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Nation Topics - Books and the Arts

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Thanks to the genius of millions, who over the generations have created our language, we may speak of the most uncanny experience in terms that suit the most common.

Tom Waits is an imaginary hobo. He cruises the oddball corners of American pop culture, collecting the deft and moving and loopy short takes he sees and imagines there.

Jay Lovestone is not only one of the oddest characters in the history of the American left but easily its most slippery.

I still kick myself for not having saved the short story I wrote for composition class in seventh grade in which I described how the Russians took over my small suburban community.

I coined the term "global brunch" several years ago after seeing a film of the Stravinsky-Cocteau Oedipus Rex as staged by Julie Taymor.

As I'm driven to the home of Ivan Klima, one of the Czech Republic's most internationally respected writers, the hand of fate slips in beside me in the taxi.

Hark! The squeal of the two-headed amphibian. Mating season must have begun.

From the Satanic Versifier, more love and more death, with a song in his heart.

After we admit that all historical circumstances are specific and all sufferings absolute--that Serbian "police" are not Nazis and ethnic Albanians not Jews (and NATO forces cannot be compared p

Recent French philosophy has been most passionately loved and hated for its militant radicalism.

Blogs

Eric on "The Beatles in Mono" and Reed on how the emphasis on optics skews our democratic priorities.

September 11, 2014

"Outside, the ground separates, / breaking open like sores..."

September 3, 2014

An incomplete list of ten of the best songs ever written about school.

September 3, 2014

A solo Koons exhibition, Danto wrote in 1989, was “a vision of an aesthetic hell.”

September 2, 2014

In honor of Labor Day, here’s a stab at the impossible task of naming the best songs ever written about working people.

August 29, 2014

In his new book, John Dean finally offers definitive answers to the questions “What did he know, and when did he know it?”
 

August 14, 2014

The quagmire of the Vietnam War was built on a “queasy foundation of fact and myth.”

July 31, 2014

"About nothing does the mob forget so quickly as about war."

July 28, 2014

Eric on this week's concerts and Reed on the media’s coverage of climate change. 

July 21, 2014

Reflections on the meaning of the French Revolution in the shadow of Adolf Hitler.

July 14, 2014