Otto Warmbier and American Exceptionalism

On state violence, injustice, and double standards. Time for some whataboutism. Otto Warmbier, an American college student, traveled with friends to North Korea where he was arrested, charged with stealing a propaganda poster in his hotel, convicted, and sentenced to over a decade of hard labor. He didn’t make it two years. Some time after […]

Free Speech and the Whims of College Kids

Hadley is still a child, and so administrators should listen to her, but they should’ve give her an equal say in the institution. When I was in middle school, my history class staged a walkout. I don’t recall the reasons, but I’m sure at the time we all thought them righteous and just. I’m also […]

Social Media and Narratives of Fear

How social media makes us into horror movie protagonists. Nobody desires to live in actual fear. But we love the feeling of fear if absent a genuine threat to our safety. That’s why we enjoy horror movies and scary video games and ghost stories. The rush of fear without any real danger. It’s universal. But […]

Why I don’t vote

Your vote counts for something. Just not what you think. If your vote — not “voting in the aggregate”, not “voting blocs”, but your vote — has no chance of deciding the election or producing a meaningful difference in margins, then reasons against voting don’t have to be terribly strong to outweigh reasons for it. This isn’t a controversial point, […]

The Moral Failure of Trump Culture

It’s clear, as much of Trump’s base — though not all, thank god — sticks with him in the aftermath of his sexual assault admission, that a great deal of Trump’s success to date and a sizable portion of his core support, is the result of a broken and failed culture. It’s a culture that grips too much of […]

The Contrasting Visual Styles of the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes

Comparing what DC’s doing with their cinematic universe to what Marvel’s up to isn’t just about critics’ reviews or quality of scripts. Marvel has the leg up, at least right now, on both accounts. But there’s a more interesting divide, one that shows a fundamentally different approach to how a comic should make the transition […]

Why the Rogue One Novelization’s Author Is a Good Sign for the Movie

Alexander Freed wrote the best Star Wars novel to date and his style fits perfectly what we hope Rogue One will be. Reshoots have fans worried. Every movie schedules reshoots, but scuttlebutt is that Rogue One’s getting more than most, and that they’re happening because Disney wants more humor. That they want a “lighter” story and […]

The GOP and the End of Virtue

It’s done. The Republican Party has officially chosen the worst major candidate of my lifetime. Not because of his attitudes about the role and scope of government, though in that regard he represents the antithesis of libertarianism. But because of his values, his character, his basic dignity and humanity. Those of us who argue for […]

We Care About the Election, but in an Ideal World We Wouldn’t

Trump and Clinton are only threats because we let them be. Next week is the Republican National Convention and on the one hand, God help us, but on the other, it’s a good opportunity to think about why this all matter so much and whether it should. The prospect of Trump “in charge” of the country […]