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Scott McLemee

Entries by Scott McLemee

Pottering Around

(1) Comments | Posted July 19, 2007 | 4:48 PM

"“I'’m getting ready to work on Harry Potter for a month,”" said Laurie Muchnick in late June. She edits the book section of Newsday, a newspaper based in Long Island. We’'ve been friends for a decade now (as long as the Potter novels have been published, as coincidence has it)...

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Falling Ever Upwards With Lee Siegel

(1) Comments | Posted July 13, 2007 | 1:56 PM

"A common reaction to psychological trauma is the construction of what psychologists call the 'ego-ideal,' a kind of counterself, grand, inflated, magnificent, free from imperfections, and impervious to the kind of injury that created it in the first place."

-- Lee Siegel, Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television (Basic Books,...

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Lyndon LaRouche Mystery Theater

(5) Comments | Posted July 11, 2007 | 11:40 AM

Writing about the LaRouche Youth Movement finally allowed me to use some of the research material piling up for a novel that's never quite come together.

Maybe it was the anxiety of influence. Lyndon LaRouche always seemed like a character right out of Thomas Pynchon.

It's not just that...

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Boom or Bust?

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2007 | 5:36 PM

War is politics continued by other means. So the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz said in the 19th century, in a definition that is perhaps less cynical than it sounds. He was challenging the notion that combat is purely a matter of violence, its outcome settled by whichever army...

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On Richard Rorty

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2007 | 7:47 PM

Word that Richard Rorty was on his deathbed - that he had pancreatic cancer, the same disease that killed Jacques Derrida almost three years ago - reached me last month via someone who more or less made me swear not to say anything about it in public. The promise was...

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The Sopranos: Afterthoughts on the Aftermath

(37) Comments | Posted June 11, 2007 | 12:54 PM

Art is fundamentally ironic and destructive. It revitalizes the world. Its function is to create inequalities, which it does by means of contrasts.
-- Victor Shklovsky

Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends

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Tony Soprano and American Civilization

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2007 | 11:40 AM

Half a century before “The Sopranos” hit its stride, the Caribbean historian and theorist C.L.R. James recorded some penetrating thoughts on the gangster— or, more precisely, the gangster film,— as symbol and proxy for the deepest tensions in American society. His insights are worth revising now, while saying farewell to...

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Are We Rome?

(30) Comments | Posted May 13, 2007 | 9:58 PM

During that strange period of 18 months between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war, the chattering classes of the United States were seized by the thought that the country must finally face its destiny. We must put away childish distractions and forge a mighty global order to defend...

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