Author: J.L. Wall

4

The Possum’s Friday Afternoon Jukebox

George “No-Show” Jones, the Cadillac of country music, stopped loving her today.  He was 81.  Tonight I’m gonna find myself a Jim Beam decanter that looks like Elvis, pull up a great big piece...

4

For Anyone Interested

In addition to writing at the League, I’m now contributing to First Thoughts on a similar range of subjects — the books, movies, music, and ideas that strike my fancy — that I write about here at...

240

Darkness and Wonder in the 23rd Century

Saturday evening, burned out and brain-dead after two weeks of grading papers, I plopped down in the living room to take advantage of my weekend alone by watching the first two Star Trek films. ...

29

Add Me as a Co-signer

In the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri pleads with Barnes & Noble not to marginalize itself, with more effectiveness and less of the accidental elitism of a former Classics major than I could muster.  (h/t Rod Dreher)

59

In Praise of the Big Box Bookstore

Sitting in a Barnes and Noble cafe at the start of January, I read: What is astonishing is the quantity of books worth reading at college age and later which cannot be bought except...

14

The Guns of My Heritage

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on Guns In America. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so...

17

Approximating Evil

Describing “Empathy for the Devil,” Noah Millman writes: As for me, what I find most terrifying about stories like Adam Lanza’s is . . . that I can all too easily imagine what it...

60

Like 1776, But Without the Singing

Actually, that’s not quite fair—I happen to enjoy watching 1776 and its John-Adams-as-Mr.-Feeney approach to history.  But perhaps that’s because there’s no one who’s going to leave any movie centered on Adams arguing for...

14

My Handwriting, My Self

New languages seep into you—slowly at first, and then, suddenly, you begin to notice its influence.  At least in the anecdotes, this frequently happens through the confusion of words as the mind is momentarily...

165

The South Hasn’t Risen Again

Andrew Sullivan has pulled out the Electoral College maps again to make a point about race, the Confederacy, and the Republican Party: [I]f Obama loses North Carolina, Virginia and Florida – which I suspect...

40

Intimate Ballots

The “joke” in the Dunham-for-Obama ad is the equivalence it posits between voting and sex.  But a more basic premise of the ad—one which I think is not challenged by either its irony or...

2

Proust’s Invitation to Folly

Alan Jacobs is Proustblogging, and I can’t resist.  In Search of Lost Time is about the power of anticipation at least as much as the power of memory, he writes: This is part of...

4

Translation as Commentary (or, Commentary as Translation?)

It is September, which means—inevitably—that I find myself thinking about Paul Celan’s “Todesfugue,” this time (the first time) as a teacher.  It is hardly easy, in subject matter or in style—it is credited for...

27

Reading in the Digital Age

At the end of every term for at least the last half-dozen years, I’ve had to take a week (or two—the task probably isn’t done by the end of a single week) and re-teach...

22

Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash Grow Old

After an English teacher decided to “warm up” his class for a test by playing a few tracks from Leonard Cohen’s Cohen Live, one of my brother’s friends, knowing that I was a Cohen...

17

PS … U?

Alyssa Rosenberg does a good job explaining why Penn State’s accreditation might reasonably come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal — a news item that had left me thoroughly puzzled....

22

Evil at Dawn

At the New Yorker, Rollo Roming argues that calling James Holmes and/or Jerry Sandusky “evil” raises more questions than it answers.  The concept of evil has been tossed into “confusion” and “tatters” by the...

4

News Comes in Threes, Israeli Edition

The past three days have seen three important events in Israeli politics, which, taken together, will have ramifications for American policy and the region as a whole. On Tuesday—as the title of my prior,...

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