Some Things a Former Soldier of the Third Reich Told Me

This is yet another post touched off by a post by¬†Eric Schliesser on the NewApps philosophy blog … He discusses a two-part article in the New York Review of books by Mark Lilla about several films and books on the Holocaust, and considers Lilla’s contention that “Every advance in research that adds a new complicationContinue reading “Some Things a Former Soldier of the Third Reich Told Me”

Is the Tea Party Irrational?

A philosophy professor acquaintance of mine recently wrote an interesting blog post defending the Tea Party’s rationality, and then Salon.com came out with an article, Tea Party Radicalism is Misunderstood, echoing some of those points and differing on others. I appreciated the attempts at de-simplifying people’s views of the Tea Party’s tactics, and I haveContinue reading “Is the Tea Party Irrational?”

A Surefire Recipe for Unassailable Faith, Involving Four Judgments and a Vegetable Analogy

I have a new essay out, published in the latest issue of a literary magazine called Hotel Amerika, which is run by Columbia College in Chicago. The essay is called “A Surefire Recipe for Unassailable Faith, Involving Four Judgments and a Vegetable Analogy.” In it, I give my own homecooked recipe for getting faith andContinue reading “A Surefire Recipe for Unassailable Faith, Involving Four Judgments and a Vegetable Analogy”

Novels In Which Nothing Happens

I’ve been thinking about novel plots lately and what makes the difference between good ones, bad ones, and nonexistent ones. Of the critiques I’ve received on my last novel from various people who’ve read it, the most troubling one for me is that “almost nothing happens.” Of course, in writing it, it seemed to meContinue reading “Novels In Which Nothing Happens”

Songs of Humanism and Experience

(With apologies to William Blake, this is a post I’m writing specifically to submit to this Humanist Symposium thingie for bloggers I just learned about—the next one will be hosted April 4th by Letters from a Broad, a blog whose author is also a novelist.) Given the phase of music enthusiasm I’ve been going throughContinue reading “Songs of Humanism and Experience”

Steroids and Stigmata

This week, retired baseball player Mark McGwire finally confessed to steroid use, and it got me thinking about the relationship between social stigmas and lying. Although I normally have no interest in or awareness of anything baseball-related, I feel a personal connection to this story, because I happened to be there in the same roomContinue reading “Steroids and Stigmata”