Rape Is Just One Horror During The Collapse Of Civilization In Westeros


This week’s episode of the HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s novels has produced a big fan controversy over Jaime Lanister’s rape of Cersei. What are the directors trying to do with this scene, which is not in the books? What does this mean for the two characters involved? Plenty of electrons are still […]

When The Levee Breaks


“Disasters,” Jonathan Chait writes, “are inherently political, because government is political, and preventing and responding to disasters is a primary role of the state.” Rachel Maddow echoed Chait for the last few nights while discussing “the new normal” of a changing climate, the sorry state of American infrastructure, and Mitt Romney’s views on federal disaster […]

Cheating Isn’t Cheating When the British Do It


The British love to paint the Americans as sore losers and whingers, but BBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics proves that their sports coverage is just as puerile, dire and unprofessional as any political cable news broadcast in the United States. In fact, some of the BBC’s commentators give Alex Wagner gravitas. Early last […]

Land and People

The tenth episode of The Age of Uncertainty, John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1977 BBC TV show about the history of economic thought, is an examination of poverty and inequality. Pay special attention to his observations about Mexico, where population growth has now declined to First World levels, and the American South, where a populist mythology has covered […]

The Big Corporation

The ninth episode of The Age of Uncertainty, John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1977 BBC TV show about the history of economic thought, is still startling — despite the (mostly bad) changes that have come to American corporate culture since then.

Judging Dredd

While taking a vacation recently, I managed to let the new Judge Dredd trailer slip by unnoted. You can see now why I waited for the broad vista of the mega-city to appear before making any judgments from those early stills. The trailer above contains many encouraging signs that Hollywood has not been allowed to […]

Confederacy of Dunces


Approached by sea, Fort Sumter is an unimpressive structure. Nearby Isle of Palms has larger houses. When Major Anderson withdrew his undermanned United States Army garrison to this structure in 1861, they found it alarmingly substandard and spent the next several weeks improving it. Their work was rushed at first, until they realized that South […]

Arizona Drinks Fluoride-Free Kool-Aid


A radical fringe conspiracy theory has become Arizona state law: “Agenda 21″ is the new FEMA death camps. Tinfoil hat, Glenn Beck-addled Republicans are in charge of an American state legislature; before they’re done, Jan Brewer may have signed legislation against George Soros and black helicopters. Let me stress that Agenda 21 is absolutely a […]