Victoria Beale

Naomi Watts Takes On the Insufferable Cult of Diana
November 01, 2013

"The film is so vague, so fuzzily adoring, that it ultimately tells us far more about the annoying endurance of the cult of Diana than it does about the princess herself."

The Gospel of Success
Paulo Coelho's vapid philosophy
April 05, 2013

Paulo Coelho's vapid philosophy.

How to Be a Pseudo-Intellectual
January 03, 2013

It's even worse than any 101 class you took in college.

Splendor and Wreckage
March 20, 2012

Edward St. Aubyn's At Last is far less dramatic than any previous Melrose book, although the humor and perfectly observed dialogue remain. Its calm is

Who Are the London Rioters—And Why Can’t the Media Find Out?
August 11, 2011

These days, with any mass movement, from terrorist organizations to student protests, you almost immediately have a sense of who is involved. Given the ubiquity of social media and the generally elevated level of surveillance, no modern day gathering, whether for legitimate protest, mass violence, or the shades in between, should be difficult to minutely dissect and analyze. Indeed, we have come to expect knowing everything there is to be known about an event’s main actors, their shared characteristics, and how they came to behave in the way they did.

London Dispatch: How the Murdoch Scandal is Changing Britain
July 20, 2011

Two weeks ago, Britain was a nation lost, permanently ill at ease, with a mutant, hybrid government and an air of meekness and gloom. There wasn’t anything to distract us, to feel particularly ashamed or proud of—everything was just a bit depressing. Nine out of ten news stories were about Kate Middleton’s hats (too Canadian?) or clavicles (too pointy?). In Europe, we would have just looked insensitive if we had complained about our dull, entrenched problems, given the exuberant sleaziness in Italy and chaos in Greece.

The Virtuoso of Pastiche
May 24, 2011

In this book, Arthur Phillips outdoes himself with a conceit that requires nothing less than a “newly discovered” play by Shakespeare, complete with a