John Griswold

John Griswold is a staff writer at The Common Reader. His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (2014, University of Georgia Press). His forthcoming book about veterans at Standing Rock will be published in 2019. He is the founding Series Editor of Crux, a literary nonfiction book series at University of Georgia Press.

Posts by John Griswold

Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was in selected theaters Wednesday night. I got my elder son to join me by telling him the Fathom event was a one-night showing. Actually, the film will be available on a streaming service soon, and I was a little embarrassed when it turned out to be a two-hour-and-12-minute […]

Bridge Safety Is Expensive

The American Society of Civil Engineers has said it will cost $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix U.S. infrastructure. We have 614,000 bridges alone, a third of them more than half a century old, and 56,000 structurally deficient, says the Federal Highway Administration. One of these, which is vital to coastal traffic but makes locals […]

Notes from the Lower-River Desk

Having spent some months driving the Mississippi Valley from St. Louis to Gulf—what used to be called “the lower river” by people other than the Army Corps—I am reminded of what there is to be gained by going over the same piece of land again and again. As kids, my friends and I came to […]

The Impossible Whopper

Jules:           What is a miracle, Vincent? Vincent:      An act of God. Jules:          And what’s an act of God? Vincent:     When, um … God makes the impossible possible. But this morning I don’t think qualifies.       I tried Burger King’s “Impossible Whopper” today, which is being test-marketed in 59 BK stores in the St. […]

Who Lived in Grant’s Home?

You remember Groucho’s old joke that he tossed like a softball to contestants on You Bet Your Life: Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? Marx accepted “Grant,” so they could win, but the answer was “no one,” since Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia, are entombed in sarcophagi and not buried in the earth. There […]

Pine Ridge Native Speaks on the Flooding Disaster

    The Pine Ridge Reservation, in southwest South Dakota, is having historic flooding. A dozen districts/towns are spread out over 3,500 square miles, making disaster relief more difficult for the Oglala Lakota government. Many residents live miles from main roads, do not have internet access, and heat their homes with wood. The Reservation’s water […]

Terrible Freedom

How many W2s and 1099s did you get this year? It might be a measure of how contemporary you are. A friend told me he got seven W2s, and four 1099s, this tax season. I thought he must be mistaken. But when he reeled them off—one company, then another, then his own business; artistic work; […]

How to Make Friends and Out-Instagram Your Enemies

Jealous of others having more Instagram followers than you? Want to be seen as an influencer? Paid services, such as SocialBuddy (“We drive real, targeted people to your Instagram page. Real growth, real audience who are interested in your content”) and SocialSteeze (“Our service helps you grow your Instagram account, with powerful Instagram growth, get […]

Youth Climate Strike in St. Louis

About 150 people gathered today, on the mall between the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse, for the local Youth Climate Strike. It was sunny but cold, and some of the activists worried about attendance. Thousands were gathering in other states, in Washington, DC, and in capitals abroad. Haven Coleman, co-founder and co-director of the […]