Books and Arts
On Making Moral Judgments About 'White Power' Music
August 10, 2012
It has been fashionable in the wake of Wade Michael Page’s tragic acts in Wisconsin to speculate on whether the White Power music he listened to helped stoke him into the senseless murders he committed. Such speculations, however, are as incoherent as they are pointless—and they are marked, above all, by a cloying air of self-congratulation. A comparison with another musical genre helps put the debate into relief.
Parker Posey’s guest appearance on the season premiere of “New Girl”—announced earlier this week—will mark the first time that Posey, “indie queen” of the ’90s, has shared a screen with Zooey Deschanel, indie queen of the millennial set. Time magazine gave Posey the title in 1997, after she starred in a string of low-budget independent films such as Party Girl and Dazed and Confused. And Deschanel, in the past few years, has been similarly anointed by outlets from New York magazine’s Vulture blog to NPR. What makes an indie queen?
MOMA's Exhibition on Childhood Doesn't Add Up
August 07, 2012
Nobody can deny that “Century of the Child: Growing By Design 1900-2000,” at the Museum of Modern Art, is a great looking show. The ambience in the galleries is cool and bright, with scores of children’s books, toys, furnishings, and baubles, many by the legendary movers and shakers of twentieth-century art and design, boldly arranged in big, white rooms. The darker themes explored here—including the toll that war and poverty have taken on the lives of children—do little to disrupt the general sense that museumgoers are being invited to have a jolly good time.
The Inscrutable Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe
August 06, 2012
Fifty years ago, late on August 4 or in the early hours of August 5—so little can be said of her with certainty—Marilyn Monroe died, and began her life in legend. This was only 50 years ago, in Los Angeles, when she was a very important if vague person who may have known even more important persons. There were doctors in attendance, and then coroners; there were police investigations. The world decided it was shocked and stricken by the sudden departure of the 36-year-old, yet not surprised.
Ryan Lochte turns 28 today. He has achieved a tremendous amount for such a young age, rising to the very top of the international swimming world and racking up 11 career Olympic medals. And yet, if this highlight reel of his interviews is to be believed, he thinks that seven times four comes out to 21. Can he really as slow out of the pool as he is fast in it? Who cares, seems to be the answer for the many, many women who have joined the internet's informal Ryan Lochte fan club this week. In fact, if he is? All for the better!
The most cunning, odious and successful of Gore Vidal’s provocations was surely a mid-career contribution to a special issue of The Nation in 1986, marking the magazine’s one-hundred-twentieth anniversary. The essay was called “The Empire Lovers Strike Back” and is best read today in conjunction with a previous Nation essay from the same year, “The American Empire Ran Out of Gas,” and a clarifying subsequent commentary in The Sunday Telegraph in 1993 called “Race Against Time,” all of which he went on to reprint in his essay collections, perhaps under different titles.
August 02, 2012
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. ALONZO KING is not a celebrity. He is virtually unknown outside the dance world, and even to insiders he is something of an outsider, a choreographer-monk working away with a small troupe of devoted dancers in San Francisco. It is not that his work has gone unrecognized: he has won dozens of awards and made ballets for companies as diverse as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the Royal Swedish Ballet.
A Los Angeles Art Museum Commits Suicide
July 24, 2012
The crackup at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles—with glitz-blitz director Jeffrey Deitch on the ropes and famous artists resigning from the board as fast as you can say John-Baldessari-Barbara-Kruger-Ed-Ruscha—is a fascination.
The Horrific Racism of Kitty Wells’ Cyrano
July 19, 2012
The monster was the man behind the curtain in the case of Kitty Wells, the country singer who died on July 16 at age 92. As the fittingly reverential tributes to Wells have reminded us this week, she has a place of immutable high standing in pop-culture history for recasting the role of women in country music.
The Lost Leader
July 12, 2012
James Joyce: A New Biography By Gordon Bowker (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 608 pp., $35) THERE ARE CERTAIN artistic geniuses who demand that we should know their lives in detail, since for them the story of their lives is a living component of thewider story of their art. In this new biography of James Joyce—the first major one since Richard Ellmann’s monumental Life, now fifty years old—we encounter again an oft-told tale.