The Best Movie of the Year: Michael Haneke's Amour
December 12, 2012

Amour is an unsentimental film about an intense, selfish love,

Here We Go: Mitt's Middle-Class Upbringing
April 19, 2012

What's the best way to run for president as a private equity titan and son of a CEO in a time of rising worry about economic inequality, against an opponent who likes to note that he "wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth"? Well, you could accept your lucky lot in life and do everything possible in your proposals to offer opportunity to the less well-off. Or you could start revising your own biography. From today's Washington Post: Romney is sensitive to perceptions that he grew up wealthy, so Obama’s “silver spoon” remark could strike a nerve.

The Ideal and the Real
December 12, 2009

The Idea of Justice By Amartya Sen (Harvard University Press, 467 pp., $29.95) In his introduction to The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen asks the reader to imagine a scenario that will figure prominently throughout the book. Three children are arguing among themselves about which one of them should have a flute. The first child, Anne, is a trained musician who can make the best use of the flute. The second child, Bob, is the poorest of the three and owns no other toys or instruments. Clara, the third contender, happens to be the one who, with hard sustained labor, made the flute.

The Jerk
October 10, 2007

What made Ted Stevens such a famously bitter and vindictive man? Some people will tell you that the defining moment in the life of the powerful Alaska Republican senator, currently the target of a federal bribery investigation that threatens to end his storied career in disgrace, occurred at the end of an airport runway in 1978. In early December, Stevens was flying in a friend's small private plane from Juneau to Anchorage. The descending plane was just a few feet above the runway when it was caught by a sudden gust of wind that slammed it into the ground.

Conventions Upset
February 06, 2006

 Cachè (Hidden) (Sony Pictures Classics THE NEW FILM YEAR BEGAN in at least one heartening way: Daniel Auteuil arrived in a new picture. This French actor is so incredibly credible, so unostentatiously fine, that he makes his way from film to film without attracting the hoopla that attends more consciously virtuosic actors. I mention here only two of his many roles. In The Widow of Saint-Pierre, set on that French island, Auteuil was a nineteenth-century army captain whose spiritual tenor changes while he waits for the arrival of a guillotine to execute a murderer in his charge. In Apres Vous,

The Lincoln Bedroom
July 12, 1999

 I have confidence, Peacock, and my eyes are soft. The chairs, Queen Anne, the tables of night,             The beaded lamps, square pillows, more symmetric that the human heart, headboard of leaf-like nothing that can ever form.   As you love this bed it makes you think of the other bed, so short they had to lay him out diagonal.