “weapon of earthquakes” as the cause of the earthquake that struck Haiti last week causing a death toll [that] could exceed 200,000 according … Continue reading

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Camille Paglia has a Book on the Visual Arts in the Works

And according to what Camille Paglia says at Salon today, she should be done with it by the Fall of 2010: I have gone on hiatus from Salon to focus on my current project for Pantheon Books — a study of the … Continue reading

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Some Lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

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When Did the Hebrew Bible Start Taking Shape?

Perhaps at the time of King David (tenth century BCE). In other words, earlier than most contemporary Bible scholars have previously assumed. Below is a quote from a report on a tenth century BCE pottery shard recently discovered with Hebrew words on … Continue reading

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Don’t Panic: Advice to Democrats from Jonathan Chait

This today at the New Republic: Remember the classic scene in It’s a Wonderful Life? Facing a run on his building and loan, George Bailey tries to explain to his frantic customers how to look after their self-interest. “Don’t you … Continue reading

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Matthew Arnold on the Bible as Literature

How did Matthew Arnold, in the light of the nineteenth century discoveries in science and the Higher Criticism, read the Bible? Answer: As literature and poetry. This from the excellent 1967 The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Volume 1, 168): [I]n Literature and Dogma (London, … Continue reading

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I Like This British Ad

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What Happens to Christian High School Students after High School?

Apparently, a disproportionate number of them stop attending church. A curious statistic at Uncommon Descent: 75% of Christian youth leave the church after high school. I assume that the churches get at least some of these young people back after … Continue reading

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Adam Kirsch Reviews Zeev Sternhell’s New Book on the Enlightenment v. Romanticism

Are you an Enlightenment universalist, a brooding Romantic, or a Rorty-like Pragmatist trying to split the difference? Regardless of your answer, a new book has just come out with a very definite point of view on the question (the author … Continue reading

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Martin Luther King

“Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality …” – Martin Luther King

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