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John Murphy

John Murphy | 43 posts | Member since 11.23.07

Opinion > Culture

Tom Stoppard, Freedom Fighter

Posted on 09.24.08 | Not Rated

Tom Stoppard, Freedom Fighter Tom Stoppard, the witty British playwright most famous for his mind-bending twist on Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, is the feature of an Observer article on human rights. Stoppard’s plays are like Samuel Beckett by way of Oscar Wilde, with detours to Bardland—postmodern riffs on Big Themes like love and death and liberty,… READ MORE >

(2) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    drama | freedom | human rights

Opinion > Science/Tech

Secrets of storytelling

Posted on 09.22.08 | Rating: 5

Secrets of storytelling Having just read a collection of masterful short-stories by Tobias Wolff, the issue of what makes storytelling such an intrinsic, necessary part of the human condition has been at the forefront of my mind. An article in the most recent issue of Scientific American approaches this age-old question from a left-brained perspective: “Popular… READ MORE >

(5) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    brain | cognition | empathy | love | storytelling

Reviews > Books

Twice-told Tales

Posted by on 09.22.08 | Not Rated

Twice-told Tales Our Story Begins collects new and older short-stories by Tobias Wolff, one of America’s acknowledged masters of the genre. Wolff-hounds will recognize canonical works like “Hunters in the Snow,” “Bullet in the Brain,” and “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,” short-form masterpieces that have… READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    dante | o. henry | short stories

Opinion > Culture

Vatican Searching for Next Raphael. Or Roy Lichtenstein?

Posted on 09.20.08 | Not Rated

Vatican Searching for Next Raphael. Or Roy Lichtenstein? The Catholic Church used to be Western Civ's pre-eminent patron of art and architecture. But the past few hundred years have seen the Vatican slowly transition from commissioner to collector, safeguarding the long and luminous tradition of Church art. Tantalizing signs of change are looming, however. Newsweek is reporting on the Vatican's… READ MORE >

(3) COMMENTS  |  TOPICS:    architecture | art | patron | vatican

Reviews > Movies

League of Morons

Posted by on 09.20.08 | Not Rated

League of Morons After doing the damn near impossible—making last year's damn near perfect No Country For Old Men—who could blame the Coen brothers for blowing off a little steam? Burn After Reading returns to the anarchic comedy of Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski, but with diminished returns. Like the suitcase full of cash in No Country,… READ MORE >

(1) COMMENT  |  TOPICS:    coen brothers | comedy | farce

Reviews > Books

Paul Auster, In the Dark

Posted by on 09.19.08 | Not Rated

Paul Auster, In the Dark In Paul Auster’s new novel, the ‘Man in the Dark’ is August Brill, a retired book critic with a broken leg, a broken heart, and a serious bout of insomnia. Lacking the season of all natures, sleep, Brill endures an endless cycle of dark nights of the soul by making up escapist stories in his head, an activity that dampens his… READ MORE >


Opinion > Culture

#110 Stuff White People Like

Posted on 09.18.08 | Rating: 4

#110 Stuff White People Like The Atlantic has an interesting commentary on the popular blog site, Stuff White People Like (also now a New York Times bestselling book). The website features mini-essays by Christian Lander, a PhD dropout now famous for skewering the tastes and mores of ‘White People’—alternately called ‘bourgeois bohemians’ and… READ MORE >


Reviews > Movies

Brideshead Revised

Posted by on 09.17.08 | Not Rated

Brideshead Revised Nearly every review of the new film adaptation of Brideshead Revisited has referenced the landmark 1981 miniseries produced for British television starring Jeremy Irons, John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, and Laurence Olivier. With good reason: the 11-hour adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel is an obvious entry into the canon of Modern Classics,… READ MORE >


Opinion > Culture

David Foster Wallace, postmodern moralist, dead at 46

Posted on 09.15.08 | Not Rated

David Foster Wallace, postmodern moralist, dead at 46 The apparent suicide of David Foster Wallace, the prodigiously talented author of the novel Infinite Jest, is a sad, stunning end for a writer whose best work burst with unflagging energy and propulsive imagination. Though often lumped with postmodernists like Thomas Pynchon, Wallace's fiction had a deeply-felt humanity and breadth-of-scope… READ MORE >


Reviews > Movies

For This Documentary Tells Me So

Posted by on 09.15.08 | Not Rated

For This Documentary Tells Me So The idea that documentaries are unbiased truth is well-established nonsense, of course, but some filmmakers are better at covering their ideological tracks than others (the good ones are, anyway). For the Bible Tells Me So tackles a tough, timely topic: the antagonism between Christian fundamentalists and practicing homosexuals. This complex… READ MORE >


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