Posted inMedia & Culture

Book Review: “Talk on the Wild Side” by Lane Greene shows how language is power

Lane Greene’s Talk on the Wild Side: Why Lan­guage Can’t Be Tamed came across, in its ini­tial read­ing, as a scat­ter­shot col­lec­tion of top­ics relat­ing vague­ly to the way the pro­nun­ci­a­tions, words, and gram­mars of lan­guages will change with time so long as those lan­guages con­tin­ue to live and have peo­ple speak them. What makes the […]

Posted inMedia & Culture

Book Review: Kissinger is proof the adults in the room were “Reckless”, too

In the Mel Brooks par­o­dy “Space Balls”, the vil­lain­ous char­ac­ter Darth Hel­met brags to Lon­es­tarr, the pro­tag­o­nist, that, “Evil will always tri­umph because good is dumb.” This trope appears in fic­tion often, and some writ­ers rely on it almost entire­ly. The medieval­ist his­to­ri­an and cul­ture crit­ic Steven Atwell has observed that one of the central […]

Posted inViews & Reviews

Book Review: Laura Spinney’s Pale Rider re-examines the biggest tragedy of the 1900s

It’s become a stan­dard bit of twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry triv­ia that as ter­ri­ble as the First World War was, the 1918 flu pan­dem­ic coin­cid­ing with the armistice killed more than the con­flict itself. Now, an espe­cial­ly pedan­tic per­son might want to argue that WWI real­ly was the begin­ning of the ‘Sec­ond Thir­ty Years War’. They might treat as […]

Posted inMedia & Culture

Book Review: Lynda V. Mapes’ Witness Tree makes for pleasant summertime reading

If human­i­ty does­n’t imme­di­ate­ly reduce our emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide, methane, and oth­er cli­­mate-war­m­ing air pol­lu­tants, glob­al tem­per­a­tures could rise by as much as 11.5 degrees Fahren­heit by the end of the cen­tu­ry, accord­ing to the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Pan­el on Cli­mate Change’s most pes­simistic fore­casts. For some rea­son, this knowl­edge isn’t as fright­en­ing to us as […]