1. So Sarah Palin turns out to be a kickass orator. I'm glad, though I'm no more likely to vote for John McCain because of it. She speaks almost as well as Barack Obama, and that means we actually have two good orators in this presidential election (whereas in 2004 we had zero, and I do mean zero).
This article is part of the Reviewing the New York Times Book Review series. The next post in the series is Reviewing the David Foster Wallace Obituaries: September 14 2008. The previous post in the series is Reviewing the Review: August 31 2008.
A few years ago, there was a meme floating around the intertubes that centered around the concept of literary speed dating, which is speed dating, except with books. The point was to list the books you'd take to such an event as a means of showcasing your personality, and also to list the books that, if you saw someone with them, you'd think were attractive picks.
Slavoj Zizek, a furry and fiery "rockstar philosopher" from Slovenia who calls himself a Communist and rages at the hypocrisy of wealthy American liberals, appeared in a raucous debate at the New York Public Library last night. Zizek's opposite partner was French activist and intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, who typically argues for idealistic solutions and pragmatic steps towards a more peaceful world.
Bernard-Henri Levy can usually command a stage by himself (he made a strong impression on me earlier this year in a presentation about Darfur with Mia Farrow). But Slavoj Zizek was the bigger draw for last night's crowd, and Zizek's loud, passionate arguments frequently threw Levy into the role of straight man. Bounding with energy, sputtering, shouting and pointing fingers in a way that is not often seen at polite literary panel discussions, Zizek kept the conversation so riveting and fast-moving that moderator Paul Holdengraber could not bear to break in to attend to questions from the crowd.
How does Roth get away with this stuff? The cliffhanger, the obscure portent, the withholding of essential information? He doesn’t use these antiquated devices ironically.
Well, that's what I've been saying. He doesn't get away with it.
This article is part of the Reviewing the New York Times Book Review series. The next post in the series is Reviewing the Review: September 28 2008. The previous post in the series is Reviewing the David Foster Wallace Obituaries: September 14 2008.
What do corporate book publishers like Random House, Simon and Schuster and Farrar Straus and Giroux have in common with financial powerhouses like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG? If you guessed that they are all doomed, you're wrong.
You see a wide variety of reading materials on the R train. Many languages, many formats, cheap novels, literary novels, lots of bibles and other religious literature, history books, tabloid reports of the day's tidings. Everybody is engrossed.
i ran out t the phone booth
made a call t my wife. she wasnt home.
i panicked. i called up my best friend
but the line was busy
then i went t a party but couldnt find a chair
I'm coming at today's post from a slightly off-topic direction, mainly because I'm thinking about inspiration and discipline and the idea comes from an off-topic place. I hope you can forgive me.
Shea Stadium, a futuristic perfect circle ballpark cast in concrete over the ash piles of Flushing Meadows, Queens, has now gone dark forever. It will be replaced by CitiField, right next door. As a lifelong Mets fan and neighbor of Shea Stadium, I am upset to see the great building go and I don't like the corporate label on the new ballpark. But at the same time, I'm grateful the Mets will remain in Flushing Meadows Park, and I like it that CitiField is architecturally based upon Ebbets Field, historic home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Needless to say, I loved Shea Stadium. I even wrote a book about it (I still say The Summer of the Mets was a damn great book, but nobody loves a self-published novel). I've probably seen at least sixty Mets games there, including the intense 2006 Mets, the doomed 2000 Mets, the boring 1995 Mets, the legendary 1986 Mets, the hapless 1973 "You Gotta Believe" Tug McGraw Mets, and, yes, my friends, when I was seven years old I saw Tom Seaver pitch against the Chicago Cubs with the "Impossible Dream" 1969 Mets. I also drove past the stadium about four billion times, saw the Police with Joan Jett and R.E.M. there in 1983 ... me and that big concrete bowl go back a long way.