Tag Archives: Capitalism

Trump in Chaucer, Shakespeare & Conrad

When compared to people called “dotard” in Chaucer and Shakespeare, Trump fits the insult hurled at him by Kim Jong-un. His statement to African leaders, meanwhile, makes him sound like a “Heart of Darkness” ivory trader.

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When Christianity Becomes a Money Cult

A new book, “The Money Cult: Capitalism, Christianity, and the Unmaking of the American Dream,” brings to mind Howard Nemerov’s poem “Boom!” The book’s author argues that prosperity theology is not an aberration but was present from the beginning of American Puritanism.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel), Eliot (George), Nemerov (Howard) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

How Capitalism Threatens Art

The Frankfurt School studied how culture gets subsumed by capitalism. We need to start reading Adorno and Benjamin again.

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Fighting Back against the Program

In this Scott Bates parable, one can get pushed around only so much before turning to rebellion.

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The Work Ethic of Poor People

The American work ethic is alive at all levels of society, including in the drug trade.

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Christianity vs. Capitalism

Conservatives criticizing Pope Francis would benefit from this Robert Nemerov poem.

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Moll Flanders, Quintessential Capitalist

Moll Flanders is the ultimate capitalist, putting a price on everything. And my class finds itself cheering for her.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel) | Also tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Entrepreneurial Dream

Millhauser’s novel “Martin Dressler” captures the dreams of capitalist entrepreneurs but also moves beyond dream.

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Vs. Obama, Would Mitt Change Movies?

To run successfully against Obama, Mitt Romney may need to flipflop from Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street” to Edward Lewis in “Pretty Woman.”

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Marilyn Monroe Died for Our Sins

Ernesto Cardenal poem “Prayer for Marilyn Monroe” sees the actress sacrificed on the altar of our own longings.

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Goodbye, Lenin. Goodbye, Wall.

Unlike the other “Films about Fences” I showed, Goodbye Lenin involves the trauma of a fence coming down. The fence in this case is the Berlin Wall and the trauma is the shock to East German sensibilities when they have to negotiate the chaotic complexities of life under capitalism.

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After the Mess, Can Obama Be Fortinbras?

I’ve been thinking recently about how every Shakespearean tragedy concludes with a restoration of order.  The stage may be strewn with corpses and the spectator’s heart may have broken into a thousand little pieces, but (as though to provide some reassurance) someone steps forward at the end to set things straight. In Hamlet it is […]

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Seeking a Spiritual Connection with Nature

from Songs of Innocence and Experience  My Introduction to Literature class (focus on Nature) has just moved from Robinson Crusoe to William Blake, and we are seeing in the 18th century a  conflict similar to one we are witnessing today over the environment. Defoe’s protagonist is an advocate of the “drill, baby, drill” approach to nature although, […]

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Crusoe, A Parable for Our Time

I have been teaching Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in an Introduction to Literature class and am struck once more by how important a book it is. I say this even though it is not read or taught as much as it once was. Robinson Crusoe continues to be relevant because it goes right to the […]

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