Show Me the Money (Over and Over), and Other News


On the Shelf

It’s Jerry Maguire Man!

  • It’s Friday! Let’s watch a movie. How about Jerry Maguire? I love Jerry Maguire. I could watch it every day for the rest of my life and I’d be happy as a clam. Oh please can we please watch Jerry Maguire? I have the videocassette. I have dozens, hundreds of copies of the videocassette. Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire, Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, a modern classic, please can we please … my walls are lined with copies of the videocassette. And now: “A Los Angeles art gallery will play host early next year to an exhibit in the form of a videotape rental store with nothing but thousands of VHS copies of the Tom Cruise film Jerry Maguire. ‘Seeing thousands of Jerrys finally reunited will forever destroy the viewers’ previous perception of culture, waste and existence as a whole,’ the collective said in a statement. ‘The Jerrys are a beautiful thing’ … The event is merely a precursor to a planned Jerry Maguire pyramid that the collective hopes to build ‘in the desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.’ ”
  • Reading Samuel Beckett’s last letters, Robert Fay is heartened by the vision of him as a doddering old man, his health failing but his spirit strong: “‘Might have damaged myself beyond repair last night in the bathroom,’ Beckett writes at the age of sixty-nine to his life-long mistress Barbara Bray in 1975. ‘Had got out of the bath & was drying myself with my back to it when my feet slipped & I fell in backward.’ Two years later he writes, ‘I slipped & fell in the street yesterday, but could pick myself up & go on cursing God & man’ … In 1988 Beckett’s life took its most severe turn when he entered a nursing home in Paris. He understood this was his final home. He writes, ‘Still here with the old crocks [Beckett’s slang for old people], it sometimes feels for keeps.’ A year later, during his final year, his letters become shorter, terser, more like e-mails than epistles. In one of the more touching lines, he ends a letter to his friend Rick Cluchey by writing: ‘Silence is my cloister.’ ”

  • Are you a cop? Well, good for you, bub. Not only can you use state power to feed your own insatiable ego—not only can you step on people’s civil liberties every day and maybe even murder a couple of them with no fear of reprisal—but you can get a book deal out of it, too. Duncan Campbell writes, “These are breezy times for police memoirs. At the Newark book festival this year, there were no fewer than four former officers with recently published tales … The police historian Martin Stallion has logged more than 500 memoirs and biographies, including those of former officers … Writing styles can vary from the plodding to the racy. ‘She was tall and blonde and slender,’ writes former deputy assistant commissioner Ian Forbes of Kim Newell, convicted of being an accessory to the 1967 murder of her lover’s wife, June Cook, in a staged car crash. ‘She wore an elegant grey costume, silk stockings on her long legs, and she had an air of easy confidence as if she knew what effect she had on men and enjoyed every bit of it … In different circumstances I would have been the first to admit that this twenty-three-year-old girl would have been a very attractive companion, but I knew I was looking at the most evil woman it was my misfortune to meet in my thirty-odd years as a copper.’ ”
  • Marilynne Robinson looks back at the Obama Years—and she knows whereof she speaks, because, uh, I don’t know if you realize this, but she’s, like, totally tight with our forty-fourth president: “There is a beauty at the center of American culture which, when it is understood, is expressed in a characteristic eloquence. Every new articulation renews the present life of the country and enriches historic memory to the benefit of future generations. Barack Obama speaks this language, a rare gift. He is ours, in the deep sense that Lincoln is ours, a proof, a test, and an instruction. We see ourselves in him, and in him we embrace or reject what we are.”
  • Chelsea Summers looks at the correlation between pockets, women, and suffrage: “Pockets in women’s dress hit a watershed moment in the fin-de-siècle Rational Dress campaign. Founded in 1891, the Rational Dress Society called for women to dress for health, ditching corsets in favor of boneless stays and bloomers, wearing loose trousers, and adopting clothing that allowed for movement, especially bicycling. It hit its pinnacle just around the turn of the century, a time when men’s suits sported somewhere around fifteen pockets—so it’s no coincidence that pockets abound in Rational Dress. An 1899 New York Times piece makes the somewhat tongue-in-cheek claim that civilization itself is founded on pockets. ‘As we become more civilized, we need more pockets,’ the piece says, ‘No pocketless people has ever been great since pockets were invented, and the female sex cannot rival us while it is pocketless.’ ”