Month: May 2016

History

The Messiness of Myths

In 1947, historian Otto Eisenschiml referred to the Civil War as “The American Iliad.” He was on to something there. This month’s issue of The Civil War Monitor features an article by another historian, Mark Grimsley, who observes, “…it is obvious that the Civil War routinely functions as a national […]

Life

It’s a Wonderful Wife

It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t just a great Christmas movie, it’s a great movie, period. I’ve written quite a few posts about it already, and I was planning a new one for this holiday season. I had a great idea and was all ready to write it up. As it […]

Life

George Bailey, Phil Connors, and The Dude

Some movies become classics because they speak to something universal about the human condition. Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is a good example: just about everyone can relate to Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey. No, you don’t run a savings and loan in upstate New York in the […]

Life

On Knowing Stuff

I am grateful to have a device in my pocket that connects me with the world’s knowledge. Still, I think there’s value in knowing stuff. Really knowing it, not just knowing how to look it up. When I first watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for example, I knew almost nothing […]

Life

The Flourishing of Phil Connors

At the beginning of Groundhog Day, Phil Connors isn’t a villain. He’s an asshole. He’s not harnessing the powers of the Dark Side to control the universe like Darth Vader or killing people and eating them like Hannibal Lecter. Instead, he’s the ordinary kind of bad guy we encounter in […]