From the stacks
March 25, 1996
It's always fun to see a reliable old story smartly updated. This time it's the man and woman who are both in the news game, and this time of course it's the TV news game. The slick script is by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, suggested by an Alanna Nash novel, and it gleams with topical reference and knife-edge dialogue—not only non-cliché but anti-cliché. (By far the best Didion-Dunne screenplay so far.) It's called Up Close and Personal (Touchstone), and to ensure that the film belongs to its sub-genre, it has stars. Real stars.
March 24, 1997
Under the credits Kathleen Ferrier sings the haunting lament from Gluck's Orfèo. A man's voice says:I have to tell you that a very special little world has died and I am the designated mourner. Oh, yes, you see, it's all important custom in many groups and tribes. Someone is assigned to grieve, to wail, and light the public ritual fire. Someone is assigned when there's no one else.Thus begins Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner (First Look).
April 16, 1977
In April 1970 a colloquium of French philosophers and critics was held at Cluny on certain major themes in contemporary thought. By all accounts the most voluble presence at the proceedings was a man who was not present at all: the Algerian-French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Most of the discussions turned, twisted and swirled upon his work, especially the three books he had published in 1967, La voix et le phénomène, a critique of Husserl's theory of signs, L'écriture et la différence and De la grammatologie.
December 8, 1926
The recent revival of interest in Poe has brought to light a good deal of new information about him and supplied us for the first time with a serious interpretation of his personal career, but it has so far entirely failed to explain why we should still want to read him.
Justice Scalia gave a long interview to New York magazine this week, sharing his thoughts on the devil, homosexuality, and "Seinfeld." But setting aside whether he's right about the soup nazi, the justice's legal reasoning is hopelessly incoherent, writes
George Will, the columnist and longtime staple of ABC's 'This Week' is leaving the network for Fox News, where he debuts today. Here's what The New Republic's legendary Henry Fairlie wrote about him in 1986.
February 26, 1972
"An idler is like a lump of dung; whoever picks it up shakes it off his hand."Ecclesasticus
September 21, 1987
Some weeks ago I took my children to West Point. We visited the military museum, and since I was at the time reading Gore Vidal's historical fictions, I was drawn to a glass case containing exhibits from the Philippine war (which is one of the subjects of Empire), "The cession of the Philippines to the United States in 1899," the labels explain, "as a result of the Spanish-American War prompted those Filipinos who wanted complete independence to rise against the Americans.
It's been 17 years since the last government shutdown. Here's what The New Republic wrote after it ended in January, 1996:
November 6, 2000
Be Proud of Your Stephen King Fandom.