Novelist Jessica Shattuck wrote a New York Times op-ed about the emotional quandary of loving her grandmother, an unrepentant Nazi. “I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi” is a delicate lyrical piece about the complexities of human nature and the intersections of the ordinary, the commonplace, the heinous…


Celebrating Underrated Soul Songstress Nikka Costa

Nikka Costa

You know that thing that TV stations do, when they turn up the volume on the commercials so they can still try to sell you stuff you don’t want when you’ve gotten up to check the clothes in the dryer? I usually resent that, but this time I didn’t. Before…


American Dads Against “Outsiders”: What Would MLK Say?

June 2020

I’ve been deeply disturbed by two ads recently appearing on local television here in Middle Tennessee, home to Nashville. One promotes a local business; one promotes a candidate for public office. Both include a Fifties-style American family: working dad, pretty mom, healthy-looking children.

Ad 1’s Tennessee family features…


How the Moral Majority became (yet always was) the Immoral Minority

Charla McComic believes that her son’s health insurance premium decreased after he lost his job because of POTUS-45. As a result, she doesn’t believe she needs to worry about her granddaughter. She feels “safe” because of this president. She claims to be a Christian. The only other person for whom…


Louise Penny

An Exploration of Race in the Award-Winning Novels of Canada’s Queen of Mysteries

Canada’s Louise Penny is one of the finest writers of mysteries in the world today. Yes, this is a bold claim, an audacious assertion, but it’s nonetheless true. I don’t say this because nearly every book she has written has won some major award or acknowledgment in Canada, Great Britain…


Mystery Music on American TV

It started with an iPhone ad — one of three ads, so far, that have led me on odysseys of discovery. I’m definitely on the same page with the folks selecting music for these ads. The choice of lesser-known artists and styles whets my musicology chops with unexpected surprises, expanding…


Early April 2020

Occasionally, I try to glam things up to lift my spirits during quasi-quarantine, as I muse on our society’s failings. I say “quasi” because my former (?) Confederate home state is not taking the pandemic seriously. Were it not for a mayor and school board with sense…


I been had. I been took. I been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Yes, Malcolm X reportedly said it first, but it still applies. It started with a sexy little song I heard on a car ad. Every time it came on, my hips began to swivel, my shoulders began to…


Well-Meaning White Person: You’ve hurt my feelings. Why do you hate all white people?

World-Weary Minority: I do not hate white people and I don’t even hate all White People. I try not to hate any people. Hate is a soul-corroding acid and I want no part of it…


Coronavirus

Beginning of May 2020

There’s something in the news that’s not about Tr*mp acting a fool (like Voldemort, I think his name is hexed). What, I hear you thinking, could possibly supplant the morbidly unhealthy obsession the media has with his (or his mask-trashing culture warriors’) every outrage, from juvenile…

y kendall

A Stanford-trained musicologist who recently took a career swerve after 20 yrs in Texas. With a Columbia MFA in writing & translation she moved back home to TN.

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