A friend wondered aloud why psychics always seemed to be women. It's not a question I had ever considered, but it made sense once I paused to think about all the psychics I had ever seen in pop culture. They were all women. The archetype for me is the gypsy fortuneteller in "The Wolf Man,"… Continue reading What Can Psychics Tell Us about the Present?
The Happening is possibly the worst movie I've seen in years, and I'm just desperate to find some inkling of redeeming value in Shyamalan's mess. But I can't. Just a collection of loose thoughts that may help somebody else also trying to justify to themselves their rationale for sitting through this movie: There is the… Continue reading Review of Shyamalan’s “The Happening”
I've always been obsessed with end-of-the-world scenarios, from the original 1968 Planet of the Apes to Cormac McCarthy's 2007 novel, The Road. I've tried to intellectualize my lifelong fascination, even teaching courses on Apocalyptic Literature. But no matter how many fancy words I use in my courses ("a posteriori apocalypticism," "stigmatized knowledge," "escalation ladder"), I… Continue reading Pop Apocalypse: Shearwater’s “Rooks”
Last week I posted a video clip of Jerry Falwell in 1998 delivering a sermon about the potential apocalypse of Y2K. In the clip, Falwell tosses off a weird aside about how he used to teach billy goats to "do what they're best at." It was a funny clip, especially out of context. In a… Continue reading Speaking up for Jerry Falwell
In September 1998, Jerry Falwell delivered a series of sermons about the impending social collapse soon to be delivered to a wicked nation by the "Millennium Bug" -- that is, the disaster that never disastered, Y2K. In the sermons, Falwell likens the Tower of Babel to Y2K, and prophesizes that "God may use Y2K to… Continue reading Jerry Falwell on Y2K and Goats
I'm a voracious reader and my personal and professional lives both revolve around books: I'm always either reading a book, teaching a book, or writing about a book. Sometimes all at the same time for three different books. In short order this spring I've read a string of novels, nonstop, usually starting the newest one… Continue reading Oprah on The Road / The Road on Oprah
For a lack of anything else intelligent to say at this hour, I'm posting descriptions for two of the undergrad courses that I'm teaching next fall: 21st Century American Fiction (ENGL 429:001) What innovative directions is American fiction taking in the new millennium? How have novelists and other writers reacted to the dominant events of… Continue reading Fall 2006 Courses