I saw the 70mm film version of “Dunkirk” last night and found much to appreciate about it. The production values are excellent, and it generally seems an unusually realistic depiction of history and combat, with less of the spectacle and fewer of the implausible dramatic storylines that often dominate the genre. The non-linear storytelling adds […]

{ 1 comment }

When we think about global trends, we tend to focus on their importance and how rapidly things are changing. China’s economic rise, along with massive economic development and urbanization around the world, all have unambiguous importance, though we will endlessly disagree about how they will interact and few of us will live long enough to […]

{ 1 comment }

An interesting genre! And you can own a gorgeous-looking replica for $100.

{ 1 comment }

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. These seemingly grim lines may be the most optimistic in modern literature: life feeds into life, change is constant, and the spring’s rain helps complete the cycle.


This slam poem has been acutely and importantly confrontational for ten years or more, and it’s worth re-considering in light of Friday’s inauguration in Washington D.C.: “Homeland” by Marty McConnell

{ 1 comment }

Staying at Oxford after my degree and often revisiting it in the late 1950s, I occasionally glimpsed W.H. Auden around town… He invited me to visit, and I would sometimes go to his apartment on St. Mark’s Place for tea. This was a very good time to see him, because by four o’clock he had […]

{ 1 comment }

I think perhaps I need to undertake a befriending exercise with drivers. My universal doctrine is not to hate anybody, but I do hate people who drive cars, pickup trucks, military vehicles rebranded as family transport, motorcycles, and taxis (I would prefer an all-taxi world to one where people have private cars, but taxi drivers […]


{ 1 comment }

It’s strange that a stage show running in one city is affecting the whole continent, but New York isn’t a normal place and Lin-Manuel Miranda clearly isn’t a normal man. The killing in Orlando originally prompted my personal doctrine in response to political violence: refuse to be terrorized. One or a few people armed and […]


Jenny Ritter’s “A History of Happiness” is one of my all-time-favourite folk songs.