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Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Perfume, Pikes, and Parsing

June 15, 2012 | by

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Staff Picks: Social Networks, David Foster Wallace

November 5, 2010 | by

Zadie Smith takes aim at The Social Network, writing, “It’s clear that this is a movie about 2.0 people made by 1.0 people.” It’s an assessment that echoes what Lawrence Lessig wrote for The New Republic a few weeks back: “But the most frustrating bit of The Social Network is ... its failure to even mention the real magic behind the Facebook story. In interviews given after making the film, Sorkin boasts about his ignorance of the Internet. That ignorance shows.” Agreed, but the truth is—you still gotta see it. In the same way everyone joins the real Facebook to complain about it, everyone sees the film in order to join the discussion. —Thessaly La Force

The weather’s turned; time to make a cup of tea and settle down with something melancholy. Jonathan Franzen’s elegy for David Foster Wallace, read at the New York memorial following his suicide two years ago, is a good place to start. Franzen’s heartache as he describes his friend’s ultimately doomed efforts to climb out of a hole of “infinite sadness” is palpable. Follow it up with “The Boy,” a previously unpublished DFW short story that recently appeared on the Internet. Sure, it’s depressing to remember that Wallace will never write anything new, but one can’t help but be grateful for the work he did leave us. —Miranda Popkey

Too much of what I read these days is distraction: an irritating flurry of sexist commentary on the DKE “no means yes” incident at Yale, and a dispiriting analysis of Bush’s attempt at image rehabilitation: “He seems to think that baffled surprise, on the part of a President, is somehow exculpatory. (It is not.)” So it was nice to curl up with something timeless and humanizing this week—Howards End, by E. M. Forster. Here are the Schlegel sisters at the end of the book: “The present flowed by them like a stream. The tree rustled. It had made music before they were born, and would continue after their deaths, but its song was of the moment. The moment had passed … Life passed. The tree rustled again.” Thanks, Mr. Forster. —Kate Waldman

For some good eighteenth-century gossip, read Doctor Augustin Cabanes’s Cabinet secret de l’histoire. It's not an easy book to find: You have to look for copies in carts along the Seine or in antiquarian shops, but they are fun to collect. Apparently, some aristocrats tried to pay Marie-Antoinette’s doctor, Seiffert, to start a rumor that the Queen could not conceive because of de Lamballe’s “moral influence.” De Lamballe was Marie-Antoinette’s attending lady and the envy of all the other ladies of the court. Which is probably why de Lamballe was the first woman to be guillotined during the Revolution, her flesh impaled upon a spike and paraded all over Paris. —Alexandra Zukerman

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Of Gods and Men

October 30, 2010 | by

Photograph by Ronald Martinez.

Dear Louisa,

I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself so far.

I have a serious question to ask you; in fact, I have a serious piece of begging to do. May I please switch teams, just for game 4? It’s not the Texas collapse that leads me to this embarrassing volte face. It’s not Cliff Lee’s implosion that I mind—although we have to discuss that—or the fact that Josh Hamilton and Michael Young are hitting a buck twenty-five each, or even that Matt Cain looks like he’s wearing a clown wig under his cap in honor of Halloween. These are all things I can deal with. No, the problem is that the George Bushes, pere et fils (just to be elitist about it) are scheduled to throw out the first pitch in game 4. I had been willing to overlook the issue of previous ownership, but this is too much. I would like the Rangers to win tomorrow, lose game 4 and then have Cliff come back and win game 5 with me a fan all over again. What do you think, is this possible?

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