After the tumult of the 2016 election season has subsided, one result can be safely predicted: The most successful “spinners”—speechwriters and strategists, digital gurus and data miners, pollsters and PR people—will be alternately praised as masterminds and pilloried as manipulators. For
The old saw that Los Angeles is a city without a past went into American culture’s discard pile some time ago. If the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots, Marilyn Monroe, Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, Charles Manson, Proposition 13—the dawn of modern conservatism’s anti-tax mania—and Rodney King
One of the strangest spectacles in contemporary American politics is libertarians’ schizophrenic attitude toward the power of the state. We are supposed to hate the government, we are told, but mostly just the feds: One of Rand Paul’s big crowd-pleasers is to demand the return of power to the
In Wilfrid Sheed’s caustically hilarious 1970 novel, Max Jamison, the titular hero—the “dean of American critics,” as someone introduces him, and also a bit of a bastard—can’t shut down his brilliant critical instincts even when off the clock. When is a brilliant critic ever off the clock?
William Eggleston’s Democratic Forest begins with a single tree. Then, across ten volumes and more than a thousand photographs, we see a collective landscape, a vision that sweeps around the United States and overseas, through city centers and to the most forlorn edges of forest on a country road.
We had a pleasant little party the other day, what can I say: tra-la-la, Aldanov in tails, Bunin in the vilest dinner-jacket, Khmara with a guitar and Kedrova, Ilyusha in such narrow trousers that his legs were like two black sausages, old, sweet Teffi—and all this in a revoltingly
The reason we love a song usually has to do with longing: for a person, a time, a way of life. That is why my teenage songs have stuck by me. Back then, I did hardly anything but long. This yearning led me to doggedly pursue music and unreasonably identify with what I liked. Jonathan Lethem memorably
I sometimes think of Election Night 2008 as analogous to the first manned moon landing in 1969. Something that had seemed, just a few years earlier, imaginable only in speculative fiction had suddenly become real before our eyes. In both cases, an American achievement was celebrated by people around
A generation gap divides readers of the New York Times. On one side, it’s the publisher of the Pentagon Papers, the first draft of history, the indispensable source. On the other side, the Pentagon Papers do not define the Times at all; failure to publish the Edward Snowden papers does. If you were
In 1967, when he was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, David Lynch, the future director of Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, made a mixed-media sculpture, a Rube Goldberg device that, as Dennis Lim describes it in his thorough, compact, and illuminating new book on Lynch,