Author: George Hunka

  • Richard Foreman

    Richard Foreman

    I stopped writing about theatre a decade ago, around the same time that Richard Foreman retired from the stage. I’ve been back to the theatre a few times since then, but I haven’t yet come across theatrical experiences quite as liberating as Foreman’s plays. His work was something of an acquired taste, perhaps, but I […]

  • Fearless stupidity

    Fearless stupidity

    Cunk on Earth, a new documentary series parody co-produced by the BBC and Netflix and premiered on the BBC in September, packs more laughs into every minute than any show I’ve seen in years. Grimly moronic broadcaster Philomena Cunk, played by Diane Morgan, hosts a six-episode series about the history of civilization, endlessly spewing inaccuracy […]

  • From the north

    From the north

    I first became aware of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy through a reading of Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks during my sophomore year of college. Towards the end of the book, middle-class merchant Thomas Buddenbrooks, in late middle age and grimly contemplating the slow disarray into which his business and family had fallen over three or four generations, takes […]

  • Anniversary day

    Anniversary day

    Today, November 17, marks the 33rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the 1989 protest in Czechoslovakia that led to the overthrow of the Communist regime there and the rise of Václav Havel to the presidency of the new republic. I visited Prague for the first time the following year, and, as the saying goes, “Bliss […]

  • The gospels according to E.V. Rieu

    The gospels according to E.V. Rieu

    After a glancing-at-best familiarity with the bible as a young man, I started to turn to it more and more over the past twenty years, and back in 2018 I came across E.V. Rieu’s contemporary version. It engendered the below consideration of bible translation (more recently I’ve been intrigued by this new translation of the […]

  • A portrait of the artist as a young satirist

    A portrait of the artist as a young satirist

    The title of this post, first published here in April 2016, is I’m afraid somewhat misleading. As I look over all I’ve written in my life, I find that very little of it might be characterized as “satire,” however much I admire the form and find a perverse comfort in it. Maybe I missed my […]

  • Ribbon cutting

    Ribbon cutting

    Over the past few days I’ve been putting some finishing touches on a redesign of this web site, which debuted over twenty years ago as Superfluities. Since then it’s gone through a variety of iterations as my interests and indeed my life have evolved, and with the onset of my sixtieth birthday earlier this year […]

  • 225 minutes

    225 minutes

    Originally published here on June 23, 2016. The wife is away and the kids went to bed at about 9:00, so I spent some part of this evening listening to Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, in the 1962 recording conducted by Otto Klemperer. Not all of it, I’m afraid; only the first 75 minutes or so. […]

  • My people

    My people

    As I repost some of my past essays, I offer the below, originally published here in 2019, before the current anguish. I should note that additional research points to the very real possibility that small municipalities like Urman were incorporated into the Ternopil administrative region some time ago — rendering genealogical research even more difficult […]

  • Saturday serenade: From chaos to order and back again

    Saturday serenade: From chaos to order and back again

    In his study of fin-de-siècle Vienna, Carl Schorske turned not to Schoenberg, Berg, or Webern to introduce his themes, but to Maurice Ravel’s 1920 La valse. “I feel this work a kind of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz, linked in my mind with the impression of a fantastic whirl of destiny,” Ravel said, and Schorske […]