Topic: Art and Culture

Wandering Oaken Should Be Your Favorite Frozen Character

– December 25, 2019

The recent release of Disney’s Frozen II brings up a lot of very good memories from the last several years. My daughter is nine, which means I know pretty much every line to every song in Disney’s runaway mega-hit Frozen. A few years ago, she was in he …


If There Was a War on Christmas, It Flopped

– December 24, 2019

You worry about the commercialization of Christmas? Christmas began in commerce – a mysterious and transcendent exchange in which eternity gave to time the greatest gift.


Libertymás, A Holiday for the Rest of Us

– December 8, 2019

In the spirit of Seinfeld’s Festivus, the holiday “for the rest of us,” I proffer Libertymás. It’s Spanglish for “more liberty” rather than short for liberty’s mass, a la Michaelmas. (The key is that little mark above the a.) Every holiday needs its lo …


Is it Proper for Men to Be Creative with Formal Wear?

– December 6, 2019

Only modern capitalistic economies created a glorious opportunity for everyone to dress in the attire reserved for the royalty of old. We democratized formality, and there’s no better time to show precisely how this works than during the holiday season.


The Remarkable Power of “The Irishman”

– December 2, 2019

Hardly a day goes by — certainly no major holiday or sporting event does — where American military personnel aren’t breathlessly thanked for their service. Frank Sheeran — “The Irishman” — is the dark, shattered underbelly of that service.


See Ford v Ferrari to Restore Your Faith in Movies

– November 29, 2019

Just when you think politics is ruining everything in American life, at the very moment when we’ve all just come to assume that every movie out there will have a manipulative message designed to beat back our bourgeois sensibilities and turn them into …


Frozen II: Saved by Blessedly Superficial Viewers

– November 24, 2019

The great news is that, so far as I can tell, viewers aren’t very interested in the climate-crisis-post-colonial-critical-theory-identitarian elements of the story and prefer to think mainly about the cute fire gekko, Elsa’s taming of the icy horse, and Anna’s awesome boots.


The Politicization of Taylor Swift

– November 23, 2019

Taylor Swift’s case isn’t about the power of private equity or the perfect workings of market capitalism. It doesn’t fit into any existing political paradigm. It is a dispute over enforced ownership rights that have been granted to the unownable.


Judy Garland: The Brilliance and Tragedy of Fame

– October 28, 2019

This film reveals both Judy Garland’s genius and her catastrophic life to the whole world in ways that make us frustrated but ultimately grateful for her personal sacrifice for the sake of art, culture, and the well-being of humanity. As her signature song says, it’s the journey that matters more than the destination.

The Joker

The Joker and the Ideology of Destructionism

– October 7, 2019

The Joker is not just one man, not just a crazy person, but the instantiation of the insane and morbid dangers associated with persistent personal failure backed by a conviction that when there is a fundamental conflict between a vision and reality, it can only be solved by the creation of chaos and suffering.


Luce Brings Light to the Age of Anxiety

– September 1, 2019

The film Luce is beautiful, haunting, and profound precisely because it doesn’t take the easy path. It doesn’t disguise the underlying truth that our endless search for saints to canonize and witches to burn is nothing but a cover for our failure to deal with the much less dramatic troubles in our own lives. 


The Obama Film American Factory Backfires

– August 26, 2019

The Obamas may have intended to make a film about workplace culture clashes, but American Factory is at its core damning snapshot of American labor entitlement in an age of increasing globalization.