James Wolcott

Stanley Kauffmann and I went way back together, without ever having met. The New Republic was the first magazine I subscribed to as a high school teen, and Kauffmann the first film critic I regularly read. He was my introducer to Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and, for me the crowning name, Yasujiro Ozu. At that avid, foraging stage in my self-education, I barely registered that there were other critics sitting in their cockpits feasting on the images whooshing by, apart from the phrase-snapping stunt pilots at Time and Newsweek, w

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A Tribute: Stanley Kauffmann, 1916-2013

Unflagging dedication and unclouded acuteness of perception

We are saddened to report that Stanley Kauffmann, our film critic of more than five decades, died early this morning at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York at age 97. We will be adding to this tribute throughout the day.

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James Wolcott reviews Martin Amis's "Lionel Asbo: State of England."

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The Fatal Handjob

Indignation By Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, 236 pp., $26) College students today, showered with condoms and tastefully preserving their drunken, tonguetapping escapades on Facebook and MySpace for future in--laws and employers, have no appreciation of the sacrifices made by those who came before, the lusty pioneers of the sexual revolution. They take for granted the blowjobs and easy lay-ups made possible through the guerrilla activities of forgotten combatants in the early, undeclared stages of America's war for erotic independence.

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Smugged by Reality

Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York By Adam Gopnik (Alfred A. Knopf, 336 pp., $25) I SOMETIMES WONDER if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy. If so, mission accomplished. Mind you, he finds himself in fine company in my illustrious literary perp walk. Francine Prose, with her pinched perceptions and humorless hauteur—every time she brings out a new book (she is depressingly diligent), I find myself grumbling, “Her again?” I’ve never gotten the point of Paul Auster and his swami mystique and probably never shall, unless I move to Brooklyn and achieve phosphorescence.

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Meow Mix

Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families Edited by Leslie Morgan Steiner (Random House, 336 pp.,$24.95) To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife By Caitlin Flanagan (Little, Brown, 244 pp., $22.95) Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World By Linda R. Hirshman (Viking, 101 pp., $19.95) I. Watching the Mommy Wars makes me mighty glad I’m not a Daddy.

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Yada Yada Yada

Story of My Life By Jay McInerney (Atlantic Monthly Press, $16.95) Beware of a novel built upon a catchphrase. A flip curl eventually loses its hold. “Story of my life,” toss-away phrase for a toss-away life, is the signature curl of Alison Poole, postmodern boy-toy by night, aspiring actress by day. “Acting is the first thing that’s made me get up in the morning. The first year I was in New York I didn’t do anything but guys and blow. Staying out all night at the Surf Club and Zulu, waking up at five in the afternoon with plugged sinuses and sticky hair.

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