Movie Review: Titane

This review contains spoilers. French writer/director Julia Ducournau made a splash with her first feature film, 2016’s meaty psychological horror-thriller Raw. (Full disclosure: I have not yet seen this film.) Her sophomore effort—Titane—has also made a splash, winning the coveted Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Titane falls undeniably and unapologetically into the category of “body …

Movie Review: The World, the Flesh and the Devil

The end of the world is big business nowadays. Between streaming and broadcasting and movie theaters (which are themselves dying), hardly a month goes by that we aren’t introduced to some apocalypse or Armageddon or what-have-you. If it’s not zombies, it’s a vicious pandemic; if it’s not a giant meteor, it’s an alien invasion. Americans, …

Is diplomacy failing with Russia?

The Atlantic posted a headline today proposing to explain “Why the West’s Diplomacy with Russia Keeps Failing.” This is just one example of recent fatalistic declarations that all is lost with respect to Ukraine and the possibility of a Russian invasion. I confess I don’t understand headlines like this concerning the situation with Ukraine. Diplomacy …

21st Century Iconoclasm

Thoughts on the new book Smashing Statues by Erin L. Thompson  On the night of January 20, 2022, workers in New York City removed an 82-year-old statue of Teddy Roosevelt from its location outside the American Museum of Natural History. The statue depicts the late president mounted heroically on a horse, with a pair of men (one …

When We Cease to Understand the World

A review of Benjamin Labatut’s award-nominated collection. They are well-worn clichés: the scientist as tortured genius; the idiot savant who peers unblinkingly into the secrets of the universe while forgetting to eat or bathe; or, at the most superficial, scientists as hopeless nerds, whip-smart but clueless when it comes to “regular” people and their quotidian …