Ben Fulton

Ben Fulton is managing editor of The Common Reader. Before moving to St. Louis he was editor of Salt Lake City Weekly, Utah’s alternative newsweekly. His work has been published in New York’s Newsday and has garnered national awards, including Best of the West and Top of the Rockies.

Posts by Ben Fulton

Songs About Cities and Urban Life, Part II

Songs and music give tangible form to the invisible by making the invisible audible, and therefore visible in our hearts and minds. Listening to music, we travel through the human soul. Hopefully, the following songs and music give ample space only to some of the best songs of all time.

Marriage, That Magical Contract

Late Marriage is one of the few films concerning marriage bold enough to suggest that our modern insistence on personal fulfillment in romance is the double-edged sword that brings two people together but can also poison them with expectations that tear romance apart. And it is one of the more honest films about marriage in its open, forthright acknowledgment that the institution—and in this film, marriage is most certainly an institution—involves far more than the forces and desires of two people. 

Everyone Talks About Bowie

From David Bowie’s cousin to his childhood friends, his managers, musical collaborators, girlfriends, writers such as novelist Hanif Kureishi, and extraneous celebrities to the last word of the midwife present at Bowie’s birth, A Life leaves almost no stone unturned, no corner empty, and no speculation left unsaid.

Ibsen’s Great Haunting

Ghosts is a drama of many themes. At its core, though, is the idea of “sickness” as the inexorable tide we push for, or against. It is the one drama—dare it be said, the only?—wherein “sickness” becomes the widest possible metaphor not just for disease, but inherited social convention, accepted ideology, and the crucible of family without which we cannot survive, but in which we can also decay and die.

Presidential Debates: Our Union of Words

“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric,” said Irish poet W.B. Yeats, “out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” And it is out of the quarrel of presidential candidates that U.S. voters intuit their way closer toward Election Day.

Cops and American Culture

Why our culture of law enforcement—and tensions between police and communities—is a lot more nuanced and interesting than you might think.

Does Political Judgement Improve With Age?

One measure of the extent to which we believe age influences political beliefs is the extent to which we know Churchill’s famous phrase, “If you’re not a socialist before you’re 25, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after 25, you have no head.” Or, at least, whether we believe we know it.

King David

For a decade in which rock music was reaching its zenith as a profitable business, the 1970s, it is staggering to consider the sheer number of risks Bowie took, without any hint or appearance that he was risking anything at all.

Lost In the Supermarket

In a world where entire stock market indices can be built on castles of sand, where war can break out any moment, or your child’s happiness can turn on a dime into dread despair, stores such as Whole Foods make us small masters of our own destiny.

Food Fights

The short, but dense, Something to Chew On serves up no-nonsense, stimulating fare over a range of food controversies, from GMOs to weight-loss and world hunger. Digest it if you dare.

Ship To It

Rose George drenches the reader in her ocean-wide chronicle of sea-faring commerce, past and present, but her book’s meandering passages warn you in advance to don a lifejacket.