The public pillorying of Janet Malcolm is one of the scandals of American letters. ... why is it Malcolm, a virtuoso stylist and a subtle, exciting thinker, who drives critics into a rage? What journalist of her caliber is as widely disliked or as often accused of bad faith? And why did so few of her colleagues stand up for her during the circus of a libel trial that scarred her career? In the animus toward her there is something almost personal. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Jun 1, 2011 -
A cure for blocked screenwriters
"Michels also told the writer to get an egg timer. Following Michels’s instructions, every day he set it for one minute, knelt in front of his computer in a posture of prayer, and begged the universe to help him write the worst sentence ever written. When the timer dinged, he would start typing. He told Michels that the exercise was stupid, pointless, and embarrassing, and it didn’t work. Michels told him to keep doing it."
posted by puny human
on Apr 1, 2011 -
"My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano and, alas, if you are hearing or seeing this message it means that I’ve been murdered by President Álvaro Colom, with the help of Gustavo Alejos." Rosenberg went on, "The reason I'm dead, and you're therefore watching this message, is only and exclusively because during my final moments I was the lawyer to Mr. Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, who, in cowardly fashion, were assassinated by President Álvaro Colom, with the consent of his wife, Sandra de Colom, and with the help of . . . Gustavo Alejos."
posted by vidur
on Mar 28, 2011 -
Devadasi are women in southeastern India who were dedicated in their youth to the goddess Yellamma. When they reach puberty they are forced into sex work. Once they were women of high status, but now they've been relegated to the outskirts of society. The devadasi practice goes back a long way in history, and was once celebrated in poetry. When God Is a Customer
, a collection of translated classical Telugu poems about the devadasi, is free to read online. Their modern life is described by William Dalrymple in The New Yorker
and in a video interview with filmmaker Beeban Kidron
which includes clips from her documentary Sex, Death and the Gods. The devadasi have been targeted by exploitative Western media for a long time, but have recently started to hit back
, using the internet
to disseminate their views.
posted by Kattullus
on Jan 22, 2011 -
There are generally two approaches to thinking about games: narratology and ludology. The first emphasizes story, the second play. The next time I played Super Mario, on the Wii (you can order all the vintage games), I found myself in a narratological mode. Mario reminded me of K. and his pursuit of the barmaid Frieda, in Kafka’s “The Castle,” and of the kind of lost-loved-one dreams that “The Castle” both mimics and instigates.
The New Yorker profiles the father of modern video games, Shigeru Miyamoto.
posted by incomple
on Dec 13, 2010 -
In 2007, Beck, then the host of “Glenn Beck,” on CNN’s Headline News, brought to his show a John Birch Society spokesman named Sam Antonio, who warned of a government plot to abolish U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, “and eventually all throughout the Americas.” Beck told Antonio, “When I was growing up, the John Birch Society—I thought they were a bunch of nuts.” But now, he said, “you guys are starting to make more and more sense to me.”A secret history of Glenn Beck, by way of Robert Welch, Willard Cleon Skousen and the John Birch Society.
From the New Yorker.
posted by gerryblog
on Oct 15, 2010 -
“A lot of people who are worried about privacy and those kinds of issues will take any minor misstep that we make and turn it into as big a deal as possible,” he said. “We realize that people will probably criticize us for this for a long time, but we just believe that this is the right thing to do.”
With David Fincher's scathing film The Social Network
set to hit theaters on October 1st, reticent Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is interviewed
by Jose Antonio Vargas of The New Yorker.
posted by cmgonzalez
on Sep 12, 2010 -
"He leaped from one rooftop to the next, like a “human fly.” When he reached for his whip, thugs scattered and miscreants wept. He once arrested forty gamblers in their lair, single-handed. He was a master of disguises..."
, the real Charlie Chan.
posted by griphus
on Aug 8, 2010 -
in a Swamp
: The Paintings
of Charles Burchfield
. "Burchfield’s primary subject was landscape, often focusing on his immediate surroundings: his garden, the views from his windows, snow turning to slush, the sounds of insects and bells and vibrating telephone lines, deep ravines, sudden atmospheric changes, the experience of entering a forest at dusk, to name but a few. He often imbued these subjects with highly expressionistic light, creating at times a clear-eyed depiction of the world and, at other times, a unique mystical and visionary experience of nature." I recommend the slide show in the first link as the best introduction. More audio slide shows from Peter Schjeldahl here
posted by puny human
on Aug 5, 2010 -
CityLights interview with Pauline Kael
(approx. 40 mins, NSI, 1982) Topics include Cecil B. Demille, Robert Preston, John Boorman’s Zardoz, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, James Bond films, and Lorenzo Semple Jr. More interviews from the National Screen Institute and Brian Linehan here
, including John Candy
, Eugene Levy
, Christopher Plummer
, and Ian McKellen
posted by puny human
on Jul 8, 2010 -
was a New York poet, even though he lived less than half of his 40 years in the city. He grew up in Grafton, MA, was a sonarman in WWII and roomed with Edward Gorey at Harvard before moving to the city he would forever be associated with. Naturally, there was am article on him
in The New Yorker a couple of years ago. We're lucky enough to have a number of videos
of O'Hara, including a reading of the lovely "Having a Coke with You
. There's also quite a bit of audio
of him, and I can't but recommend this mp3 of John Ashbery, Alfred Leslie, Bill Berkson and Michelle Elligott reminiscing about O'Hara
at the MOMA, where he worked. And there are quite a few
of his poems
, as well as five of the poem-paintings
he did with Norman Bluhm
. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Feb 15, 2010 -
Fans know him as Tonéx. His eccentric style and vertiginous high notes helped make him one of the most acclaimed praise singers of the past decade, and, for a time, one of the most successful. ... This past September, the television host known as Lexi broadcast an interview [Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3] with Tonéx on the Word Network, a gospel channel, in which he made his clearest public statements about his sexual orientation. He is, within the church world, the first high-profile gospel singer in history to come out of the closet. Within hours, he started to realize what he had done. His relationship with the mainstream gospel industry was effectively over.
From a fascinating article in the most recent New Yorker
[abstract only]. This podcast
[freely accessible] with the author of the article, Kelefah Sanneh, delves into the rarely discussed "secret" in the black church that many gospel musicians have been and are gay
. Sanneh touches on the stories of both James Cleveland
, the creator of the modern gospel sound who died of AIDS in 1991, and one of his backup singers, Carl Bean, who became famous for the 70s disco hit "I Was Born This Way."
One contemporary preacher and gospel singer that Sanneh discusses in relation to Tonéx is Donnie McClurkin
, a man made infamous during the Obama campaign for railing against homosexuals in Southern Black churches. McClurkin has admitted to engaging in homosexual acts for 20 years
but does not identify as gay and believes a strong Christian faith can deliver a person from the "sin" of homosexuality. He recently delivered a sermon directed at young black homosexuals in the church, specifically calling out Tonéx. [McClurkin sermon Part 1
/ Part 2
/ Part 3
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates
on Feb 2, 2010 -
Michelin inspectors have been anonymous as CIA spooks. Until now
. And now
. The New Yorker has a rare interview with one.
posted by converge
on Nov 18, 2009 -
Such are the contradictions that seem to riddle not just Gladwell's thinking but the thinking on Gladwell's thinking, and perhaps even the thinking on thinking on that, and it is precisely these slippery but substantive contradictions that have allowed Gladwell to tout his revolutionary "big ideas" without couching them in anything so mundane as a logical, well-supported or otherwise sound argument. Gladwell for Dummies
posted by defenestration
on Nov 5, 2009 -
writes about basketball
, hybrid airships
, nuclear weapons
, bark canoes
, the Swiss Army
, the merchant marines
, dissident Soviet artists
, long-distance trucking
, and - Pulitzer Prize-winningly - geology (282kb PDF)
. He discusses his work here
. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 30, 2009 -
Atticus Finch and the limits of Southern liberalism.
An essay in the latest The New Yorker
by Malcolm Gladwell. "Atticus Finch is faced with jurors who have one set of standards for white people like the Ewells and another set for black folk like Tom Robinson. His response is to adopt one set of standards for respectable whites like Boo Radley and another for white trash like Bob Ewell. A book that we thought instructed us about the world tells us, instead, about the limitations of Jim Crow liberalism in Maycomb, Alabama."
posted by billysumday
on Aug 10, 2009 -
Michael Savage unplugged
. Behind the scenes
. "This year, Savage is celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of his radio career. On the air one day, he marked the occasion in typically perverse fashion: by thinking of all the listeners who stuck around, and all the ones who didn’t. “Some were fifteen, they’re now thirty,” he said. “Some were five, they’re now twenty. They grew up on me. Their fathers are dead; the guys who had it playing in the car are gone. They’re still here, they can’t believe it. I’m their voice of freedom. I’m the last hope. I’m the beacon. I’m the Statue of Liberty. I’m Michael Savage. I’ll be back."”
posted by Xurando
on Jul 30, 2009 -