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Philip Martin

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PHILIP MARTIN: A president, not a king

About 10 o'clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity, and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York ... with the best dispositions to render service to my country in obedience to its call , but with less hope of answering its expectations.

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Open minds

Crystal Bridges’ “Soul of a Nation” offers history as well as art of black artists

BENTONVILLE -- "Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus, the Proust of the Papuans?" Saul Bellow once infamously asked an interviewer who may have been probing the great man for his views on multiculturalism, an incident that produced a minor firestorm -- although the writer alleged in The New York Times it was the result of a misunderstanding on the interviewer's part.

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Murray's Novels & Poems a joy to read

That Albert Murray is not as well-known as James Baldwin or Norman Mailer is more a (mis)function of the American celebrity machine than any discernible daylight between the quality of these public intellectuals' thought or work; what Mailer and Baldwin could be and Murray never was is reducible to caricature.

College wasted on the young

Last week my mother told me my brother-in-law is planning on retiring this August. I don't feel weird about this at all. My brother-in-law is older than me. By about a month.

PHILIP MARTIN: Don't forget to dance

Dear Bart Hester (and you too, Bob Ballinger),

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Black American cinema: designing a syllabus

Maybe irritation is a legitimate reaction to the existence of things such as Black History Month. (Any time you add a leading adjective you risk compartmentalization and ghettoization.) In a more perfect world, black history would be better integrated into the larger narrative. James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston would be known as writers and newspaper columnists wouldn't make a special effort to highlight the contributions of African Americans during February.

PHILIP MARTIN: The humor in sharing secret shame

It's hard to be truly funny.

ON FILM: Even Oscar gets it right sometimes

I'm not much of an awards show guy.

PHILIP MARTIN: Justifying our illusions

"I admit I am sickened at the purchase of slaves, but I must be mumm, for how could we do without sugar or rum?"

PHILIP MARTIN: The stuff of dreams, desires and GOATs

A lot of my dreams are about sports.