Television Show Review: Crashing: Season 1

Crashing Season 1

Crashing: Season 1 created by Pete Holmes (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkus, Artie Lange, and George Basil. The World Probably Doesn’t Need Another Autobiographical Show about a White Guy, But I Need this Show I know. I know. The autobiographical comedy based on a comedians’ point of view possesses no critical addition to the cultural milieu. Much like the rise of anti-hero drama in the 2000s, the autobiographical comedy has many reference points, chief of which emerges in the acclaimed series Louie highlighting the life of Louis C.K. And yet, Crashing, the vehicle for Pete Holmes’ rise into the comedy world resonates with my life to a point where I am glad it airs, despite its well-tread… Read More →

Book Review: The Real Madrid Way

The Real Madrid Way

The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet by Steven G. Mandis (Dallas: BenBella Books, 2016. 344 pp) Steven G. Mandis is an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and chairman and senior partner of Kalamata Capital. He earned his AB from the University of Chicago and his MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University. Thinking about My Life’s Work A life’s work. The phrase means less than it used to mean. For most people. A life’s work will be a series of stops, likely at companies with high variance of deliverables. The daily tasks of the worker may be the same but the overarching goals or the building of something bigger than… Read More →

Book Review: Art in Action

Art in Action by Nicholas Wolterstorff

Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic by Nicholas Wolterstorff (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980. 250 pp) Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School. He has also taught at Calvin College, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the University of Notre Dame. He has received numerous fellowships and serves on the editorial boards for Faith and Philosophy, Topics in Philosophy, and is the general editor for the Supplementary Textbook Project of the Christian College Coalition. In Pursuit of Art One of my most favorite classes as an undergrad explored the philosophy of art. Why do we pursue art? What constitutes a work of art compared to just work? How… Read More →

Book Review: Rain

Rain by Cynthia Barnett

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett (New York: Crown Publishers, 2015. 368 pp) Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported on water from the Suwannee River to Singapore. She is the author of two previous books, Mirage and Blue Revolution, a Boston Globe top 10 science book of 2011. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and children. Joy of a Rainy Day Rain represents a simple joy in life. I’m not talking a deluge. Not even a monsoon. Just the simple drizzle renowned in the Pacific Northwest. I find satisfaction in a book on the porch while the syncopated patter of the rain offers a soundtrack to whatever the current narrative offers…. Read More →

Book Review: State of Wonder

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett (New York: First Harper Perennial Olive Edition, 2014; originally published in 2012. 448 pp) Ann Patchett is the author of six novels and three books of nonfiction. Notably, she has won the Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books. The Power of Story Classically, the power of story resides in its ability to present a character that overcomes the odds. It might be the lowly knight that slays the dragon, the outcast in high school that gets the girl, the hard-working genius that pulls herself out of the standard stereotypes to be a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 4

Homeland Season 4

Homeland: Season 4 developed by Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, Tracy Letts, Maury Sterling, F. Murray Abraham, Nazanin Boniadi, Laila Robins, and Mark Moses. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Representing Our Culture Psyche Sometimes, the success of a show emerges from its relationship with culture. 24 represents such an example. Launched shortly after 9/11, the show quickly gained acclaim and cultural status as an hour each week where America could collectively let off steam and kill some bad guys. The show earned a die-hard following with a take-no-prisoners philosophy and carried actual stakes with many beloved characters meeting the reaper. In the broader cultural milieu,… Read More →

Book Review: The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahirir

The Lowland: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.  352 pp) Born in London to Bengali immigrants, Jhumpa Lahiri moved to the United States at the young age of 3. Her first published work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. In 2007, Hollywood adapted The Namesake into a feature film.  A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Lahiri is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Reality Suspension Why do you read? One of the big reasons for me is the ability to transport into different settings, cultures, and points of view. When an author succeeds in suspending reality and… Read More →

Film Review: This Is the End

This Is the End

This Is the End written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Columbia Pictures, Point Grey Pictures, Mandate Pictures, R, 107 minutes) Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson. Signifiers of Comedy Is humor the only signifier of a good comedy? When it comes to giving a recommendation, humor is certainly a critical component of advocating for such a film. I certainly recommend Anchorman, even if it’s an onslaught for jokes without much depth to any of the characters. But I would argue a comedy could go deeper than the humor component. My favorite episodes of The Office—American style—include depth to the characters. Michael Scott is a caricature of an oblivious boss,… Read More →

Album Review: Watch the Throne

Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West

Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella, 2011. 46 minutes) Born in Brooklyn, Jay-Z is an American rapper, record producer, and business mogul. He has won 16 Grammys. Kanye West is an artist, producer, fashion designer, and film director, born in Chicago, Illinois. He has won 22 Grammys. Liberation Means Money Liberation: a major theme in literature from marginalized groups. When you don’t have choice, when the institutions and structures seem to operate in opposition to you, your goals, and your culture as a whole, then freedom becomes the cry. Freedom to make decisions without external repercussions. Freedom to practice beliefs, customs, and rites in the open. Freedom to make a living, equal to or better than those… Read More →

Book Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Where Pen Meets Paper

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2007. 191 pp) Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, given several awards, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His essays and short stories have appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Review of Books. He was born in 1971 in Lahore, where he has spent about half his life, and he attended Princeton and Harvard. Among the other places he has lived are London,… Read More →