Subscribe Register Login

Monday, October 24, 2016, 8:30 p.m.
Top Picks - Capture Arkansas
RSS Feed

Paul Greenberg

Photo of Paul Greenberg

Editorial Columnist

Editorial Columist

Recent Stories by Paul Greenberg

Column One: Clean up your language

posted: 10/23/2016 2:06 a.m. Comments 3

It seems so long ago now that Kingsley Amis said, "If there's one word that sums up everything that's gone wrong since the war, it's Workshop. After Youth, that is." How many dispiriting pairings of words have come along since Workshop? Now, instead of artists and makers, we have creative types. As if any 3-year-old weren't naturally creative. Once, we believed we had souls at the core of our being; now we are offered sexual identity. Once, we sought to conserve natural resources and curb pollution; now we ponder schemes to arrest climate change. And in place of good international relations, we seek world peace.

Column: PAUL GREENBERG: How explain the Americans?

posted: 10/19/2016 5:45 a.m. Comments 2

They're not a people at all, just a collection of randomly chosen characters milling about without any herd instinct. They wander here and there around the globe, which is where they came from, and then, without any preliminaries, proclaim themselves a nation.

Column One: Words to live by

posted: 10/16/2016 1:59 a.m. Comment 1

"What's your favorite book?" a friend once asked, opening a cornucopia of choices. Today it is Pirkei Avot, aka Ethics of the Fathers. It was intended for lawgivers of old, but could have been handed down today, considering all the confusion and legalese it dispels like a bright ray of light for those in search of a guide for the perplexed. Here, for example, is one shining nugget that never fades:

Column: PAUL GREENBERG: Strangers on a train

posted: 10/12/2016 5:45 a.m. Discuss

As soon as he got the word that the whole East Coast was going to be flooded, he headed inland. It didn't much matter whether the rumors would pan out. The pictures on television were scary enough. The whole Caribbean laid waste. Death and destruction as far as the television cameras could see. Whether rumor or fact didn't matter any more. Sci-Fi was proving more Sci than Fi. Reality, whatever that is, could be deadlier than any fiction. It was definitely time to get out of Dodge City. ASAP.

Column One: A lack of spirit in our age

posted: 10/09/2016 1:57 a.m. Comments 12

Albert Speer, the technocratic master of Adolf Hitler's war machine, busied himself churning out custom-made excuses for his war crimes as that conflict ground on to its bloody end. But what if, in his rush to misjudgment about himself and his motives, he had accidentally stumbled on a truth?

Column: Two candidates

posted: 10/05/2016 3:16 a.m. Comments 4

Let's just say Lincoln-Douglas it wasn't. There wasn't a real idea expressed or debated during the whole mindless ordeal. Instead the two presidential candidates this year traded personal barbs. Who won and who lost and does it matter? There's no doubt about Donald Trump's being the better showman, or at least there wasn't during the first half-hour of the match. All eyes and the television camera gravitated toward him as the best two-out-of-three-falls contest began, and largely stayed there. It was enough to cast a glaring light on the spirit of our age, or rather the lack of one.

Column One: Happy dreams to you

posted: 10/02/2016 1:54 a.m. Discuss

The morning after, he hated to let the precious shards of the night before go. So he stayed in bed, trying to hold on to them. They came back in bits and pieces, like precious jewels rolling around in his head. They made no sense at all, which was just fine with him. As in all dreamwork, identities were mixed, one time jarring against another like railroad cars bumping into each other in crazy succession. But it didn't matter except to make each a more welcome return to some joyous, crazy quilt of a happy past.

Column: She was a loner

posted: 09/28/2016 2:53 a.m. Comments 3

Jane Jacobs was an outsider when she began to point out what was all too clear to her. But now hers is the conventional wisdom. Or as a sage named Yogi Berra was once said to have pointed out, it's remarkable what one can observe just by watching.

Column One: Attention paid to inattention

posted: 09/25/2016 2:10 a.m. Comment 1

To say that silence is golden is to say too much. To say more or even to imagine more is more than enough. It clutters the blank corners of the mind, filling them with the opposite of rest and recreation.

Column: Leave 'em laughing

posted: 09/21/2016 2:57 a.m. Comments 2

One of the older and sillier conventions in the literary world is that a woman writer must make her female characters likable or even comic in order for her fame to endure. That piece of bad advice has been antiquated at least since Sappho. Or as Somerset Maugham phrased it when passing on that dubious notion, make the reader "laugh and he will think you a trivial fellow, but bore him in the right way and your reputation is assured." That thesis has been convincingly refuted once again by the continuing popularity of Dawn Powell, whose great character is not a person but a whole neighborhood: Greenwich Village in the 1960s.




Top Picks - Capture Arkansas
Arkansas Online