Monthly Archives: March 2016

Oh the Ice Will Split and the Cities Be Hit

As we receive news that the Antarctic ice sheet is less stable than we thought and that we could be facing catastrophic sea level rise in the next century, China Miéville’s nightmare vision of a polluted city in “Perdido Street Station” is a wake-up call.

Posted in Miéville (China) | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Limbaugh’s Clinton-Ratched Comparison

Rightwing radio host Rush Limbaugh regularly compares Hillary Clinton to Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and, in so doing, can be said to have paved the way for misogynist Donald Trump. If it’s Trump vs. Clinton in the general election, things will get ugly.

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The Terrible Beauty of Political Fanatics

While many are celebrating the centenary of Ireland’s Easter uprising, Yeats’s famous poem on the rebellion offers us cautions about how to respond to such acts of rebellion today.

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Praise that Would Undermine Trump

Ben Jonson describes malicious praise as praise that undermines while appearing to lift up. Maybe the GOP establishment should start praising Donald Trump.

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Why Literary Psychopaths Fascinate Us

My student, an English-psychology double major, is exploring if the depiction of psychopathic killers in dramas like “Psycho,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Dexter” and “Gone Girl” is accurate–and, more interestingly, what are fascination with such stories tells us about ourselves.

Posted in Bloch (Robert), Flynn (Gillian), Harris (Thomas) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A White Cross Streaming across the Sky

Today’s Easter poem is Mary Oliver’s “The Swan,” in which everything suddenly becomes clear.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How Kipling’s Kaa Would Fight ISIS

ISIS resembles the Monkey People in Kipling’s “Jungle Book” in the way it craves attention. It is defeated by Kaa, but the authoritarian python brings his own set of problems, a fascist reaction to anarchy.

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Obama Is to Trump as Albany Is to Goneril

While Trump calls for torture of terrorists and Ted Cruz calls for carpet bombing them, President Obama calls for America to take the high moral road. He sounds like Albany arguing with Goneril in “King Lear.”

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Invoking Tintin to Mourn the Killings

As horror is unleashed in Belgium, people are turning to the country’s most beloved story creation, Hergés Tintin, to cope.

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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