“In Defense of Jane Austen.” Dwight Lindley III responds to a recent controversy over Austen and suggests that we follow her own example in resisting reductive accounts of other people.
“Love in the Marketplace.” In a particularly insightful essay, Mary Harrington narrates the “slow but inexorable collapse of the artificial distinction between the individualist understanding of moral sympathy and the equally individualist conception of the market,” and she traces the effects of this process on animal slaughter and marriage. As she concludes, “the act of embracing commitment to others is the key to finding a way beyond selfhood, to making space within our inner worlds for others not just as vehicles for projection, but in their otherness.”
“Labours of Love.” In this essay for Comment Magazine, I draw on Wendell Berry’s work to suggest how his understanding of hope might empower us to do good work even in the face of daunting problems: “For Berry, good work is worth doing regardless of whether it will fix our global problems. By grounding ultimate hope in a given redemption, he is freed to do good work without having the impossible pressure of fixing global problems. So while some of the many technological and political ideas bandied about are worth pursuing, such solutions are a poor foundation for hope because they will inevitably disappoint us: no technology can make us live forever, and no political system can make us live in harmony with one another. If global efficacy is the standard of our work, then most of us have no good work to do.”
“Why Maintenance Matters, and The Innovation Delusion.” Gracy Olmstead and Leah Libresco Sargeant are hosting a virtual conversation with Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel, authors of The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most.
“Stages of Grief.” Will the pandemic be the final nail in the coffin of the artistic economy? William Deresiewicz paints a grim picture: “We need an art movement like the one we have for food, a movement for responsible consumption. Just as there are animals and farmers at the other end of the food supply, so are there human beings at the other end of the art supply.”
“St. Junipero Serra, Founding Father.” James Matthew Wilson commends St. Junipero Serra’s vision and work as models that might help Americans “fulfill the promise first articulated by our several foundings: a land of many peoples bound together, a people in search of true freedom, one that respects the dignity of all persons, but which also summons us to self-giving, communion, holiness and hope for a better age to come.”
“Are You Seeing What We’re Seeing?” Elias Crim and others are launching a newsletter that “aims to be your biweekly nuts-and-bolts guide to this emerging movement toward building inclusive equity and economic democracy.”
“Sex Is Not a Metaphor: the Politics of the Modern Self.” James Matthew Wilson reviews Carl Trueman’s new book and outlines his account of the rise of expressive, therapeutic individualism.
“Just 20 Firms Behind More than Half of Single-Use Plastic Waste.” David Shukman reports on the concentration in the plastic-production industry.
“The Rise of Corporate-State Tyranny.” Joel Kotkin warns about the growing power of “a new alliance between large corporate powers, Wall Street, and the progressive clerisy in government and media.” (Recommended by John McClaughry.)
“Name Stakes.” Thomas Chatterton Williams reflects on the power and meaning of names in a lyrical essay.
“Truth, Reading, Decadence.” As an English professor, I’m always interested in accounts that grapple with the reasons for the declining numbers of students interested in studying English and other humanities disciplines. Mark Bauerlein’s essay will ruffle plenty of feathers, but I think he gets a lot right.
“Advice to Christian Professors of Literature.” One of my former professors, David Lyle Jeffrey, offers a complementary perspective to Bauerlein’s. In particular, Jeffrey recommends the wisdom literature tradition as providing a guide for contemporary professors: “One of the qualities which should distinguish a Christian teacher of literature should be, I suggest, a willingness to become a wisdom teacher in the Jewish and ultimately biblical sense.”
“Reading George Marsden with Gen Z.” To continue this theme, Jay Green weighs the current relevance of Marsden’s work in the 1990s on the “outrageous idea of Christian scholarship.”
“Can the News Be Fixed?” Amanda Ripley describes how one TV station is trying to find a more responsible way to cover local news. Instead of just focusing on sensational and scary events, they are producing longer, more in-depth features, and viewers seem to be appreciating the shift.
“Microsoft and Apple Wage War on Gadget Right-to-Repair Laws.” Mark Bergen investigates how technology companies continue to thwart right-to-repair laws that would reduce waste and benefit customers.
“Five Rural Counties in Liberal Oregon Vote in Favor of Leaving State for more Conservative Idaho.” Derek Hawkins reports on recent developments in a long-standing movement to create a “Greater Idaho” that includes rural counties from Oregon.