nthposition online magazine

Robert Philbin

Robert Philbin lectures and reads occasionally on subjects pertaining to the Humanities, and his essays, reviews, political commentary and poetry are available on line. Finca Vigia was recently produced at The Little Theater; Buffalo Dancing at Open Stage; and Finding Utah was produced by The Park Slope Players, Brooklyn, and The Black Box in Los Angeles. He is currently developing a mixed media poetry-graphics project with New York artist Joseph Nechvatal.

Sunset Park

[ bookreviews ]

Landscape for survivors...

The moral landscape: how science can determine human values

[ bookreviews ]

"By Harris's own argument, it would require a "special" mind set conditioned and trained to apply torture to another human being."

Deconstruction, stability and tradition

[ opinion - august 10 ]

Musings on Derrida, Plato and Aristotle

A permanent condition: some American women

[ opinion - june 10 ]

Some literature just doesn't stand the test of time.

Why nonsense sharpens the intellect

[ opinion - may 10 ]

"We respect knowledge because it's useful, it takes time to acquire, and sometimes it's even teachable. Has there even been a culture that created itself into extinction?"

The what else of queer poetry

[ bookreviews ]

A seductive introduction to the post-post modernist New York School of Poetry

Kapuściński's travels with Herodotus

[ bookreviews ]

Neither the Polish journalist nor the Greek writer produced finished "history" in the professional sense.


[ artreviews - august 09 ]

From the profane to the sacred

The endless rowing toward democracy

[ opinion - july 09 ]

"There is always a marginal 'democracy deficit' at work in any social contract - a power mime inherent in the process of government which, over time, evolves to separate the will of the people from the best interests of the governing elite."

Obama, the past, and another America

[ opinion - june 09 ]

The times demand the President's highest level of performance

Moving beyond torture

[ opinion - may 09 ]

"The last thing the nation needs right now is a premature end to the Obama honeymoon, but that end appears looming if he cannot move beyond the torture issue."

The New American Islamic War

[ opinion - april 09 ]

"As the Obama Administration economic team squanders a brilliant president's public mandate in a futile struggle to re-establish the US economy, President Obama turned his attention to what now might be justly branded as The American Islamic Wars."

The honeymoon ends early

[ opinion - march 09 ]

America has come full circle in a mere 60 days - the same old is, indeed, the same old.

We have nothing to fear, but greed itself

[ opinion - march 09 ]

"As it stands now, for example, is there an American anywhere who would ever have confidence in the SEC again? And isn't the US Department of Justice in a similar state of ethical limbo?"

Obama's empire

[ opinion - march 09 ]

"A core political reality about Obama is becoming 'crystal clear', as Watergate felons were once fond of saying. He is ready to compromise with the most destructive and absurd right-wing elements still clinging to power in Washington."

The postmodern economy

[ opinion - february 09 ]

What comes next? Collapse? Nationalization?

This republic of suffering

[ bookreviews ]

"Almost 7,000 corpses and 3,000 dead animals lay scattered across the Pennsylvania landscape after Gettysburg - an estimated six million pounds of human and animal flesh, bloating in the summer heat."

What's happening to "change"?

[ opinion - january 09 ]

"We are waiting to see what the future will actually deliver. Of course, the team of rivals aren't rivals at all. Some of them, in fact, are part of the problem..."

Left in dark times

[ bookreviews ]

Can a French philosopher's reflection on his intellectual journey shed any light on American dilemmas?

It's the oil war economy, stupid

[ opinion - august 08 ]

Welcome to the greatest con job in American history.

Yes we can... maybe

[ opinion - july 08 ]

Iraq takes control of the oil (maybe) while Obama swings to the right

Savage Garden

[ fiction - june 08 ]

An excerpt from a work in progress

Anarchy and the modern dialectic

[ bookreviews ]

Modernism is driven fundamentally by human nature; more specifically, the 'anarchist' embedded in human nature.

Picasso in winter

[ bookreviews ]

Deconstructing success in modern art.

Beauty and the Beats

[ opinion - january 08 ]

Artists often create something they never intended to create...

The Shock Doctrine

[ bookreviews ]

Naomi Klein, the Joan of Arc of the progressive left, dissects disaster capitalism.

Manufacturing an alien nation

[ opinion - november 07 ]

Americans have felt alienated from society and those with political and economical power since about 1974.

Independent spin

[ opinion - november 07 ]

Winding down in Iraq, or cranking up for Iran?

Unchecked and unbalanced

[ bookreviews ]

"L'état c'est moi"...

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power

[ bookreviews ]

Feeling nostalgic for Dick Nixon?


[ bookreviews ]

Distilled Chomsky.

The good soldier

[ fiction - august 07 ]

"You can reduce words down to meaningless sound fragments, then even bits of incoherent sound, not even mumbles, which carry no information."

The Declaration of Independence

[ bookreviews ]

"Every generation gets the Declaration it deserves," as the author of a global history of the document observes...

Hitchens on God

[ bookreviews ]

He hasn't much new to say, but he certainly says it...

Moral Minds

[ bookreviews ]

On the surface, Hauser's theory is both obvious and revolutionary...

Second chance

[ bookreviews ]

Zbigniew Brzezinski awards marks for the last three White House incumbents.

Globalism and the films of Alejandro González Iñárritu

[ filmreviews ]

Three films in praise of compassion.

The war works hard

[ bookreviews ]

Dunya Mikhail's latest collection of poems bears witness to the war in her native Iraq.

Deconstructing the Media - Orwell, Chomsky & postmodern communication

[ bookreviews ]

"Any government can and, if unchecked, will drift into totalitarianism. Accrual is the prime motivation of power."

Three Films: Bernardo Bertolucci and the Fascist Mind

[ filmreviews ]

"The neoconservative movement has been viewed as a uniquely American claim to the future, as if some 'end of history' has arrived and the United States is the economic-political engine that will drive the future for all humanity."

Adrift in the postmodern world

[ artreviews - february 07 ]

Recent work by Tim Eitel, Andy Collins & Jason Brooks

Freud: Inventor of the modern mind

[ bookreviews ]

A brief but snappy bio.

The war against memory

[ bookreviews ]

Americans deserve a full accounting of Iraq's invasion.

America at the crossroads

[ bookreviews ]

How could thoughtful neoconservatives like Fukuyama could have got the entire Iraq project so completely wrong?

Breaking the Spell

[ bookreviews ]

Securing society against "those who would use democracy as a ladder to theocracy and then throw it away"

The places in between

[ bookreviews ]

One man's saunter through a collapsing culture...

The edifice complex

[ bookreviews ]

Architecture as propaganda for the powerful (if not solace for the peaceful practitioner)

Finding Caravaggio

[ bookreviews ]

Baroque master goes gangsta.

Restless giant

[ bookreviews ]

A stylish history of the US from Watergate to Bush v Gore.

Memories of my melancholy whores

[ bookreviews ]

Márquez is still looking for love...