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.
“Tranströmer!” Of course, I knew immediately what the email message meant. After years of waiting among the also-rans, and amid speculation that this was the year for an Arab poet to win the Nobel Prize in Literature to honor the Arab Spring, or maybe, a late-breaking rumor, that Bob Dylan was the bettors’ choice, a Swede was named to win the Swedish prize.
It’s roughly two weeks shy of the September 12 march on Washington, and Glenn Beck is distraught. Behind him on the cavernous Fox News set is Beck’s familiar dry-erase board, upon which various insults are written in Beck’s looping print. “This is what people have said about me just this week ... the blogs and everything else,” Beck says, before proceeding to tick off a few: hysterical, cult leader, shameless opportunist. There’s a quaver in Beck’s voice and a familiar dewiness in his eyes when the host finally sits down next to Dr.
In May, The Boston Globe conducted a poll to find out what Bostonians think of their city's mayor, Tom Menino. Most of the questions were common to public-opinion surveys about elected officials: Do you approve or disapprove of the way he is doing his job? Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him?
The Black Veil: A Memoir With Digressions by Rick Moody (Little, Brown, 288 pp., $24.95) Rick Moody is the worst writer of his generation. I apologize for the abruptness of this declaration, its lack of nuance, of any meaning besides the intuitive; but as I made my way through Moody's oeuvre during the past few months I was unable to come up with any other starting point for a consideration of his accomplishment. Or, more accurately, every other starting point that I tried felt disingenuous, nothing more than a way of setting Moody up in order to knock him down.
From 1920: "We Shouldn't be Grateful to the Pilgrims."
"We Shouldn't Be Grateful to the Pilgrims," by Charles Beard