Ian Garrick Mason

Selected Essays

I've written for a wide variety of publications over the past fifteen years -- The Times Literary Supplement, The Boston Globe, The Spectator, The New Statesman, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus -- as well as for my own blogs and online journals. The following is a selection of recent and older pieces; over time, I'll add to it.


Tidiness, the state, and us

Urban messiness is a trigger for all manner of negative emotions -- a phenomenon that authoritarian governments have learned to exploit

How to get into a pantheon

Once reserved for the immortal gods, the concept of a pantheon has undergone significant change over the past two millenia -- driven by nationalisms, rivalries, cultural change, and increasingly, public enthusiasms.

A garish white light

Writing seems so simple, just a matter of placing one word after another. So why is it so hard for us to write what we really mean?

Review: Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power

An administration undercut by subterfuge and paranoia, foreign policy challenges inflated with systematic hyperbole... Well, it seemed odd at the time.

Magnetic suns and moth balls

In James Gray's film "Two Lovers", a man badly in need of rescue ignores his potential rescuer while finding himself incapable of rescuing someone even worse off than himself.

A glimpse of beauty

Amid the infinite cornucopia of enticing images served up to us at our whims, we are often attracted most to those images of beauty that dote on us the least.

Review: This Republic of Suffering

Drew Gilpin Faust's illuminating book details the impact that combat death on an industrialized scale had on the young American republic during and after the Civil War.

Using Format