Features

Minding Nemo

Our alienation from fishes stems from the fact that they have existed, both literally and figuratively, beneath the surface of our awareness. Gaze over a lake, a river, or an ocean, and while there may be legions of fishes carrying on with their lives within inches of the surface, we witness nothing of it.

An Album While You Wait

Throughout her career thus far (it is hard to remember that she is just 33 years old), Esperanza Spalding has proven that hers is a unique voice in the music industry, easily crossing genre boundaries, yet continuously lauded by jazz musicians and audiences.

Glamorizing the Nightmare Trade

Netflix’s megapopular Narcos series romanticizes Pablo Escobar’s Colombian cartel by effectively distancing the international drug trade in time and place. Bu like the narcoticizing effect of the drug Escobar traded in, gripping television should not lure us from the drug problems of our here and now.

Colin Kaepernick, Kneeling, and the Meaning of Gratitude

In some ways, the current wave of African-American football players kneeling during the national anthem replicates the Bebop revolution that changed the public persona of the black male jazz musician. Now it is black players demanding that audiences recognize that their attitude is not the same as their white peers.

Fugitives From Sheol

In every decade since the Sheol, the films that resulted reveal wider, prevailing attitudes toward Jewishness, history, memory, and psychological trauma.

Bernard Malamud’s The Natural

In his early work Bernard Malamud used Yiddish constructions and words reminiscent of the Jewish folk tradition of Eastern Europe. But with his first novel, The Natural, he embraced a Midwestern hero, the American pastoral, and a pastime he loved: baseball.