Review: Louis Menand’s “The Free World”

In many ways, the book also reads as a eulogy to a liberal, liberalizing, and internationalist America.”

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The Two-faces of Classical Music: Criticism Good, Bad, and Ugly

(Wikipedia Commons)

Why, after all, should it be ‘pro-test,’ and not ‘de-test’? Protest once meant to give testimony in pro of something good, over and against something corrupt.”

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Sir Roger Scruton’s Wagner

(Ken Howard/Met Opera)

“Scruton loved Wagner. The two were a match made in heaven, or hell, depending on your perspective and appreciation of irony.”

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Poem: “Amor Fati”

“Which is worse—/A hard death/Or a hard birth—”

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What “Star Wars” Taught Me about War, Liberty, and Human Nature

For a young immigrant boy who knew nothing about politics or history, Star Wars had a universal appeal that transcended language, nationality, time, and other superficial social barriers.”

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Open Carry in the Time of the Pandemic

“Channeling Uncle Bill, who died over a decade ago, I invite his ghost to weigh in. But rather than answering, he walks me downstairs in his old Brooklyn house, where we stand together in his paneled den—the perfect skin we’d heard about, now on the floor.”

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Virgil’s War and Peace

“The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas” by Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland (1735–1811)

“Two millennia later, we are still warring over the meaning of Virgil’s Aeneid.”

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Poem: “Epicycle(s)”

“Wilderness of whys./Labyrinth of I’s./Foreground, background./Busy, busy eyes.”

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Odysseus: the First Western Man

J. M. W. Turner’s “Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus”

“Odysseus is the first recognizably Western man.”

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In Every Time and Every Place: the Political Nuance of “Legend of Galactic Heroes”

“This is not a clear-cut struggle between good and evil, especially when enemies could come from within as well as without. Rather…it is a war between one good and another.”

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Buried Treasure

“Dad never searched for buried treasure again. He instead bought lottery tickets, entered contests online, and invested in a million dinar after Iraq fell…”

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How “Ms .45” and Zoë Lund Paved Abel Ferrara’s Way

Ferrara and Lund (“Ms .45” / 1981)

“In the end, these are movies about redemption and what it means to be redeemed, whatever the struggle in getting there.”

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When We’ve Stopped Reading

(Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

By sheer accident, one man in this stupefied future learns how to read.”

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Review: Michael Shnayerson’s “Bugsy Siegel”

Jewish Lives

“It is a short and gripping panorama of life in 1920s-1940s America, that defining epoch of struggle and stardom, hardship and grandeur, fortune and bankruptcy—and Bugsy Siegel experienced it all.”

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Poem: “Third Wave”

(Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

“The statistics were/like our scores—and we wanted/to lead the boards…”

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