God Bless Norman Mailer

I’ve been a champion of Mailer’s political commentary since first reading Armies of the Night and gasping at his prescient analysis of the Cold War. Sure, he can be as subtle as a sledgehammer, but the combined weight of his experience, intelligence, and confidence strike me with a welcomed force.

American Triumphalism

I so want Bush to be the Christian President that many of my friends claim him to be, but then I read articles like this, in which he makes such ridiculous comments.

Strange Bedfellows

In Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer calls himself a member of the “Conservative Left,” which makes more and more sense to me as I spend more and more time arguing with friends about this unnecessary, but apparently inevitable, war.


I had planned to post a rambling personal narrative today, describing in minute detail my particular experiences in Saturday’s anti-war demonstrations. But when I sat down to it, the idea seemed a bit too self-indulgent, even by blog standards.

Duck and Cover

I’ve heard the soundbite hundreds of times over the years, memorizing subconsciously its particular pauses and inflections. Not until the weeks following September 11, though, did FDR’s most memorable message resonate in any meaningful ways for me.

Let America Be America Again

So, it turns out that Laura Bush just cancelled a planned poetry celebration after learning that one of the invited speakers had encouraged his colleagues to use the event as an opportunity to publicly denounce war on Iraq.

The State of the Union

A few words on Bush’s speech.

Nixon on Art

A transcript of Nixon discussing foreign films and modern art.

High-Stakes Testing

And by “preparing,” of course, I mean giving practice tests and working systematically (and in mind-numbing detail) through past reading samples — or, in a nutshell, equipping my students not with knowledge or repeatable skills but with the tricks of test-taking.

Hauerwas, Bush, and Alexander

After listening to me ramble incessantly, a professor recently pointed me toward Stanley Hauerwas. I now see why.

Here in the States

A friend from Canada wrote, asking what friends and neighbors in the States are feeling and saying to each other. This is how I responded.

Flashbacks . . . And Not the Good Kind

“A new day.” Hurrah. And I get this piece of crap in my mail on the same day that Paul Wellstone is killed in a plane crash.

In Their Own Words

Snippets from church statements in opposition to the war in Iraq.

Sick Day

An early update today because I’m at home, trying to kill a cold before it gets out of control. I hate being sick. Although I can’t really knock an opportunity to sleep late, drink coffee, and watch The Dixie Chicks: Behind the Music for the fifth time.

All We Are Sayin’

Liza Featherstone’s article, “Peace Gets a Chance,” provides a helpful overview of the various coalitions being formed to protest America’s regrettable foreign policy decisions of late.

Miscellaneous Debris

Four random but interesting links.

Kennan and Containment

I had no idea that George Kennan was still alive. The man who literally wrote America’s containment policy, the policy that has directed our foreign policy for nearly sixty years now, is 98 and living in Georgetown.

No Democracy for You!

“I certainly do not deserve an entry visa any more than the aging mother hoping to visit her children in the U.S. perhaps for the last time in her life … For my part, I feel this decision is somehow what I deserve.”

Planning for War (and Whatnot)

Herr’s porn analogy seems even more appropriate today, when technology allows us to watch a precision guided missile hitting its target from a first-person point of view. It’s Eisensteinian montage at its most perverse.

That Old Bitch, Hipocrisy

I find myself teetering between self-pity and self-righteousness, desperate to stave off the melancholia that lingers nearby. I mean, I’m not going to stop drinking coffee, right?

Calling the Bluff

Things are getting interesting, eh? Looks like Hussein has called Bush’s bluff. This editorial is the best I’ve found. Of course, the folks in Washington and London are already voicing their doubts about Iraq’s motives, which is neither unexpected nor completely unwarranted. I realize that the Bush administration must continue to pressure both the UN […]

Wagging the Dog

In today’s Post, Dana Milbank lets leading figures from both sides decide if the Bush administration is “Wagging the Dog” in Iraq. It’s a good, well-balanced piece, and worth a read, despite being fairly predictable. (Daschle: He’s wagging the dog. Fleischer: No he isn’t.) This is the first article I’ve read that compiles all of […]

Cold War Logic

While they have succeeded (though not without difficulty) in reducing the situation to a gross dichotomy (good America vs. evil totalitarianism), they have suddenly abandoned our six-decade policy of deterrence and containment.


Two weeks ago I read a wonderful novella by Joan Didion called, Democracy (1984). Near the end, we learn that one of the main characters is an Ollie North-like agent, a guy who embraces the profit potential and moral ambiguity of international affairs.

A Blessing and a Symbol

Why am I surprised? The Sunday edition of my local paper leads with two “local interest” stories: one on a couple from Chattanooga who were married hours before driving to Knoxville for UT’s opening game; the other an embarrassing interview with a couple whose first child was born on the morning of September 11. If […]

Nine Questions

What with Dubya and Tony Blair now promising startling revelations in the coming weeks (what exactly does a dossier look like?), I’d like to join those who are encouraging the President to answer the following questions.