This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity


Random observations about human experience from a curmudgeonly nerd. (When I get tired of blogging about culture and politics, I blog about Russian food.)

I am a sucker for allegorical Flemish art. The banner that appears at the top of my blog is a detail from Hieronymous Bosch’s The Ship of Fools (circa 1500). Here is an uncropped image:

30 thoughts on “About

  1. George Weaver on said:

    Hello, fellow Flemish-art-sucker. I thought I was alone on the planet.

    When I read your extraordinarily perceptive and keen-eyed posts, I am astounded by how well-written and dispassionate they are. You are an historian and a politicist of the first order.

  2. peterkirsch on said:

    Really like the Bosch. Love the posts.

  3. Thanks, guys!

  4. sporadicblogger on said:

    Yours is a very well written blog. Good work!

  5. interesting reads.. nicely done!

  6. I’m also a “curmudgeonly nerd” (great description!) who loves Flemish art. Followed! 🙂

  7. I don´t know flemish art a lot but I like to learn. Interesting stuff and bold blog! I will follow you.

  8. Good to be here. Your articles are indeed fascinating. Cheers & best regards 🙂

  9. And hereI thought your banner art was a portrait of Bush’s Cabinet . KB

  10. I found your blog via a comment you left at Gin and Tacos, and I really dig it. Excellent writing!

  11. I’m wondering how old you are. Because you seem at the same time really smart/experienced and really young (in a good way).

  12. very good blog! nice to meet you…!! i will follow!!

  13. Pingback: Best moment award | Rambling through an abstract landscape

  14. Hi
    Hope you don’t mind, but I’ve nominated you for a Best moment award. Please do not feel pressured to accept or act on this, it takes time, and some thought, but I believe you deserve it for the moments your blog has given me. Here’s a link to my acceptance post, which explains the rules as well.

    Congratulations and many thanks

  15. Tex Arty on said:

    An awesome assembly of words.

  16. Hi there, congratulations! You’re my featured blog as of today.

  17. Delighted to have found your fascinating blog. Looking forward to more reading. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.

  18. fantastic blog. i discovered you after watching Fargo and then googling “Fargo Allegory Capitalism” and you popped up. Great insights! Are you on Twitter? Would love to follow you.

  19. When I first stumbled on your blog my first thought was “Ooh! Bosch as the upper banner, cool!” I’ll be following…

  20. The best personal review on Fargo I´ve read, so far (go)

  21. Ken Watson on said:

    Great blog! I found myself here after Googling the meanings of “A Serious Man”, and have stayed for the rest of the content. Keep up the good work!

  22. Another admiring “Serious Man” post reader here, now interested in all the other stuff you must have written. May I add here that this movie has always seemed to me (a non-observant Jew raised in and escaped from Christian Science) as supremely tongue in cheek in a compassionate and affectionate way – granted the embedded resentments the Coens must bear against religiosity. The tornado and doctor’s call at the end, to my Jewish eyes is simply hilarious. BECAUSE I’m scared of God too! All agnostics are. Arnold

  23. Gustav Peebles on said:

    Just a friendly note to say that your analysis of A Serious Man is AMAZING. Please figure out how to spread your ideas beyond this blog!! (I mean, the blog is great, but maybe some other venues deserve to hear your thoughts too). If you need a push from a random person, I’m happy to help with the push. The lion’s share of the world wouldn’t have seen what you saw in that movie, but it’s lucid once you point it out to us. Anyway, like I said, just voicing my strong support for your voice.

  24. I would like to reprint your article on Lenin’s Tomb (A Halloween Post) in the next issue of Cold War Studies Magazine. Could you please contact me at so that I can send you more information.

    • Your articles are great but your site is starting to look quite dated. If you updated the generic WordPress theme, I believe you could attract more readers. Just a thought.
      (Got here through the Serious Man review, like a lot of other people. Appreciate the analysis although the comments helped as well. Thanks)

  25. Text Permissions on said:

    Hi. we need permission to use your article in our book. Can you please contact me at

  26. As a literature professor, I rarely give up and google “Brazil film analysis,” but when I did, I was not only satisfied by a thoughtful analysis of the too-absurd-for-my-realist-brain movie, but impressed by your articulate style.

  27. Stephen Osborn on said:

    I found my way to your blog while trying to make sense of why oranges are used as an allusion to death and violence in the Godfather series. If your analysis of the orange as a symbol tying Old and New World realities together is accurate – and I see ample evidence to believe you – it suggests Coppola thought long and hard about how to convey ones connection to the past. My next query would be did Coppola find something in Puzo’s novel that made him consider the orange, or was this his own artistic choice. I seem to recall first getting blood oranges from Italy when I went abroad. It makes me wonder. Thanks for well crafted opinion; it made for a very satisfying read.

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