It is often said by the gainsayers of conservative nostalgia, with great snark, that America ‘has no culture’ or ‘never had a culture.’ But if ‘culture’ as a phenomenon refers more or less to the aesthetic backdrop of a society, it would be an offense against language to make such a claim. ‘Culture’ here is merely a descriptive term, the locus of all things superficial and observable: like the philosophical concept of ‘the world,’ it exists by logical necessity. Thus even Anglo-Canada has a culture, which as anyone can see, is markedly different from the Québécois culture. And what is the origin of the phenomenal differences between these Canadian populations if not the essential genetic differences between English people and French people?
A romantic strain is present in the right, and the right-wing critiques of capitalism are more incisive than anything heretofore pronounced from the other side of the tennis court, but people need something to fight for, not just against.
When was the last time you rewatched the original Iron Man? What about the first Avenger’s film? Did you even bother buying a second ticket to Marvel’s first major movie starring a superhero of color, 2008’s groundbreaking The Incredible Hulk? Let’s be honest, unless you’re a child and easily distracted by bright colors and loud noises, the answer is probably ‘no’.
President Trump’s first term has been a divisive time for the right. The Never Trump Conservatives have continued to complain about his character flaws, even as their media channels either die (e.g. The Weekly Standard), wane in influence (e.g. National Review), or are co-opted by pro-Trump personalities (Tucker is the leading voice on Fox News’ evening lineup). Trump’s use of America-first and economic nationalist rhetoric to attract blue collar voters in the Midwest was hailed by many as a novel strategy for the Right, but it was not without precedent.
To become fully aware of death, to the point of one’s onto-existential comportment being affected by it, to live within a mode of continual reinvention and authenticity, is revealed at the deepest of levels in art dealing with the subject of death itself; Hirst’s work is a long Zen-like meditation that jars one into the ultimate reality of death.
What is the purpose of the underclass? Why do they exist? More than that—why are they allowed to exist? We are told by philosophers that there are virtues to being poor, and Our Lord touts their virtues. But do the poor exist for nothing more than this—to give the affluent a reason for moral reflection? To serve the point of parables as a kind of foil to Dives?
Imagine a bunch of kids who grew up in ‘echo chambers,’ having been inculcated with the ideas, the many horrors, that some of us learned begrudgingly, and with some trauma, as adults. What will their politics look like? Out there somewhere is a teenager, a boy of great potential, who will read Harassment Architecture—what kind of books will he write? What if he becomes General?
Writing the first text message was the hardest part. The rest was easy. I unleashed all of my venom at her and blamed her for every little failure in my life. I called her a bunch of names, some that began with a W and some that began with an S. I texted and even called once. She did not pick up and I did not leave a message.
The silence of the Ostland sent a shiver of warning down the Baron’s spine. Nobody came to greet the Baron after he used the ropes to climb aboard. He called out in Russian and English. He received no answer. With his sword raised, the Baron began searching the Ostland for signs of life. He found none.
The Sisyphean nature of the ocean is strange to me. The coast haunts me. I miss the wide open plains of the Midwest. I miss the changing of the colors and the biting wind of winter. Here, in this tropical southern clime, nothing changes, not really. I see a dead fish wash up upon the beach, or what’s left of him: a gaping head, a spine, a bit of entrails tangled in the seaweed. He is rolled about in the waves and tangled in matter beyond his will. The whole place stinks of putrefaction. Florida is full of rotting fish and rotting people. The holiday atmosphere is merely garish lead paint; the mold penetrates everything.
I sit on the redwood bench that was installed during the first FDR administration, according to the little brass plaque, eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich and watching the wannabe Masters of the Universe shamble across the ancient bricks. I read Bonfire of the Vanities a few weeks ago and, man, this place is full characters that I think I could find a part for them, somewhere in there.
Since I quit my job, I’ve been doing a lot more reading, sunbathing, and working out. Having a full-time construction job for the past eight months totally reinstated the value of free time. Corny or not, I try to make the most out of every day. Chipping away at the next book, making music, talking with all the people who reach out to me online.