Author Archives: treeoftalking

With General Kelly’s Press Conference, Fascism Has Come out of the Closet in America

If you were wondering when America’s transition into a full-fledge fascist state would be publicly announced, you need look no further than General John Kelly’s press conference on Thursday. Here is the key paragraph of his speech: “You know, when I was a kid growing up a lot of things were sacred in our country. […]

Mass Shootings as Terrorism

There has been much discussion in the media (and in my own social media feeds) regarding whether or not we should describe the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas as an act of terrorism. As it happens, I am currently working on a book chapter that analyzes lynchings, in part, in relation to scholarly definitions […]

Job, His Three Friends, and Campus Protest

There is a recent trend of liberal folks lamenting the failure—even the complete unwillingness—of people on the Left to engage constructively with ideas not their own and with the people who represent those ideas. For example, Bret Stephens wrote a piece in the New York Times, “The Dying Art of Disagreement,” that took to task […]

Faith Supremacy

The comic book series Preacher asked many years back why exactly it was that white supremacists were the poorest exemplars of the ostensibly superior white race. Watching those tiki-bearing imbeciles march upon Charlottesville, I couldn’t help wondering where the superior members of this white race were, exactly. I mean, one of the first marchers publicly identified […]

Life in the Comments Section

I am not a librarian, but I work in a library, so sometimes I get to do librarian-type things. For example, the system for which I work has had a number of its branches undergoing renovation of late. Renovation often means the expansion of book collections, which means the building and shifting of shelves, which […]


It occurs to me that there is an interesting underlying paradox in the political divide in this country: Those people with the greatest collective worldview are likely to have the most individualistic lives, while those people who stress individualism above all likely have the most collective social environments. Let’s start with what passes for a […]

Killing Time in Arkansas

So, as you probably know, my home state has been rushing to carry out eight executions within 240 hours, starting today. I’m not going to rehash all the fine arguments against the death penalty here. Instead, I have just a few observations to share: This being Easter Monday, much of the rhetoric surrounding the oncoming […]