Category: Online

‘Mike’ Taps Into a Complex Subculture

Taking it off, taking it all off, whether for eros, profit, art, or any combination thereof might just be the world’s fourth oldest profession. Throughout history in song and story, it’s usually an infernal female who works her wiles upon some hapless male, by shedding her duds. To the West, Salome is arguably the most famous belly […]

‘Luck’ Got Dealt a Bad Hand

The history of high art abounds with towering work left incomplete. Throughout the ages, death is obviously the most common cause of unfinished masterpieces, from Virgil’s “Aeneid” to Bach’s “Art of Fugue,” from Gaudi’s “Cathedral of the Holy Family” to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Last Tycoon.” Failed or withheld financial support comes next. Last is the […]

‘The Master’ Explores Extremes of Human Behavior

“You’re a very bad man!” says “The Wizard of Oz’s” Dorothy Gale, after she discovers that the Wizard is actually an old carny flimflam artist. “Oh, no,” he replies. “I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad wizard.” Dorothy’s Oz adventure interprets as a fantastic reworking of puberty’s rite of passage. The arc […]

Woody Allen: Unshrinkable

Not since Danny Kaye’s “Court Jester” and “Knock on Wood” had I laughed through tears – until I viewed Woody Allen’s early madcap farces such as “Take the Money and Run,” “Bananas,” and “Sleeper.” I was delighted – and moved – by Allen’s bittersweet, autobiographical comedies: winsome “Annie Hall,” but also “Broadway Danny Rose” and […]

Good News From ‘The Newsroom’

Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-winning screenplay for “The Social Network“ featured a collection of duplicitous wonks backstabbing their way to the top of the Internet heap. (A more accurate, if less artful, title would have been “The Unsocialized Network.”) Sorkin’s script was blessedly free of the cumbersome liberal pieties – and I write as an impious liberal – […]

Rodriguez: The Question Is the Answer

“Sugar man, won’t you hurry ’Cause I’m tired of these scenes For a blue coin, won’t you bring back All those colors of my dreams…” –Sugar Man, from the album “Cold Fact” Going back to the Ragtime era, every great American city – and cities like London, Paris, and Berlin – had popular music clubs, […]

Mere Anarchy

It’s still far too early in the aftermath of the lethal game which James Holmes played out in an Aurora, Colorado multiplex to get more than a shadow of a read about his motivation. his narrative. Psychoanalysts possess a native madness to interpret – it’s in our blood. Few verified details have emerged about Holmes […]


Three years of high school Latin has left me with an enduring fondness for the language and its pithy sayings. I remain eccentrically pleasured by Latin phrases that crop up in academic writing: e.g. (exempli gratia – for example); inter alia (among other things); vide supra (see above); vide infra (see below); and pace this […]

Celluloid and Psyche

From his earliest researches, Freud frequently ground his clinical theories in the recognitions of art, liberally crediting the intuition of the artist that preceded psychoanalytic insights. Freud’s followers were quick to follow the master’s lead. Variably accurate versions of analytic theory soon spread to respectable and “fringe” artistic circles. Studies of art by analytically inclined […]

Re-Screwed: Pretty Woman’s Co-opted Feminism

Robert B. Ray argues that mainstream American cinema has often death with a serious social ill by reducing it to a personal matter. The impact of racism or anti-Semitism upon a few individuals is portrayed, then a tidy reconciliation is served up involved a convenient change of heart or show of good will. Unwary viewers […]