Table of contents


On the curse of individualism

Zelig was an unfortunate boy; bullied by anti-Semites – his parents never took his side. On his deathbed, his father tells him life is desperate, meaningless; the only thing to do is tell it like it is. Maybe Zelig’s life fulfills his father’s command – he has a strange […]

The edge

A note on the possibility that war is the origin

Our story is set on the anniversary of a lonely old man. He seems to have no equals – being incredibly rich & learned. He does not love his learning – it is theoretical, not put to use, he says. He seems to fears […]

Sweet & lowdown

On beauty & ugliness

The nearest thing to a reasonable opinion is voiced by a gangster: No genius is worth too much heartache. Crime is done for the money. One suspects, however, that criminals are moderated by the laws, not by greed alone – they do not want to risk too much & may […]

The curse of the jade scorpion

A conceit, that love comes by hypnosis

Finally, the insurance detective takes his chances & tries to hypnotize the efficiency expert. This is the problem with love, it would seem, it may not be possible to distinguish genuine love from sham love. He cannot figure out whether she really loves him or was just […]

Blue Jasmine

The story of a woman who defied feminism

This is the story of a woman who calls herself Jasmine, but grew up Jeanette. She wanted to reinvent herself, which she calls being swept off her feet. She abandoned college for marriage to a man who made himself a millionaire & allowed her to thrive […]

As tears go by

A note on the possibility that honor defends humanity

The opening of the film sets up a conflict between man & family. The man himself sleeps days, works nights, which suggests a connection between independence & crime. He comes from a family: Some woman in the family asks him to give shelter to a […]

Ashes of Time

On memory as punishment

This is the story of a swordsman who sells vengeance. This is an ugly version of a go-between. People remember things that poison them & rather than cleanse themselves, they impiously want to poison others. Our man is strikingly rational – he puts a price on vengeance, but this only […]

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

A note on home & evil

My readers, like all men of sense, take it for granted that Tolkien does not take war seriously on its own terms – or politics, for that matter. There is a lot to be said about this form of contempt. A useful comic image of this contempt is […]

Lone survivor

War as it emerges in noble defeat Operation Red Wings. 4 men of SEAL Team 10 were sent on June 28, 2005 to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah

This is the true story of a special forces mission that took place in Afghanistan. A long story of suffering, blood, & loss. It is fitting […]