As a card-carrying member of the Betrayed by John Edwards Alumni Association, I’ll admit that my initial response to his federal indictment for violating campaign laws was skepticism. Yes, Edwards was an egocentric, lying, baby-denying cad who betrayed his dying wife. I doubted, however, that he had committed a crime. But now that the Edwards trial is getting started—opening statements will be heard today in Greensboro, North Carolina—I have begun thinking that things are a bit more complicated.
"World's Most Interesting Man" Talks
February 03, 2011
Nick Paumgarten interviews the actor who plays "The World's Most Interesting Man" in a series of Dos Equis commercials. He turns out to be, if not the most interesting man in the world, pretty interesting: A montage of highlights from the real life of Jonathan Goldsmith might include (had there been cameras present) footage of him rescuing a stranded climber on Mt.
Lena Horne: Maybe … Maybe Not
May 14, 2010
It's not that she lied. It’s that when Lena Horne told Rosie O'Donnell, "I like show business," she was being truthful only in small part. The occasion, a talk-show interview to promote a charity for singers, was one of very few interviews Horne did in the years before her death this week, at 92, and, for the sake of a good cause, she allowed herself to say something that she had devoted her final decades to disproving. As she went on to make plain, Horne cared deeply about singers, and she loved the art of music.
Toward a New Alexandria
March 12, 2010
Imagine a new Library of Alexandria. Imagine an archive that contains all the natural and social sciences of the West—our source-critical, referenced, peer-reviewed data—as well as the cultural and literary heritage of the world's civilizations, and many of the world’s most significant archives and specialist collections. Imagine that this library is electronic and in the public domain: sustainable, stable, linked, and searchable through universal semantic catalogue standards.
The Great Disconcerting Wipeout
October 05, 2009
Arthur Miller By Christopher Bigsby (Harvard University Press, 739 pp., $35) I. Arthur Miller could hardly have hoped for a more sympathetic biographer than Christopher Bigsby. He is the director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies at the University of East Anglia, and the author of a long commentary on Miller’s work and a book-length interview with the playwright.
On the Lifespan of Trees
December 03, 2004
For a long time now, whenever I've gone to Los Angeles, I've been alarmed by how impossibly tall the palm trees have grown. Whether I'm driving in Santa Monica or Venice, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, or Pasadena, the familiar sight of row after row of palm trees, their thin, fibrous trunks topped by rough-hewn, yet shimmering fronds stretching hundreds of feet into the broad, shadowless light, has come to fill me with gloom.