Sep 8 2016

Elephants in Lake Charles

Arlie Russell Hochschild

"YOU CAN TELL I'm a Republican," Janice Areno says as she invites me to sit down in her office. Elephants fill three shelves of a wall opposite her desk. One is blue-and-white porcelain, a second is gold, a third is red, white, and blue and stands near a young child's drawing of a yellow one. One is shaped into a teapot. Another holds an American flag. There are large elephants and small, wooden and glass. There are elephants standing and elephants trotting. Next to her awards for outstanding
Advice is so much more enjoyable to give than it is to receive that its long flourishing as a genre—from the conduct books and periodicals of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the current plethora of columns, livechats, and podcasts—could seem mysterious. Of course, watching other people being told what to do might be the most fun of all, which surely helps account for the enduring appeal of the advice column, and explains why living online seems only to enhance that appeal. Yet the
Among the mysteries of the strange animals that appear in A Ted Hughes Bestiary—a compilation edited by poet Alice Oswald of his writing about animals real and invented—is how often these creatures strike me as anything but strange. Taking one of his great plunges into the waterways—those “legendary” depths “deep as England”—he encounters an otter with a “round head like a tomcat,” or a pike with its “sag belly and the grin it was born with,” or a trout “Lifting its head in a shawl of water,” or
The novel Supremacist documents a vision quest undertaken by the narrator, whose name is David Shapiro, and who seems to bear some resemblance to the author, whose name is also David Shapiro. Here’s where complications arise: For example, “David Shapiro” is itself a pseudonym. The fictional David Shapiro, meaning the narrator, is a twenty-six-year-old actuary student who lives in Brooklyn. The meta-fictional David Shapiro, meaning the author, is apparently a Manhattan-based “corporate lawyer
In a recent issue of Film Comment, critic Kent Jones recalled the film culture that predominated in 1970s and ’80s New York, his memories weary and tinged with rancor. More cinephobic than cinephilic, this film culture, Jones argued, had more to do with the heady pronouncements of theory than it did with any authentic engagement with, or enthusiasm for, actual films. “Certain names and phrases and references were invoked so regularly that one had the impression of Benedictine monks chanting
Setting out in his Fiat 1100 from the Ligurian coast in June of 1959, Pier Paolo Pasolini spent the next couple months wending his way around Italy’s seemingly endless shoreline, arriving—at summer’s end—in the northeastern seaport of Trieste, not far from the Slovenian border. Commissioned by the magazine Successo, Pasolini’s spirited travelogue appeared in successive issues, illustrated with shots by the photographer Paolo di Paolo of chaises longues and beachside cafés, the holiday jet-set
On New Year’s Day of 1947, not long after Random House published Mezz Mezzrow’s memoir, Really the Blues, there took place at Town Hall a kind of musical-revue version of his life. “Mr. Mezzrow himself served as the narrator,” reported The New York Times the following day. “He told how he had encountered different jazz players in different places. Then the curtains opened and instrumentalists or singers acted the parts of the performers mentioned, performing in the styles of the originals.”
Few poets stood higher on Joseph Stalin’s hit list than Anna Akhmatova, the Soviet doyen of reverie and suffering who was born near the Black Sea in 1899 to an upper-class family. Like many in her literary milieu before the Russian Revolution, she revolted against drowsy symbolism and became a poet of spiritual clarity and of simplicity—but she always resisted the characterization of her poems as the work of a seductive poetess or a counter-revolutionary. She preferred to consider herself a poet
When the Supreme Court delivered its ruling in June 2015 confirming marriage equality, it was greeted as an historic civil rights achievement. Over the past several years, mounting marriage victories combined with a cresting wave of trans activism had already pushed legal advocates to think beyond gay marriage, the issue that has absorbed the bulk of the movement’s advocacy, resources, and powers of mass mobilization. From the legalization of homosexual assembly to the repeal of anti-sodomy laws
This past fall, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released the results of a long-awaited inquiry into the final phase of the twenty-five-year war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It uncovered widespread mass killing, torture, disappearances, assassination, and rape. While the report blamed both sides, it reserved the harshest criticism for the Sri Lankan state, whose actions it said may amount to “crimes against
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