Selma

What a stunning, important, moving, magnificent film. It might have not won the Oscar, but it will surely enter collective cultural memory and countless syllabi. The entire ensemble of actors and actresses was great, lead by a brilliant David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. Great directing and cinematography, too. For me, the “4 little girls” …

In literary fiction, male writers who use lightness and humor, who spin wildly in the space between one sentence and the next, who push against what’s expected, are described as “wry” or “satirical” or just plain “funny.” Women are bestowed a tiny, glittering bless-her-heart tiara of “whimsy.” Reflexive condescension absolves us from serious engagement. Miranda …

The Colorless Murakami

Here are a few thoughts I had while reading Haruki Murakami’s current novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. A book I didn’t hate, but didn’t particularly like, either. This includes hints at major plot points, so be warned if you care about spoilers.  This is the first time the prose of a …

Somehow, Wes Anderson has become the Niles Crane of contemporary cinema. He’s transformed himself from an oddball perfectionist into a snooty, pompous fussbudget. Though he still arranges gorgeous color palettes, striking geometric frames, and era-blending visions that are part French New Wave, part Vogue photo shoot, when he sticks his characters into those shots, he …

When the journalist Michael Hastings died in Los Angeles in June at the age of 33, mainstream journalism did not afford his memory much respect. His widow, Elise Jordan, complained to The New York Times about the characterization of his life’s work in the paper’s short, to-the-point obituary. But the factors that made Hastings unlauded …

Rachel Maddow’s Drift

Rachel Maddow’s book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power is a good narrative of how the US turned from a strong military superpower into a bloated military superpower, how the decision power to enter war shifted from country to commander-in-chief and of all the skirmishes, scandals and absurdities on the way. It’s very, very …

Songs for Swinging Lovers

I sometimes think that the Indelicates are what would’ve happened if Bernard Black from Black Books had started a (very, very good) band. The Indelicates have released a new record called Songs for Swinging Lovers, and once again it is filled with sarcastic lyrics, deceiving melodies and poetic contempt. Think Bernard Black hanging out with Art Brut and they’re …