In an era of phony vulgarity, Alicia Keys represents wisdom, authenticity, and genuine artistic vision.
It is impossible to imagine how any sentient human being is not in love with Alicia Keys. Her beauty, no matter what she’s wearing, is so powerful it becomes as poetic as the lyrics of urban, street-smart gospel that animates her latest record, “Here.” Her sensual grace, and effortless charisma, find melodic accompaniment in her intelligence, wit and impassioned investment in the ongoing struggle to inspire individuals to dream without a leash, while attempting to tame the ugly impulses of sexism and racism rampant throughout society.
Read the rest at Salon.
In my new column for Salon, I examine how the manipulation of Americans’ sympathy and “support for the troops” shuts down intelligent and important debates on US foreign policy, Pentagon spending, and scandals of sexual assault within the armed services.
Read it at Salon.
In my new column at Salon, I explore the terrifying possibility that Donald Trump is not an insincere conman, but that he is genuinely paranoid, stupid, and delusional. The power of propaganda, from the right wing, has steadily warped the minds of millions of Americans. It appears that Trump is one of them. Imagine your crazy uncle as the most powerful man in the universe.
Read the column at Salon.
In my new column for Salon, I review the new record, Hard Love, from Strand of Oaks; calling it a rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece. Tim Showalter, the chief songwriter and frontman for the band, brilliantly and movingly explores the ecstasy and agony of the search for adult pleasure.
Read the essay at Salon.
In a recent column for Salon, I defended campus protestors and examined the complicated issue of speech and commerce at colleges throughout America.
Read it at Salon.
There are few writers worthy of such high distinction, but to read Rita Dove is to encounter the transformative. Her feeling comes in aid of your feeling. Suddenly, you believe you have undergone an alteration of mind and spirit. Dove’s poetry breathes life onto the page and into the reader.
The Pulitzer Prize committee shared this assessment, awarding her the prize for poetry in 1987 for her beautiful, biographical treatment of her grandparents through a series of interconnected poems, “Thomas and Beulah.” Dove also received the National Medal of Arts commendation from President Barack Obama, who complimented her singular ability to “blend beauty, lyricism, critique, and politics.”
In a national moment of suffocation, it is for our civic health that we turn to those voices that offer the relief of oxygen.
Earlier this week, I interviewed Rita Dove about the power of poetry and the necessity of the arts, especially in times of political trouble and terror.
Read a transcript of our conversation at Salon.
I began devouring Michael Eric Dyson’s work as a high school student, eager to learn about the world, and study the craft of essayistic writing. He quickly became inspirational and foundational to my intellectual and literary development. It is difficult to conceive of myself as a thinker and writer without the influence of Dyson.
Recently, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with Dyson during the Chicago stop on his book tour. We discussed a new book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, along with a wide range of issues pertaining to race, culture, and politics.
In my new column for Salon, I appraise the high value of Dyson’s analysis and rhetorical style, and offer some of the most provocative and poignant excerpts from our conversation.
I was so overjoyed and inspired by the live debut of Kev Wright’s new band, The Journey Road Grit and Gravel Snake Oil Company, that I wrote a close review of the performance, and reflected on the transformative power of the artist.
Read the review at No Depression.
In my new column for Salon, I address how America’s increasingly vulgar culture will only coarsen under the influence of Donald Trump, a repugnant vulgarian himself. Sociologists often discuss the cultural process of “defining deviancy down.” Tolerance for the previously unthinkable is nearly impossible to reverse. It only creates room for further degradation of public standards.
Presidents exert as much cultural as political influence. Trump has and will continue to empower the crude and crass elements of society.
Read my entire examination of an unpleasant topic at Salon.
In my new column for Salon, I present the cultural case for a universal basic income. Critics of the program will lament, “It discourages people from working!”
Read about relief for the poor, work-life balance, and the pursuit of happiness at Salon.