Jem Casey Explained

Many readers write to ask about Rake contributor Jem Casey. He is modest, and unlikely to speak up for himself, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to answer a few questions that frequently come up. Under several different pen names, Jem Casey has written stories for magazines like the Oxford American, Ploughshares, the Prairie […]

Forgiving Rick Kahn

Fritz Mondale said Wednesday that the effect of the tragedy on those closest to Wellstone didn’t justify the tone of his memorial service, “But we’ve all made mistakes. Can’t we find it in our hearts to forgive?” I certainly hope so—for a couple of reasons. First, how do we blame Rick Kahn for an electorate […]

Mock the Vote 2002

A few years ago, Gerard Cosloy detailed the reasons why we shouldn’t encourage voting. The founder of Matador Records (and legendary Gen-X curmudgeon) argued convincingly that the last thing this nation needs are legislators put into office by the same people who have made Eminem, Spongebob Squarepants, and Miller Lite what they are today. Is […]

Wellstone the Teacher

My son Matt, who is a freshman at Carleton College, called me early last Friday afternoon to tell me that he’d just heard that Paul Wellstone had been killed in a plane crash. He’d got the news right after getting out of his freshman political science class, the same class I’d taken at Carleton 32 […]

Portait of the Artist as an Old Master

Thirty-three years ago, Richard Lack started his atelier for classical realism. The modernists laughed, groaned, and went back to their wine. Decades later, the arts movement that found a happy home in Minneapolis may be the most exciting thing happening in the nation. You walk up a flight of stairs and down the flourescent-lit cinderblock […]

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Heartland

The opening of Heartland could not have been timed better. With winter approaching, our primitive souls yearn for the comfort food that will sustain us through the next six months. Lenny Russo, the former executive chef at W.A. Frost, has crafted a North American Midwest cuisine (who knew?) consisting of all locally grown produce, nuts […]

Viewers Like You? by Laurie Ouellette

When our associate editor’s sister writes a book, we can’t help but think you should buy it. Especially if that book was the successful and superhip result of a Ph.D. dissertation on the unlikely subject of contemporary television programming and viewing. In Viewers Like You?, Laurie Ouellette finally explains why, despite knowing better, we vegged […]

Cicero, The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt

Many people don’t understand that “May you live in interesting times” is a curse. It is certainly one that befell Cicero, who was indeed Rome’s greatest politician, in the sense both of statesman and opportunist. Marcus Tullius Cicero was a contemporary of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Mark Antony, and Augustus, the figures that did most to […]

The Best Case Scenario Handbook, by John Tierney

Since the odds of you being attacked by a shark are about the same as being marooned on a desert island with Jennifer Lopez or Russell Crowe, New York Times writer John Tierney has written The Best Case Scenario Handbook, a parody of those successful worst-case handbooks. If you are going to learn how to […]

Johnny Cash, American IV: The Man Comes Down

If anyone has earned the right to use such an inclusive title for a series of records as “American Recordings,” it’s Johnny Cash. He connects with an amazingly broad set of audiences, from collegiate hipsters to presidents Nixon and Reagan, and is equally able to impress pious churchgoers and (as Merle Haggard once observed) “to […]