Wall Street Journal review of 'Why We Drive' by Matthew Crawford 

The coronavirus has parked multitudes on their sofas, where many have gone half-mad reading rants from advanced-studies graduates of the University of ­Twitter. Matthew Crawford’s “Why We Drive” is the perfect antidote. 

Mr. Crawford, a senior fellow at the University of Virginia and the author of “Shop Class as Soulcraft” (2009) and other works of social philosophy, has written a thoughtful, entertaining and substantive work about the joys of driving—and about the attempts by various scolds to relegate…

Read more

WSJ review of Homeplace 

‘Homeplace’ Review: Enticed by Twang and Sawdust The last roadhouse in the Virginias, where Budweisers, Beatitudes and country music mingle—and a fading subculture finds a home. By  Dave Shiflett July 11, 2019 6:50 pm ET

Among the collateral calamities of our era’s descent into health obsession is the decline of the traditional honky-tonk. The heart skips a beat in fond remembrance of these roadside establishments, which dispensed—enthusiastically and in good conscience—pork rinds and…

Read more

Wall Street Journal Review: The Last Job 

By  Dave Shiflett April 18, 2019 7:25 p.m. ET

The prospect of death separates the terminally ambitious members of our species into two distinct groups: those who compose a bucket list of offbeat things to do before they croak and those who decide to attempt one final grand feat, a last hurrah. Bucketeers climb mountains and visit the Taj Mahal. Last-hurrah types try their hand at writing a symphony or building a school in some far-flung place—or, if their life-long occupation has been in the larceny…

Read more

Wall Street Journal article: Virginia's Confederacy of Dunces 

Virginia’s Confederacy of Dunces How can we continue looking down on Arkansas and Mississippi with this sort of stuff going on Feb. 7, 2019 6:53 p.m. ET When word leaked that Gov. Ralph Northam was in hot water over a medical-school photo, some Virginians smiled knowingly. We’ve seen pictures of med-school friends posing with cadavers they’d hung with monikers like “Bessie,” “Big Boy,” and “Wee Willie, ” as circumstances dictated. Then came the jarring news of Mr. Northam’s costume mishap and…

Read more

Wall Street Journal Review: Grateful and Thanks a Thousand 

By Dave Shiflett Nov. 20, 2018 6:52 p.m. ET If turkeys have souls (it’s the season for generous speculation), one might expect that, in the spirit of the times, a flock of transcendent Toms will soon storm the gates of heaven to demand an end to their species-ist Thanksgiving sorrows. They might have a case, but the holiday itself will surely retain heaven’s blessing. As two new books make abundantly clear, giving thanks pays big dividends—soulful and otherwise—at least for humans. Theologian Diana…

Read more

WSJ review of 'Country Music USA' and 'Country Music' 

By Dave Shiflett Sept. 27, 2018 5:49 p.m. ET Given the choice between hearing a country-music crooner or a cat in a blender, many Americans might give us reason to fear for the fate of the cat. Others consider country the music that red-state deplorables listen to, even if it’s hardly restricted to hayseeds, malevolent or otherwise. Even Beyoncé sings a little country Beyoncé is a little late to the hayride, as we are reminded by the 50th-anniversary edition of Bill C. Malone’s “Country Music USA.” Mr.…

Read more

WSJ Review of Jeff Pearlman's 'Football For A Buck' 

The new NFL season has commenced with the usual hoopla, though some fans are finding new things to do on Sunday afternoon. Their disaffection isn’t just about kneeling, which is as easy to ignore as other celebrity pose-striking. The game seems flat, perhaps due to efforts to remove risk with new rules and more penalty flags. Watching a game can set the teeth to grinding, especially when advertising time-outs seem longer than the first half of “Gone With the Wind.” Meanwhile, ticket, beer and parking…

Read more

Wall Street Journal review of Jorma Kaukonen's 'Been So Long' 

Sept. 7, 2018 5:08 p.m. ET Jorma Kaukonen isn’t quite so famous as some of his musical peers, a group that includes Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and Jimi Hendrix. Yet unlike those eminences and many others, Mr. Kaukonen—a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane—has hung around. Still touring as he approaches 80, he has now written an engaging memoir that will interest even those who wouldn’t know Hot Tuna (his current band) from a can of sardines. “Been So Long” is…

Read more

Weekly Standard article on Ancestor Worship 

Worship Thy Ancestor . . . from a distance 2:00 AM, Apr 06, 2018 | By Dave Shiflett You can get arrested for spanking an unruly tot these days, but flogging the immortal bejesus out of once-revered ancestors can pay significant dividends. Pounding the Founders and other historic villains not only affirms one's purity and moral superiority but can help achieve social dominance over those who fail to recognize your excellence of spirit. On top of that it can make you feel really good and distract…

Read more

Weekly Standard article on the NRA 

Skunk vs. Skunk The defense of the Second Amendment goes down-market 2:40 AM, MAR 16, 2018 | By DAVE SHIFLETT If someone invented a television “raver filter” there would no doubt be national jubilation—until we realized that blocking the ravers would leave very little to watch. Everyone raves these days: sports announcers, politicians, airline executives, celebrities, cartoon characters, weather forecasters, dog trainers, and of course the growing army of what were once called “talking heads”—whose…

Read more