The Paris Review Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Bob Dylan’

TPR Softball: Failure’s No Success at All

July 5, 2012 | by

Somewhere a Hadada quietly weeps.

It’s been a rough two weeks on the diamond for The Paris Review, culminating in an extra-inning loss to a venerable (cough) Harper’s side—a loss that had the ghost of George Plimpton clucking in disapproval. As the calendar flips to July and a once promising season slowly turns to shit, it has become apparent that we are simply not to be trusted. The talent is there, but it’s mercurial, slave to whim and whimsy. As a team we’ve adapted an identity that is generously enigmatic: although capable of lighting up any softball scoreboard in greater Manhattan, lately it seems that we are just trying to get our jerseys on.

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Taylor Mead’s Lost East Village

June 11, 2012 | by

Taylor Mead is dishing gossip. “For our final exam”—in boarding school, where he studied English with the novelist John Horne Burns—“he said, write four hundred to five hundred lines of poetry from memory. It was unbelievable. He killed poetry for me. I haven’t been able to read more than two poems a month since.” Burns would later write a novel loosely based on his time teaching at the school, rife with homosexual undertones. Taylor said he would have enjoyed school if he knew all the great stuff that was happening behind the scenes. “If they want me to make a commencement speech, they better fasten their seat belts,” he joked.

Taylor sat across from me at a small table near the front door of Lucien, a French bistro on First Avenue near the corner of First Street. When I walked in the door, the legendary East Village resident and professional bohemian was already sipping from a glass of Dewar’s, waiting patiently. Lucien is Taylor’s favorite restaurant; it’s one of the few places he leaves the apartment for. At eighty-seven, he still resides in the neighborhood he has called home, more or less, for more than four decades. Now, though, he has trouble walking more than a few blocks. Read More »

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Dear Joan Holloway, Was It Something I Said?

May 31, 2012 | by

Dear Joan,

Just wanted to check in, as I can’t help but feel slightly responsible for your actions in this week’s episode. I thought these letters from the future would do you all some good, providing twenty/twenty hindsight into your blindingly Day-Glo historical moment. But Doc Brown was right: messing with the past can alter the future in unexpected ways. Matthew Weiner and company thrive on this very notion; they’ve remodeled the mid-sixties into an era in which cigarettes don’t cause cancer, and the advertising industry is the pinnacle of glamour, filled with beautiful people in beautiful clothes making eyes at each other across rooms then retreating into bedrooms with beautiful bed frames for bouts of steamy congress in which panties always match the bra, and a woman can achieve orgasm just by inhaling Don’s smoky musk.

No surprise, then, that here in 2012 we’ve gone gaga over sixties style, sporting skinny ties and summer plaids, puffing cigs like we’re unaware of science, and ruining perfectly healthy marriages because, according to Pete Campbell’s friend from the commuter train, variety is the spice of life. We should probably all reread Richard Yates. Maybe it was wrong to tease you with a glimpse into third-wave feminism when the second wave is only now breaking against your shoreline.

But don’t think I’m judging you.Read More »

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A Mark So Fine: Joe Henry and You

May 18, 2012 | by

Photograph by Michael Wilson.

In November of 2001, I picked up Joe Henry’s album Scar and was stunned by the opening track, a slow blues number called “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.” Henry, a white man, sang from the point of view of the black icon, expressing the comedian’s love-hate relationship with himself and his audience. Henry had the audacity and sensitivity to pull it off, with help from a spiraling, dipping, dripping saxophone solo by Ornette Coleman.

Scar was released in May of that year. Henry couldn’t have known how tearful the nation would be that fall. He closed the album with these lines from the title track, sung in a careful, mournful tempo:

The blade of our outrageous fortune,
Like a parade, it cuts a path.
Light shows on our foolish way
And darkness on
Our aftermath.

If I love you, to save myself
And you love me because we are
So fool to think that our parade
Could leave a path
And not a scar.
And I love you with all I am
And you love me with what you are,
As pretty as a twisting vine
A mark so fine
But still a scar.

The album resonated with me throughout that first post–September 11 holiday season, more than Dylan’s “Love and Theft”, which was released on that particular Tuesday, a coincidence that generated new claims of clairvoyance from Dylanologists. Henry’s album cuts deeper. Read More »

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Dear Pete Campbell, A Word of Advice

May 10, 2012 | by

Dear Pete Campbell,

You’ve always creeped me out. This isn’t entirely your fault. You can blame your parents for the beady eyes and the cheeks as yet untouched by razor; for your emotional immaturity; for the fortune they squandered and the love they withheld; and for the Waspy sense of privilege they nonetheless managed to confer on your skinny ass.

And so I don’t hate you, Pete, as others are wont to do. Sure, you’ve done some shitty things—getting Peggy preggers then treating her like trash; blackmailing Don into making you head of accounts; last night’s display of pathetic adultery with that chick from The Gilmore Girls—but I feel a strange affinity for you anyway. Read More »

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Staff Picks: ‘Desire,’ Tim Tebow

December 9, 2011 | by

Last night I read Sydney Smith’s attack on the Methodists and listened to Desire. It’s been that kind of week. —Lorin Stein

Chuck Klosterman offers one explanation for why Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow is so polarizing: “The crux here, the issue driving this whole ‘Tebow Thing,’ is the matter of faith ... The upside to secular thinking is that—in theory—your skepticism will prove correct. Your rightness might be emotionally unsatisfying, but it confirms a stable understanding of the universe. Sports fans who love statistics fall into this camp. People who reject cognitive dissonance build this camp and find the firewood. But Tebow wrecks all that, because he makes blind faith a viable option. His faith in God, his followers’ faith in him—it all defies modernity. This is why people care so much. He is making people wonder if they should try to believe things they don't actually believe.” —Natalie Jacoby

This weekend I’ll be hoping to see one of the more curious, and surely more fascinating, Nobel acceptance speeches as the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who lost his speech and the use of his right hand after a stroke some twenty years ago, accepts his prize by playing the piano. —Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

The fruitcake from Holy Spirit Monastery in Georgia—rich with fruit and pecans and liberally doused in peach brandy—has converted many a fruitcake-scoffer. And if you know one of those defiant iconoclasts who already loves it, well, you’ve found your holiday gift for the foreseeable future. (Mine arrived last night and we’ve already eaten half!) —Sadie Stein

In her debut novel, The Faster I Walk The Smaller I Am, Kjersti A. Skomsvold has created a world—through the eyes of a terribly shy old woman who ponders death—that is calm and incredibly strange. —Jessica Calderon

I eagerly started reading a galley of Men in Space, Tom McCarthy’s first novel, which will be published in the US for the first time in February. The first hundred pages contains a very funny letter from a gay Netherlandish art curator on Václav Havel’s reinvention of Czech military costumes: “After two thousand years, Plato’s philosopher king becomes a reality—and the first thing he does is get some fag to spruce up his goons and make them march around more aesthetically. Sometimes I despair of our profession.” —Nicole Rudick

Emma Straub’s piece on the phenomenon of “showrooming” (a word I didn't even know!) was a revelation. —Sadie Stein

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