newyorker:

Siobhan Bohnacker revisits Russell Lee’s evocative photographs of the small desert community of Pie Town, New Mexico, taken in 1940.
newyorker:

Siobhan Bohnacker revisits Russell Lee’s evocative photographs of the small desert community of Pie Town, New Mexico, taken in 1940.
newyorker:

Siobhan Bohnacker revisits Russell Lee’s evocative photographs of the small desert community of Pie Town, New Mexico, taken in 1940.

Somehow you always know when you’re watching a work by Horton Foote, be it play or film. It may be what is absent that you first notice: noise, tirades, denunciations, sound and fury, dark nights of the soul. Part of a generation or so of playwrights—including Lillian Hellmann, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, and Edward Albee—given to drama brimming with anger, simmering resentments, buried secrets, and assorted other Sturm und Drang, Foote can startle with the very quietness and simplicity of his art.

Carol Iannone, “Horton Foote’s Farewell”

Prufrock’s image of the day: paper illustrations.
Subscribe to Prufrock, the daily arts & culture newsletter of The American Conservative. Prufrock’s image of the day: paper illustrations.
Subscribe to Prufrock, the daily arts & culture newsletter of The American Conservative.

Prufrock’s image of the daypaper illustrations.

Subscribe to Prufrock, the daily arts & culture newsletter of The American Conservative.

ancientart:

The lion hunts of Ashurbanipal -details from the hall reliefs of the Palace at Ninevah. 
Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, who reigned 669-630 BCE, is shown in the first detail to be aiming his bow and arrow atop a chariot. The second image displays an arrow of his shot, flying in mid-air towards a lion. A close-up of Ashurbanipal is given in the final photograph to present the immense detail of these reliefs, for instance, note the intricate carvings which cover his clothing.
Artefacts courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photos taken by Steven Zucker.
ancientart:

The lion hunts of Ashurbanipal -details from the hall reliefs of the Palace at Ninevah. 
Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, who reigned 669-630 BCE, is shown in the first detail to be aiming his bow and arrow atop a chariot. The second image displays an arrow of his shot, flying in mid-air towards a lion. A close-up of Ashurbanipal is given in the final photograph to present the immense detail of these reliefs, for instance, note the intricate carvings which cover his clothing.
Artefacts courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photos taken by Steven Zucker.
ancientart:

The lion hunts of Ashurbanipal -details from the hall reliefs of the Palace at Ninevah. 
Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, who reigned 669-630 BCE, is shown in the first detail to be aiming his bow and arrow atop a chariot. The second image displays an arrow of his shot, flying in mid-air towards a lion. A close-up of Ashurbanipal is given in the final photograph to present the immense detail of these reliefs, for instance, note the intricate carvings which cover his clothing.
Artefacts courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photos taken by Steven Zucker.

ancientart:

The lion hunts of Ashurbanipal -details from the hall reliefs of the Palace at Ninevah

Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, who reigned 669-630 BCE, is shown in the first detail to be aiming his bow and arrow atop a chariot. The second image displays an arrow of his shot, flying in mid-air towards a lion. A close-up of Ashurbanipal is given in the final photograph to present the immense detail of these reliefs, for instance, note the intricate carvings which cover his clothing.

Artefacts courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photos taken by Steven Zucker.

Gene Callahan proposes a national “halfway house” solution: what if we legalized milder drugs first?

Every day at The American Conservative, we highlight several pieces of interest to our readers in our Of Note section. Here’s what others are saying about conservatism and culture today.

  1. We Must Demilitarize the Police (image)
    Sen. Rand Paul, Time
  2. After Ferguson, How Should Police Respond to Protests?
    Radley Balko, The Washington Post
  3. Silicon Valley Is Ruining “Sharing” for Everybody
    Noam Scheiber, New Republic
  4. Back to Iraq? No Thanks, We’ve Done Enough Damage Already
    Andrew Bacevich, The Spectator
  5. Libertarians Can Be a Significant Force for Good in U.S. Politics
    Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Found something else our readers should know about? Tell us about it!

“'Whatever happened to Michael Brown in the moments before he died has become secondary to what the response to his death has revealed,' Jelani Cobb wrote in The New Yorker. Since a police officer shot and killed the unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, the shooting—and the vigils, looting, volunteer cleanup, peaceful protests, and overwhelmingly disproportionate police response—has become a national microcosm of urban racial injustice and what is being called the ‘militarization’ of police forces.”

todaysdocument:

August 14 is National Navajo Code Talkers Day:

riversidearchives:

Recruiting the first 29.

“We hope and have every reason to believe, that the Navajos will play a major role in Marine Corps operations. When the war is over, their story may rank with great sagas of the battlefield.”

August 14, is National Navajo Code Talkers Day, proclaimed in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan for just that reason. The Code Talker story is an incredible war saga. The code developed by these men was never broken by the Japanese, and it was said, at the time, that without them, the Marines would have never taken Iwo Jima.

Records about the Navajo Code Talkers can be found throughout the National Archives:  in the U.S. Marine Corps records in College Park, in the Military Personnel Records in St. Louis, and in the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Riverside and Washington, D.C.  This topic is one of many which allow researchers to explore the National Archives!

Read more at: Prologue: Pieces of History » Unbreakable: Remembering the Code Talkers

Benedict vs. Jeremiah

Rod Dreher

Rising hedonism, waning religious observance, ongoing break-up of the family, and a general loss of cultural coherence—to traditionalists, these are signs of a possible Dark Age ahead.

Christians have been here before. Around the year 500, a generation after barbarians deposed the last Roman emperor, a young Umbrian man known to history only as Benedict was sent to Rome by his wealthy parents to complete his education. Disgusted by the city’s decadence, Benedict fled to the forest to pray as a hermit. …

Is there a lesson here for Christians? Should they take what might be called the “Benedict Option”: communal withdrawal from the mainstream, for the sake of sheltering one’s faith and family from corrosive modernity and cultivating a more traditional way of life?

Samuel Goldman:

Communal withdrawal can construct a barrier against the worst facets of modern life—the intertwined commodification of personal relationships, loss of meaningful work to bureaucratic management, and pornographic popular culture—yet it can also lead to isolation from the stimulating opposition that all traditions need to avoid stagnation. …

The Benedict Option is not the only means of spiritual and cultural survival, however. …The Hebrew Bible and Jewish history suggest a different strategy, according to which exiles plant roots within and work for the improvement of the society in which they live, even if they never fully join it.

This strategy lacks the historical drama attached to the Benedict Option. It promises no triumphant restoration of virtue, in which values preserved like treasures can be restored to their original public role. But the Jews know a lot about balancing alienation from the mainstream with participation in the broader society. Perhaps they can offer inspiration not only to Christians in the ruins of Christendom but also to a secular society that draws strength from the participation of religiously committed people and communities. Call it the Jeremiah Option.

Rod Dreher responds:

The main difference seems to be one of tone: the Jeremiah Option is optimistic and relaxed, but the Benedict Option is pessimistic and (more or less) defensive.

If I’m right, the question is, which is the more reasonable response to the challenges of modernity to traditional religious and moral communities? If we rule out total separation (as I do with the Benedict Option, both for practical and idealistic reasons), and we rule out total assimilation (as Goldman does, because that would destroy the community’s identity), then what we are arguing over is how porous the barriers should be, and why. …

The relatively open, relaxed Jeremiah Option makes more sense if the community has a fairly robust identity and internal cohesiveness that is not seriously threatened by the outside. The more defensive and rigid Benedict Option makes more sense if the community faces a more serious threat to its identity and internal cohesiveness.

I am persuaded that the trend lines of Jewish and Christian belief in modern America make Benedict your man, not Jeremiah. Let’s hear what you think.

“1. The Enlightened Soldier by Charles E. White
2. The Seeds of Disaster by Robert Doughty
3. Stormtroop Tactics by Bruce Gudmundsson
4. Command or Control? by Martin Samuel
5. The Breaking Point by Robert Doughty
6. Fighting Power by Martin van Creveld
7. The Transformation of War by Martin van Creveld”
— A suggested reading list for the modern soldier. Check out William Lind’s reviews, and some bonus additions to the list.

Prufrock’s image of the daythese ridiculous creatures dreamed up by 19th-century lumberjacks.

The Gumberoo
Scientific name: Megalogaster repercussus
Responsible for: forest fires

The gumberoo is much like a bear, though it is hairless save for “prominent eyebrows and some long, bristly hairs on its chin, but the body is smooth, tough, and shiny and bears not even a wrinkle,” according to Cox. Its hide is so tough, in fact, that it can repel hornet stings, charging elk, and even bullets. Tryon notes that a certain S. W. Allen “photographed one, but the negative exploded.”

Perhaps that is why this extremely combustible beast is said to burn like celluloid film. Heat makes the thing swell and explode, and that’s how we get forest fires. Writes Cox: “Frequently during and after a forest fire in the heavy cedar near Coos Bay woodmen have insisted that they heard loud reports quite unlike the sound of falling trees, and detected the smell of burning rubber in the air.”

The location of Coos Bay, in Oregon, could be a clue to the source of this myth. Beginning in the great Gold Rush, eucalyptus trees were imported into the American West from Australia to provide building wood and fuel. Though Cox specifically mentions the fire being in heavy cedar, there could have well been eucalyptus trees interspersed, and these invaders are known for their proclivity to explode in forest fires.

But they don’t have gumberoos in Australia, so they definitely weren’t to blame. They do have kangaroos, though, which also have pretty crappy attitudes if that helps at all.

Subscribe to Prufrock, the daily arts & culture newsletter of The American Conservative.

“Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory, often with the help of Uncle Sam’s armory, and where even nonviolent crimes are met with overwhelming force and brutality.”

Matthew Harwood on police militarization:

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders.  They used a semi-automatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic.  He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

The intruders, however, weren’t small-time crooks looking to make a small score. Rather they were members of the Tampa Bay Police Department’s SWAT team, which was executing a search warrant on suspicion that Westcott and his partner were marijuana dealers. They had been tipped off by a confidential informant, whom they drove to Westcott’s home four times between February and May to purchase small amounts of marijuana, at $20-$60 a pop. The informer notified police that he saw two handguns in the home, which was why the Tampa Bay police deployed a SWAT team to execute the search warrant.

In the end, the same police department that told Westcott to protect his home with defensive force killed him when he did. After searching his small rental, the cops indeed found weed, two dollars’ worth, and one legal handgun — the one he was clutching when the bullets ripped into him.

Every day at The American Conservative, we highlight several pieces of interest to our readers in our Of Note section. Here’s what others are saying about conservatism and culture today.

  1. How America Lost the Middle East (image)
    Zack Beauchamp, Vox
  2. How Money Warps U.S. Foreign Policy
    Peter Beinart, The Atlantic
  3. Henry Adams and the Gift of Pessimism
    Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week
  4. Can Conservatives Co-opt Obamacare?
    Philip Klein, Washington Examiner
  5. The Militarization of the Police
    Jamelle Bouie, Slate

Found something else our readers should know about? Tell us about it!

Noah Millman on Shakespeare:

Are Shakespeare’s characters “relatable”? Can you “identify” with them?

“Relatability” is a quality imputed objectively to the object. The reader or observer is cut entirely out of the equation. You can’t do that with “identify” – you wouldn’t say a work was “unidentifiable” (or, you might, but you’d surely mean something like “unattributable” or something nothing to do with “relatability”). If I say that “I can’t identify” with Humbert Humbert, I might be admitting to my own lack of empathy – or I might be proud of that fact, convinced that anybody who could identify with H.H. must hare his pathology. It’s a question; it can be debated. But if I say he’s “not relatable” then I’m saying that it isn’t reasonably possible to understand him, empathize with him. The question is closed.

That’s what’s horrible about the word – not that it blames the author or performer (sometimes the failure really is their fault), nor that it demands a place for the self (we’re the only ones who can feel our feelings; “empathy” fundamentally means feeling someone else’s emotions as our own – there’s the self, right there), but that it involves a definitive closing of doors on experience. A conviction that I already know all that I need to know. About the world. About other people. About myself. And I just want to see that knowledge affirmed.

Was Shakespeare conservative?

A vision of politics that says that legitimacy is important, and that without it it’s harder to rule peacefully, may well be called conservative – but if so, we’re setting the bar for conservatism pretty low. (Am I supposed to believe that anyone who denies, or even qualifies, Mao’s dictum that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” is now a conservative?) What you can’t say is that Shakespeare wrote plays that blithely assume a world in which right ultimately triumphs, authority must be respected, and the most important thing is for everybody to know his place, and stay there. The very plays that grapple most directly with these questions portray a very different vision – a much more realistic, pragmatic and complex one than Berlatsky implies.

Why can’t we teach Shakespeare better?

More than anything, it seems to me, teaching Shakespeare requires love of Shakespeare, more than many authors, because Shakespeare’s greatness looms over him like an intimidating proctor, making us feel that if we don’t “get” that greatness then we’ve somehow learned nothing, prompting us to cut him down to our own size. None of that is necessary. Shakespeare comes in all sizes, rewards just about every level of engagement. That should mean shallower students come away with some emotional and intellectual experience that is meaningful, even if they never understood what the big deal was, while students capable of plumbing the depths get a glimpse of an author proper likened, like Julie’s love, to the Bay of Portugal.