Archive | Country Matters

Summer of Jane

Jane I hereby declare this the Summer of Jane Austen. Usually I have mermaid summers but, what with the devolution of public discourse and general etiquette, with the sloppy slide of modern courtship (if it can even be called that nowadays), and with the general erosion of civility, we’re all sorely in need of Jane’s nuance, wit, grace, and rigorous ethics. To that end, I’m revisiting all her books this summer and invite you to join me. As well, I’m only going to play literary I Ching (randomly open book, randomly pluck down finger and read) with her books. To wit: “She had loved, she did love still, and she had all the suffering which a warm temper and high spirit were likely to endure under the disappointment of a dear, though irrational, hope, with a strong sense of ill-usage.”–Mansfield Park. Temperance, not tempus, fugit!

We Are All Cousins

Edmund Pettus bridge, 1965I woke up thinking about how the Left is also to blame for the rise of Trump. By practicing divisiveness, by condescending to huge swaths of the population, by assuming that values not shared (like Christianity) are values born of ignorance, we’ve abandoned the poorer people of this country–what sixties people used to call “the masses” with a straight face. Continue Reading →

The Scourge of the Ball: ‘The Lobster’ and ‘All the Single Ladies’

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.40.44 PM“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos’s first English-language feature, is a typically absurdist effort for the Greek director. About an alternative world in which single people are transformed into animals, it stars Colin Farrell in his hangdog (not feral) mode as David, a recently dumped schlub who has forty-five days to find a mate before being subjected to a zoological transformation. Bleary, bespectacled, and brandishing the leash of the German Shepherd formerly known as his brother, his prospects seem slim even among these sad-sack singletons named for their most prominent deficiency. There’s “Lisping Man” (John C. Reilly), “Limping Man” (Ben Whishaw), and “Heartless Woman” (Angeliki Papoulia), who proves such an unfortunate match for David that he joins the Loners roving the woods in hunted, celibate packs. But he finds their world equally rigid. When he’s drawn to fellow near-sighted loner Rachel Weisz (in this film, attraction is borne of compatible deficits, which isn’t that far from the truth), the two run into dangerous consequences given the Loner Leader’s violent opposition to sex and romance. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy