On Ben Rhodes and the Dangerous Fecklessness of Modern Democrats

"During my decade as a speechwriter for Barack Obama, he used to say that our entire job was to tell a really good story about America." - Ben Rhodes, Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting for Barack Obama What is America and who gets to define it? Ben Rhodes' recent piece…Read more On Ben Rhodes and the Dangerous Fecklessness of Modern Democrats

Burnham’s Long Defeat: On “All Eyes on Me,” Tolkien and the Prospect of Eucastrophe

"Together through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”- Lady Galadriel to Frodo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Late in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Lady Galadriel speaks to the novel’s protagonist, Frodo Baggins, about how she has fought the “long defeat” for literal…Read more Burnham’s Long Defeat: On “All Eyes on Me,” Tolkien and the Prospect of Eucastrophe

On Freaky and the Horrifying Connection Between Meat and Mind

Freaky, the enormously entertaining 2020 body-switch horror-comedy, is a movie that straddles several different genres. Yet more than anything it’s a coming-of-age story. While hardly a novel subject, the film also stages a discourse on bodies, on human meat, which allows for a resonant and interesting take on its tried-and-true story. Freaky proposes that bodies are central…Read more On Freaky and the Horrifying Connection Between Meat and Mind

“Colossal We Come These Renegades in the Ring”: On the Triumph of Male Fragility in The Greatest Showman and Eurovision Song Contest

We can all agree that the last few years in Donald Trump's America have felt like an eternity - filled with a dizzying array of national outrages and humiliations. But if there has been one theme that has consistently defined this period it is raw male fragility, particularly white male fragility. Being a part of…Read more “Colossal We Come These Renegades in the Ring”: On the Triumph of Male Fragility in The Greatest Showman and Eurovision Song Contest

On Mudbound, Darkest Hour and the Problem with the “Great Man Theory”

I love reading popular history. What all this reading has done, aside from reminding me that my feeble mind and body would never have survived in any other era, is solidify that consuming history matters. And that’s not because I prescribe to the tired notion that if people simply remember history they will no longer…Read more On Mudbound, Darkest Hour and the Problem with the “Great Man Theory”

“You’re the Only Home I Ever Had” – On Munich and the Meaning of Home in an Unpredictable World

In 2005, Steven Spielberg released two films that were very different, at least on the surface. One was War of the Worlds. It starred Tom Cruise doing a lot, and I mean A LOT, of running. The other was Munich, which profiled Israel’s violent response to the massacre of Israeli athletes by the Palestine Liberation…Read more “You’re the Only Home I Ever Had” – On Munich and the Meaning of Home in an Unpredictable World

Mr. Holmes: On the Cathartic and Corrupting Nature of Storytelling

What do you think of when you hear the name Sherlock Holmes? Is it the deerstalker cap? The curved pipe? Or is it a shit-eating Robert Downey Jr., performing martial arts like some sort of superheroic jackass? An image that probably isn't evoked is the handsome albeit wizened mug of Sir Ian McKellen, who plays…Read more Mr. Holmes: On the Cathartic and Corrupting Nature of Storytelling

“That’s Not for You to Decide” – On Choice, Identity and Self-forgiveness in Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Marvel's Jessica Jones has been correctly if exhaustively interpreted as a critique of abusive relationships and rape culture. It also lends itself to more general readings. The clash between David Tennant's Kilgrave and Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones highlights the importance human beings attach to the idea of functional agency. Many of the show's characters seem…Read more “That’s Not for You to Decide” – On Choice, Identity and Self-forgiveness in Marvel’s Jessica Jones

On Creed, Sylvester Stallone and Why Now is the Time to Make “Poe”

This Thanksgiving, Sylvester Stallone returned in Ryan Cooger's Creed to play the iconic palooka Rocky Balboa for the seventh time. Standing easily as one of the greatest performances of his career (it's hard to top the original Rocky), the film beautifully bookends the man's work up to this point. Even better, it opens up new,…Read more On Creed, Sylvester Stallone and Why Now is the Time to Make “Poe”

The Straight Story: On the Passage of Time and David Lynch’s Cautious, Small-scale Optimism

"It was a really hopeful time, and things were going up instead of going down. You got the feeling that you could do anything. The future was bright. Little did we know we were laying the groundwork then for a disastrous future. All the problems were there, but it was somehow glossed over.  And then…Read more The Straight Story: On the Passage of Time and David Lynch’s Cautious, Small-scale Optimism