Thirteen of the journal’s best essays, “Dispatch” blog posts, and reviews as chosen by staff, internet analytic “pageviews,” and defiant relevance.
It was Christmas and Bobby was a good boy and we worked hard for our money. All of that must mean something. What is the point of a God and His Son if this hardship does not mean anything, you know, the hardship of this life, the grinding of it cannot be pointless, can it?
When did food move from sustenance, holiday ritual, and occasional treats to a consuming avocation with its own vocabulary, gear, techniques, and media? There are more devotees than most religions can attract, and their rituals are charged with significance.
Never pin your financial hopes on a legume. Ham and beans is really about making use of what one already has at hand, driving one’s own good luck by not wasting opportunities, such as a few handfuls of hard beans and the inedible shank of a pig left over from Christmas dinner.
Connery had achieved his fame as the definitive film version of a pulp adventure hero in a film series that became not simply successful but mythical and went out of his profession portraying a decent version of another pulp adventure hero in a vastly inferior film. His presence is the only reason the film will not ever be completely forgotten. It happens that way with actors. It happens that way with their fans too.
Spalding Gray’s images of immersion, of sharks in a swimming pool, of drowning fears, of being a child rocked to sleep by the sea, of being a “pumpkin-headed perceiver” among waves hiding the shore, seem all too meaningful now.
Harry Weber specializes in sports and historical figures, and there is a good chance you have seen his work at a stadium or public site. His 150 installations include Bobby Orr, Bill Bradley, Payne Stewart, Lou Brock, Chuck Berry, Daniel Boone, Dred and Harriet Scott, Lewis and Clark, and St. Francis of Assisi.
These essays are not necessarily despairing, although they would have every right to be; rather, they are, in some ways, expressions of hope as much as they are affirmations of how the struggle of Black humanity has so deeply enriched and empowered much that is good and worthy, profoundly moral and artistically innovative about American life.
I am also hoping the long hot summer of 2020 will foster a new understanding of the fact that crime is systemic, it is not simply individual, and that deep systemic solutions are required to handle all social problems.