Does the Right Wing Hate America?

Hostile opposition to immigration, mockery of diversity, advocacy of theocracy, and now the nomination of a man who routinely calls America an “embarrassment” and “hellhole,” has led me to wonder if the right wing hates the America that actually exists – a secular republic and nation of immigrants.

I offer my conclusions in my newest essay for Salon.

New Essay at Salon: Norman Mailer and Understanding the Cultural Influence of Presidents

In my new essay for Salon, I revisit the late Norman Mailer’s brilliant essay on John F. Kennedy and the cultural impact of Presidents  – “Superman Goes to the Supermarket.”

The essay applies to the current race, given that one of the dangers of a Trump Presidency, or even a Cruz Presidency, is the ugly and crass cultural influence they present.

Read the essay at Salon.

(FILES) Undated file picture of late pro

New Essay at Salon: Public Education is The Most Important Issue in the USA, But No One Discusses It

Rather than discussing several manufactured crises and phony catastrophes – like terrorism and illegal immigration – American politics would contribute much more to the improvement of the country with focus and emphasis on public education.

The widespread ignorance and illiteracy among the American populace is a true disaster, and it demands aggression and vigilance.

In my recent essay for Salon, I tackle the issue of education in the United States, and analyze the economic, social, and political consequences of neglecting educational infrastructure.

Condolezza Rice recently co-chaired a task force on educational reform, and concluded that the problem of school dysfunction is so severe it amounts to a national security crisis.

Read my essay at Salon.

Interview with Dawn Porter, Documentarian, at AlterNet

In a new feature at AlterNet, I interview documentary filmmaker, Dawn Porter, about her important and moving new film, Trapped.

Trapped tells the story of abortion practitioners, and the women they serve, in Southern states where prohibitive regulations have all but stripped away the constitutional rights of women seeking reproductive health services.

Read the feature at AlterNet, and keep an eye out for the film, which is set to air on PBS soon.

New Writing for Salon: Overblown Fears of Terrorism, Right Wing Political Correctness, and Dismantling the Businessman as President Myth

In my most recent essays for Salon, I approach a series of political and cultural with a careful eye, and pugnacious spirit.

In the first, I interview John Mueller, one of the world’s leading researchers on terrorism and public safety. We have an insightful dialogue on the dangers of exaggerating the terror threat, and wasted trillions on “chasing ghosts.”

Next, I write about the hypocrisy and inconsistency of right wing opponents of “political correctness.” While I agree that politically correct liberalism is foolish, boring, and often tyrannical (see post below on the new Devil’s Dictionary), the right wing is not the true champion of free speech and open culture. In fact, they are often the worse purveyors of speech codes and taboos. Read my explanation.

Finally, in my most recent essay, I dismantle the inescapable cliche that what America really needs is a “businessman in the White House.” Subscribers to this naive idea betray their own historical ignorance and political illiteracy.


New Essay for Splice Today: The New Devil’s Dictionary for a Culture of Mediocrity

In my new essay for Splice Today, I eviscerate the lexicon of political correctness polluting cultural discourse, and creating conditions of mediocrity. With apologies to the brilliant, and increasingly relevant, Ambrose Bierce, I offer a new Devil’s Dictionary to “delineate definitions more honest and representative than what explicators of contemporary jargon believe they’re illustrating.”

See my own definitions of the terms ugly and stupid terms, “whitesplain,” “mic drop,” “concern troll,” and others at Splice Today.


Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone. This website has been static for the past two months, and I do apologize for my negligence.

I’ve been busy writing about everything from terrorism to the godfather of heavy metal, Lemmy Kilmister, at Salon and the Daily Beast.

Like everyone else, I too have written about Donald Trump. I’ve written about religion, economics, and politics, but also about more pleasant topics such as the aforementioned work of Motorhead, the literature of Gore Vidal, and the novels of Jim Webb.

The Daily Beast ran an excerpt from my book on John Mellencamp, while my book on Metallica has received press and great reviews from Consequence of Sound, Record Collector, Illinois Entertainer, and the Chicago Music Examiner.

Make sure to follow this space throughout 2016 for more essays on politics, culture, literature, and music, and for a major update on my next book.

Book Signing

Metallica – New 33 1/3 Book – Available Now

My new book on Metallica is currently available. For the book, I had the thrill of interviewing all of the members of the band, producer Bob Rock, and Jason Newsted.

For all coverage related to the book, go to the the 33 1/3 website. You’ll find an “apologia” addressing why I wrote the book, an interview I conducted with DX Ferris about the relationship between Metallica and Slayer, and much more.

To discuss the book, I also had the pleasure of appearing on Jacques Lamore’s podcast, and then the podcast of thrash metal frontman, Howard Smith.

Buy the book from Bloomsbury or at Amazon.

Metallica Cover