Recommended reading: Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." While this highly influential historical analysis is more than 50 years old, it describes in detail American movements which are still with us, which in fact are more powerful than they were in Hofstadter wrote. The essay on "Goldwater and Pseudo-Conservative Politics" is especially enlightening, considering that the current occupant of the White House well fits Hofstadter's definition of a pseudo-conservative. And the titular essay describes emotions still roiling the country.

Recommended viewing: Another aspect of current society is the treatment of women and the way the current government embodies a patriarchy. That makes even more important the airing of recent TV series such as "GLOW," "Big Little Lies," "Claws" and "One Day at a Time," all of which involve women bonding with each other, frequently in opposition to domineering men. All are also good series, and ones that get how women are too often portrayed; "Big Little Lies" and "GLOW," for instance, present what in less able writing would simply be conflict among women over social standing and men, instead presenting the women as sensible enough to work out their problems for common goals. "Claws" more straightforwardly pits the women working in a nail salon as reluctant partners in criminal enterprises, but able through working together -- and with a powerful woman -- to make their own way. "One Day at a Time," the reworking of the old sitcom, presents three generations of women who, even if their opinions on some issues differ, stay close to each other, sharing wisdom even in the face of men who do not understand them. (Also, it's funny.) Too much of what we see in life day to day suggests that men will always have the upper hand; these series offer a better path.

Recommended listening: Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, "Not Dark Yet," a harmonizing collection including covers of Nirvana, the Louvin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Nick Cave and others, including Bob Dylan in the title tune. I've been a fan of Lynne's work for some time, particularly her album of Dusty Springfield covers, and she and sister Moorer blend beautifully here -- although "Lithium" in particular finds them shoving aside sweet harmonies in favor of sharper edges.

Recommended moviegoing: "Logan Lucky," the Channing Tatum-Adam Driver caper picture directed by Stephen Soderbergh. I've always seen Soderbergh's work as a bit chilly going back to "sex, lies and videotape." There's usually a distance to his treatment of characters and emotion. So it was surprising, and touching, when a scene in "Logan Lucky" proved disarmingly corny -- pulling on the heartstrings in the middle of the story of an elaborate heist. But we're meant to come to like these Logan brothers, and that scene seals some of the deal. That heist, too, is a bit of a mindbender, a scheme by consistently unlucky men -- not only the Logans but their dead-end cohorts -- hoping to break their bad streak. Logic dictates that almost nothing they do should work -- but maybe they are at last lucky Logans. See for yourself. Good performances (check out what Daniel Craig does) and a lot of amusing plot turns, right up to the end.

Not recommended, by any stretch: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the big-screen remodeling of Beatles songs, with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton starring, and support by George Burns, Aerosmith, Earth Wind and Fire, Alice Cooper, Billy Preston and Steve Martin. It comes to Blu-ray on Sept. 26, and it is as thoroughly awful as I remembered it from first viewing in 1978. Even when the song performances are OK (EWF's "Got to Get You Into My Life," Aerosmith's "Come Together"), the visuals are ghastly. And the plot, such as it is, is pure swill.