Monthly Archives: September 2013

Small Town Culture Wars

This article was the first bit of serious writing I ever attempted. I recall having published it online back in 2010, but I forget the website. The theme is one that still animates much of my thought. Cultural traditions are always in flux: building and adapting, or entering a crisis, fragmenting, and dying.   Route 70 […]

The Sorrow of Odysseus

Last week I mentioned that The Iliad  is a boy’s book, and The Odyssey is a book for men. The only way to identify with Odysseus is by getting older. I once spent a brief but memorable vacation on a beach in Southern Italy rumored to have inspired some of the scenes from The Odyssey. I was 32 years old, […]

Rereading the Odyssey: The Virtue of Piety

I first read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as a freshman in high school, and at the time I preferred the Iliad, basically for the battle scenes. The Iliad is a boy’s book; the hero, Achilles, is not much more than a boy himself. The Odyssey is a book for men, particularly men who have had their share of dead-ends and lessons learned, and […]

The American Aristotle?

For Aristotle, the goal of all human activity is happiness. Everything people pursue (money, honor, pleasure), they pursue because they think it will make them happy. The art of living well is knowing what sort of activities will make you happy, and which will not. For Aristotle, the life of virtue (or excellence, an alternate […]

One from the vault: The work of Wendell Berry

I originally wrote this post as part of series of books that most influenced my thinking. A recent conversation on another wordpress blog reminded me of Wendell Berry’s work. I am still trying to sort out how exactly I should relate to modern technology and the lifestyle it creates.  Today’s book is A Place On Earth by Wendell Berry, which […]

Book Review: Amanda Knox’s Waiting to be Heard

During my second stint in Italy (2008-2011) the trial of Amanda Knox was all over the papers. In 2007 she, a 20 year old American college student, along with her Italian boyfriend, were accused of brutally murdering 21 year old British ex-pat Meredith Kercher. They were both acquitted by a higher court in 2011. One […]