After attending a recent Gov’t Mule performance, which was characteristically intense, creative, and profound, I was inspired to write about the band as a model of countercultural excellence, advancing the tradition of everything from Walt Whitman’s poetry to The Grateful Dead’s freewheeling music. As an exercise in dissection, I attempt to determine what makes Mule’s music so uniquely powerful, and how it can serve as an instrument of hope for anyone attempting to color outside the lines in an increasingly cold and corporate culture.
Read at CounterPunch.
In my newest article, I make the argument that it is time to stop playing mealy mouthed games, and call the American right what they are: fascists. With help from the brilliant scholars on fascism, Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio, and a reference to the late, great Italian historian and philosopher, Umberto Eco, I posit that “fascism” is the only term that accurately signifies the danger of the reactionary right wing political agenda.
Read at the Progressive.
I’ve written an new essay for the Bulwark on the abhorrence and menace of antisemitism in the United States, focusing on how it is rising in the form of deranged conspiracy theories, hate crimes, and threats of violence. The reaction from the media, the political left and right, and broader culture is a collective yawn. Referencing the work of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, David Baddiel, Dara Horn, and Ben Tanzer, I examine the why and how. Read at the Bulwark.
In a new essay for the Daily Beast, I review the evidence to conclude that the United States is suffering the worst wave of homophobia in decades. Manifesting in rising hate crimes, threats of violence, book banning, and hundreds of state bills to crackdown on LGBT rights, the right wing is in a homophobic frenzy. Democrats have the right position and policies, but must fight back more aggressively.
Read at the Daily Beast.
In a new essay for CNN, I examine one of the reasons for Biden’s abysmal approval rating, and more important, the troubled state of the country – the insidious influence of what I call the “fan fiction left.” The fan fiction left is withdrawn from reality, and in the words of George Orwell, lost in political thought that is nothing more than “masturbation fantasy.”
Read my diagnosis of the fan fiction left’s delusions, and my survey of the damage that they cause at CNN.
I’ve written an essay on the last completed work of the brilliant and masterful writer, David Foster Wallace. The novella is not only a great read, but has much to teach a nation that has become one big “wastoid.” Read at CounterPunch!
I’ve written a new essay for The Progressive Magazine. I ridicule the hypocritical and foolish obsession with gas prices, calling on American political culture to give more attention to the costs that actually transform everyday life into a financial struggle – housing, health care, education, and debt (major increases in these burdens receive almost no coverage from the press).
Relentlessly focusing on gas prices also acts as a propaganda victory for the oil industry by distracting the public from the impending catastrophe of global warming.
Read it at the Progressive.
I’ve written an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books about two insightful and important new books about Donald Trump, and the dangers of the fascist American right: historian Paul Street’s, It Happened Here, and political scientist Anthony DiMaggio’s, Rising Fascism.
These books provide masterful analyses and urgent warnings regarding the extreme threat facing the American people, and our beleaguered democracy. Read at LARB.
I had the immense pleasure and privilege of interviewing one of our greatest songwriters and performers – the brilliant and elegant, Norah Jones!
We discussed the deluxe box set edition of “Come Away with Me,” her magnificent debut album, now available to mark its 20th anniversary. Read our conversation at Salon.
Perfect for a rainy day: The premiere of a new episode of the outstanding podcast, Songfacts. The gracious guest host, Carl Wiser, interviewed me about John Mellencamp’s music, and all things related to the forthcoming publication of my book, Mellencamp: American Troubadour, in an updated paperback edition!