Cinema: a personal perspective

[This is the first part of a piece I wrote recently for The Electric Agora. The final section of that piece - focussed on Ingrid Bergman - I will post separately at a later date. The EA article elicited some interesting comments, by the way.] It is impossible to put an exact date on it, … Continue reading Cinema: a personal perspective

Thoughts on American foreign policy

In a recent piece at The Electric Agora I raised the topic of the influence of the Democratic think tank, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), on U.S. foreign policy from 2008 to 2016 and its possible future influence. The philosophy underlying the policy prescriptions of the CNAS owes much to the neoconservative … Continue reading Thoughts on American foreign policy

English surnames and Jewish origins

The surnames of some of my English forebears would seem to indicate Jewish origins, and I would like to make a few general comments on the topic of Jewish immigration and surnames in the English-speaking world. It's difficult to find good information on the history of Jewish assimilation in England. Jewish leaders naturally see the … Continue reading English surnames and Jewish origins

The art of the insult

The bluntness and ruthlessness of childhood interactions is well known and name-calling is a favorite ploy in childish struggles for social dominance. Such behavioral patterns persist – albeit usually in muted or more subtle forms – in adult contexts. The field of politics can be relied upon not only to exert a disproportionate attraction for … Continue reading The art of the insult

When is a discipline not a discipline?

Disruptions to business as usual, such as we have been experiencing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, inevitably raise questions regarding which activities and institutions are essential or important for a good or fulfilling life, and which may be happily dispensed with. Answers to such questions are often very personal, of course. My focus … Continue reading When is a discipline not a discipline?