The Restless Ones and Uneasy Permanence: Steinbeck on America, Mobile Homes, and Rootlessness

On his travels with his dog Charley across America, John Steinbeck has a few moments in his journey when he is truly astonished by things he discovers for the first time. The wonder he has, which he records in Travels With Charley, prompts him to ask questions and look deeper into what he has found. […]

John Steinbeck, Marc Maron & Walter Benjamin on Driving, Distraction, and Reflection

Over the years, I have driven thousands of miles across the United States. And I have always looked at these journeys – with all of those hours behind the wheel – as opportunities for me to think and reflect on all kinds of things. To be sure, some of my best thoughts have come to […]

“Travels With Charley: In Search of America,” or John Steinbeck, an American Don Quixote: Take 1

When I was in high school, I realized that to discover America I would have to go off the beaten path. I never thought of my endeavor as comic so much as adventurous.  With a journey in mind, one of the first books I really took to in high school was Jack Kerouac’s On the […]

Psychotic Man-Child Fathers – Schlemiel Children: Marc Maron’s “Attempting Normal” (Part I)

When I watch comedy, I’m always curious as to what kind of life this or that comedian lived while growing up. Like many theorists of comedy, I do think there is some plausibility to the claim that comedy, in some way, is born out of and addresses some kind of trauma or loss.   Ruth Wisse, […]