Today's Teresas are driven to ecstasy by commodities

On Black Friday, the Hologram Is Revealed

W.J. Astore It’s Black Friday: shop ’til you drop!  I watch my share of TV (mainly sports), and this week I’ve been subjected to a bumper crop of commercials showing me that my happiness–even my life–depends on buying more and more stuff.  People on these commercials experience paroxysms of pleasure when they save a few…

My Dad's Menu from Thanksgiving, 1936

Thanksgiving Day, November 26th, 1936

W.J. Astore In 1936, my dad was nineteen and serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, fighting forest fires in Oregon.  Due to a dry summer, 1936 was an especially bad year for fires, and my dad fought a killer one at Bandon-by-the-Sea in Oregon.  After a tough fall, he and his…

Fear is the mind-killer (From the movie, "Dune")

Fear and Monsters

W.J. Astore Tom Engelhardt has a stimulating article at TomDispatch on the many monsters stalking us, both real and imagined.  The imagined ones we can deal with; the real ones, well, not so much.  As Engelhardt notes: “we’re living in a country that my parents would barely recognize.  It has a frozen, riven, shutdown-driven Congress,…

Cheerleaders may support our troops, but media cheerleaders are bad at covering our wars

Our Pro-War Media

W.J. Astore Five years ago, I wrote an article for Nieman Watchdog with the title, “Networks Should Replace Pentagon Cheerleaders with Independent Military Analysts.”  Major media networks rely on retired colonels, generals, and admirals to give “unbiased” and “disinterested” commentary on military matters to the wider public.  At the same time, many of these same…

At least coins were more attractive in 1884 (Morgan silver dollar)

War Is Becoming Obsolete — In 1884

W.J. Astore One of the occupational hazards of being a historian is reading old books.  The one in front of me is John Fiske’s The Destiny of Man (1884).  Fiske was an American philosopher and popular writer on Darwinism, Spencerism, and many other representative isms of his day.  Like many thinkers of the late 19th…