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About Matthew Stokes

Teacher. Husband. Father. Dog owner. Terrible runner. Awful prose writer. Derelict fiction author. Interests in the South, the Crimson Tide, barbecue and Townes Van Zandt.

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Author Archive

    The Weight of Being a Gentleman

    If you are a fan of college athletics, you are no doubt aware that the University of Alabama – my alma mater – lost one of its most beloved sons this past weekend. Mal Moore, who recently stepped down as athletics director , passed away on Saturday, March 30. A gentle, unassuming man in many […]

    The Unforgiving Law of Prep (Part One of Two)

    I cannot be preppy. I was not born in Philadelphia. I did not attend boarding school. I went to a public university. In the Southeast. I did not grow up in Made in America, LL Bean hand-me-downs. I occasionally shop at J. Crew (which is not preppy). I wear slim-fit chinos and shirts, which are […]

    Kingsley Amis and Disdain for the Truth

    Been in something of a creative funk as of late, so I am not going to belabor the point here. Professor Jim Dixon offers these thoughts in Kingsley Amis’ great novel Lucky Jim, and they are so indicative of the human condition: Give me the straight juice, but only if it goes down smooth. Even […]

    Ernest Hemingway and the Failure of Art

    From Paul Johnson’s amusing and enlightening book Intellectuals, a lengthy summation of the tragic façade that was the life of Ernest Hemingway: “Why did Hemingway long for death? It is by no means unusual among writers. His contemporary Evelyn Waugh, a writer in English of comparable stature during this period, likewise longer for death. But […]

    Waning Thoughts on the Waning Year

    As if you haven’t read enough year-end lists, I offer you a few thoughts. Best personal experience:  Adding the fourth member of Team Stokes, Lucy Carpenter, who arrived on the ubiquitous date of November 11, 2011.  Gentleman beware:  She will be reared on a steady diet of Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson, and I’m giving […]

    Joe Paterno and the Banality of Evil

    Recent news out of Penn State University is, of course, horrible.  No one who has read the news reports has managed to come away without a sickening feeling.    Commentary in print and on radio and television has been mostly somber, as the crimes are so outrageous that everyone has been measured in their tone.  I […]

    Grace in the White House

    We live in divided times, politically speaking. No doubt the readers of and contributors to Mockingbird have strong and varying opinions about politics, and about presidents past and current. Fortunately, this is not a political post. In spite of our real and sincere differences, surely we can all recognize the light of the Gospel poking […]

    Identity, Expectation and the Run-First Quarterback

    A couple of fascinating articles about the pressure on NFL quarterbacks have appeared in the last week.  First off is this piece from CBS Sports columnists Gregg Doyel.  Unusually even-tempered for the typically aggressive Doyel, the column is loaded with talk of expectations vs. talent, a specific football analogy for the broader study of identity […]

    Tom Waits Invites You to the Party

    I first ran across Tom Waits’ song “Come on Up to the House” not long after it was released, on the Grammy-award winning album Mule Variations. Occasionally an atheist friend would get a kick out of the jarring line “Come down off that Cross, we could use the wood.” The implication of course was that […]

    Reid Buckley on Forgiveness and a Father’s Love

    From the December 20, 1970 issue of Life magazine.  James Buckley, of the famous Buckley family, was elected senator from the state of New York, and Life magazine dedicated an expansive profile to his prolific family.  Here is an excerpt from the piece, written by the youngest Buckley son, the author Reid Buckley.  It offers […]