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Clark Stooksbury writes from Knoxville, Tennessee.
If you can remember the 1960’s, the old line goes, you weren’t really there. “There,” of course, means the counterculture represented by Woodstock, hallucinogenic drugs, antiwar protests, and Haight-Ashbury.
The catastrophic burst of the housing bubble in the fall of 2008 shook the foundations of the world economy and instilled a fear of a new depression. Morris Dickstein notes with irony that he completed his cultural history of the Great Depression just as the country was entering a steep recession with parallels to the 1930’s.
Empire is a scattershot look at a variety of topics ranging from the porn industry to elite education. Chris Hedges believes that Americans have forsaken reality for a world of lies and empty entertainment.
Barack Obama has risen to the highest office in the land on a thin résumé—a pair of Ivy League degrees, some time spent as a “community organizer,” and short periods in the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Senate. And then there are the books.
“Trust no one.” The landmark TV series The X-Files used that catchphrase in depicting a world riven with conspiracies that reach to the highest levels of the U.S. government. Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, the fictional FBI agents who attempted to unravel these grand conspiracies, make the occasional appearance in Kathryn Olmsted’s Real Enemies.
After the end of the Cold War, reasonable people might have expected the United States to withdraw from her many foreign commitments and become a normal country again. Yet the opposite has happened.
Many news stories from the first half of 2008 read like a page out of the Book of Revelation.
World War II cast an enormous cultural shadow over American life. It provided a backdrop for novels, television shows, and—especially—movies.
The first thing one notices about Print Is Dead is that it is, in fact, a stack of bound pieces of paper with words printed on them. The author, Jeff Gomez, notes the irony of this in his Introduction.
By now, it should be clear to all but the most loyal Republicans that the government of the United States is controlled by madmen. In the beginning, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney seemed comparatively normal; their first few months in office were a relief after the farcical second term of Bill Clinton.
There is no question that the concept of manhood is a shell of what it once was. In popular culture, men are depicted as being slightly dim-witted, obsessed with video games, sports, and fast food.
The political culture of the United States is cramped and stunted by the narrow range of acceptable viewpoints and the utterly banal, subliterate tone of our political campaigns—to compare American elections to the marketing of soap is an insult to the people who sell soap.
I admit to being a biased reviewer. Donkey Cons is a book about the Democratic Party, and I will say up front that I don’t much care for the Democrats.
Rod Dreher’s book labors under a few handicaps. First, there is the cloying title and absurdly long subtitle. In addition, the cover features a cutesy picture of a VW microbus with a GOP elephant painted above the grille.
There is no question that the media landscape has shifted seismically in the last two decades.
Robert Byrd is the ultimate political survivor. He has served in Congress for more than 50 years and has cast more votes than any other senator in American history.
Politics, said Henry Adams, “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” In recent months, best-seller lists have helped to prove Adams’ point, by featuring many vituperative political tracts from the left and right.
It is difficult sometimes to remember the days before September 11, 2001, when George W. Bush was a decidedly ordinary President whose anemic victory the previous fall had required a month’s worth of recounts and court decisions to confirm.
Beirut's occupation in 1983 by U.S. Marines may provide a small-scale sample of what a prolonged U.S. occupation of Iraq could be like, should the Pollyannaish postwar scenarios of some members of the War Party fail to materialize.
“There is something about a man in uniform,” the old adage goes. Few have been as affected by their time in uniform as Paul Fussell, who served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1947, during which period (he tells us in his memoir) he was “ill-treated by members of the German Wehrmacht.”
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