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Archive for the ‘Humanities’ Category

PC version of Huck Finn removes the word “nigger”

Thumbnail : PC version of <i>Huck Finn</i> removes the word “nigger”

New South Books plans to publish a new, PC-sanitized edition of Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, reports Publishers Weekly. It replaces the word “nigger” with “slave”, and makes similar edits to other words deemed offensive. This is lunacy. PW writes: ” For decades [Huckleberry Finn] has been disappearing from grade school curricula across the country, relegated to optional […]

Starting to get in the Christmas spirit…

Bruce and the E-Street Band (London, 2007).

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

This is a live recording from Benny Goodman’s  famous, triumphant concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938. Goodman was the first jazz musician to perform at Carnegie Hall. And this one performance transformed jazz from a music associated with blacks regionally to an American-wide phenomenon. Hard to believe that one concert could change American culture. “Sing, Sing, Sing” was the climactic piece […]

Anti-religious holiday messages are not humanistic

The American Humanist Association (AHA) and similar groups will soon be launching an anti-religion advertising blitz to coincide with the holiday season. The AHA’s campaign will contrast violent and sexist passages from the Bible and Koran with quotes from non-believers like Albert Einstein and Katharine Hepburn. It differs from last year’s “Be Good for Goodness Sake” theme. […]

Take the A train

  One of my favorites. Duke and his orchestra, from Reveille with Beverly, a 1943 movie.

The battle to define the “21st Century Enlightenment”

Here is an animated video of a recent speech by Matthew Taylor, director of the Royal Society of the Arts, on the “21st Century Enlightenment”. I’m all in favor of Enlightenment values, and think that they are lacking today. Therefore, I welcome Taylor raising the subject. However, his argument  that we are “in thrall to animal spirits” […]

Wall Street 2: we’re all Gordon Gekkos now

Thumbnail : <i>Wall Street 2:</i> we’re all Gordon Gekkos now

In Oliver Stone’s sequel, released in British cinemas today, it’s no longer only the pinstriped bankers who are sinfully greedy – it’s all of us. Read my spiked article in full here.

Obama on Dylan at the White House

In his interview in the current issue of Rolling Stone, President Obama speaks about Bob Dylan’s performance at the White House in February of this year (video above): Here’s what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you’d expect he would be. He wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set […]

Read science fiction for “the most interesting thought about human society”?

Historian Walter Russell Mead thinks so: At a time when many academics have become willfully obscure, political science is increasingly dominated by arcane and uninspiring theories and in which a fog of political correctness makes some forms of (badly needed) debate and exploration off limits, science fiction has stepped forward to fill the gap. In the […]

Promising start to Boardwalk Empire

Last night saw the opening in a new HBO series about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire. It was a promising start. With Martin Scorsese directing, and lots of investment, it had feature-film production values.  Almost inevitably, the opening episode spends time introducing the characters. But even so, it kept a pretty good pace. Prohibition, which lasted from […]

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