Category: Culture

In the Seaworld auditorium, waiting for the evening Shamu show. In the Seaworld auditorium, waiting for the evening Shamu show, watching the wide-screen video. It shows soldiers and firemen, then August Busch III, or maybe IV, representing Anheuser-Busch, the corporate parent. He tells us to honor our heroes, which we do, with applause. A whale […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted August 11, 2007 @ 3:09 PM | Navel-Gazing,Poetry

The odor from the stinkbomb that Colby Cosh lobbed at The Sopranos has wafted hither. T.S. Eliot notoriously remarked that the only method of the critic is to be very intelligent. This doesn’t help the writer much, but it saves the reader all kinds of time, allowing him to skip, say, the critical efforts of […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 24, 2007 @ 6:17 PM | Culture,Literature,Movies

Pickup on South Street Richard Widmark sneers. Thelma Ritter finks, sells ties. Audience nods off. Rancho Notorious Alas for Fritz Lang, direction translates poorly from the German. Thieves Like Us Is it possible? An Altman fanboy favorite that can be sat through? Cries and Whispers The TV is clear of dust where the red envelope […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 24, 2007 @ 6:07 PM | Movies,Poetry

Brian Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism is a comprehensive, highly entertaining history of libertarianism with too many points of interest — Murray Rothbard’s solution to the free rider problem (“so what?”), Milton Friedman’s sterling character, The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Deontologist — to deal with in a single post. Instead I want to talk about […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 13, 2007 @ 7:08 PM | Heuristic,Literature

Our Girl in Chicago, Laura Demanski, has roused me from my torpor by asking for an interpretation of Philip Larkin’s Spring. She might want to quote the whole sonnet instead of its last six lines. Fourteen consecutive lines of verse will probably not tax most readers unduly. Larkin was an accomplished and rigorous editor of […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted February 20, 2007 @ 6:03 PM | Poetry

Periodically I shall adjudicate blog disputes. There is no appeal. First on the docket we have Gawain, of Heaven Tree, vs. Conrad Roth, of Varieties of Unreligious Experience. Gawain, upset with the Uffizi museum for neither allowing photographs nor selling reproductions of its collection, is driven to guerrilla tactics. He photographs, presumably illicitly, a bust […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted December 14, 2006 @ 12:19 AM | Culture

The first piece of advice in Strunk and White’s Elements of Style concerns punctuation — the proper use of the apostrophe. I learn that I must write “Charles’s execution,” but “Jesus’ crucifixion.” Already my prose is improving, though not at the rate I would like. Items 2 through 8 also concern punctuation. I learn to […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted December 8, 2006 @ 2:28 PM | Language,Literature

The In-Laws Am I old, or is yelling “Serpentine!” not as funny as before? About Schmidt Midwestern schlemiels do not sit behind the bench at Laker games. Das Boot The TV is clear of dust where the red envelope has lain three weeks. Good Morning, Night What was I thinking? What the fuck was I […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted October 26, 2006 @ 5:01 PM | Movies,Poetry

Discoveries of unpublished poems by famous poets depress me. We already suffer from an enormous glut of poetry — even, perhaps especially, by famous poets — and of art of all sorts. A law that required artists to burn half of their finished product, the way Gogol burned the second half of Dead Souls, would […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted October 24, 2006 @ 7:48 PM | Poetry

A friend offered me two free tickets to U2 at Madison Square Garden. So the girlfriend and I up and went. Every artist has certain characteristic moments, when the mask slips and you say to yourself, “Ah. So that’s what they’re like.” For Emily Dickinson, it’s the last stanza of “What mystery pervades a well,” […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted October 6, 2006 @ 12:59 PM | Culture