Dreaming of Tripoli
April 07, 2011
Somewhere amid the burning oil pipelines and wrecked tanks, among the wounded filling the hospitals and the homeless winding out of their ruined cities, lies another potential casualty of the Libyan war: five and a half million olive trees the Italians planted in the desert in the 1930s. Few worldwide may be thinking of these trees as they watch the latest news. But, in South Africa, some people are praying for them.
Simon-Gate, The Mystery Continues
March 01, 2010
I suppose I deserve this for trusting the British press. It appears David Geffen is probably not the subject of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain." Roger Freidman at Showbiz 411 observes: David Geffen had nothing to do with Carly Simon in 1972. He ran Asylum Records. She was on Elektra. Jac Holzman ran Elektra and was in charge of the album “No Secrets” and the song “You’re So Vain.” It wasn’t until the next year that Elektra was merged with Asylum. In 1974, Carly released another album, called “Hot Cakes,” on Elektra.
May 01, 2006
Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine By Harold Bloom (Riverhead Books, 256 pp., $24.95) I. There are certain writers, such as Garry Wills and John Updike, who seem to aspire to a state of continuous publication, as if their readership were constantly reviewing them for tenure. Harold Bloom has been among their number since 1990, when he aimed The Book of J at a general readership. It is admirable to want to write criticism for someone other than one's colleagues and graduate students, and Bloom's intelligence, erudition, and charm have made him America's best-known man of letters.
What Right to Die?
June 24, 1996
It's hard not to be moved by emotional accounts of how laws prohibiting assisted suicide can drive pain-wracked people to desperate ends. A year ago, in The New Yorker, Andrew Solomon wrote eloquently about how he and his brother helped their mother take sleeping pills to spare her the final agonies of ovarian cancer, an ordeal made even more harrowing by the fear of prosecution. All of the jurors who acquitted Dr. Jack Kevorkian in May similarly said they were influenced by videotapes in which two women suffering from chronic pain described their anguish and pleaded to be allowed to die.
Heroes and Echoes
July 04, 1988
Tragedy: Shakespeare and the Greek Example by Adrian Poole Everyone assumes that they know what tragedy means; the problem comes in trying to define it. One thing is certain: it is a uniquely Western phenomenon.