Can the pandemic serve America as the cradle for a rebirth of civil society?

by Bill Benzon This pandemic changes everything, we can’t go back to the way we were. That’s what everyone is saying. Well, not everyone, but I don’t know how many times I’ve read some version of that over the past month. I would like to reflect on that theme, albeit in perhaps and oblique and…

Up-River! The adventure of reality from Haggard to Conrad to Coppola to Bourdain

by Bill Benzon How, then, do we get from H. Rider Haggard to Anthony Bourdain? Let’s start with the easy and straightforward. Both are white men, as are Joseph Conrad and Francis Ford Coppola for that matter. Haggard was British; he was born in the 19th century and died in the 20th (1856-1925). Bourdain was…

Seder-Masochism: Nina Paley began at the end and ended at the beginning

by Bill Benzon Seder-Masochism, the whole film Nina Paley recently finished her second feature film, Seder-Masochism. Her first, of course, is the award-winning Sita Sings the Blues, a retelling of the Ramayana from a feminist point of view which Paley released in full in 2008. However, she had started posting segments to the internet several…

Thomas Naylor’s Paths Peace in a world of small states

by Bill Benzon A small-state world would not only solve the problems of social brutality and war; it would solve the problems of oppression and tyranny. It would solve all problems arising from power.  – Leopold Kohr, Breakdown of Nations This insight was the late Thomas Naylor’s lodestone; it informed and animated everything he did. Primarily an economist – who taught at…