Between Hell and History
On Don DeLillo’s Underworld.
On Don DeLillo’s Underworld.
On the structural underpinnings of the revolts currently shaking the Arab world.
On photographing the former Norma Jeane Mortenson. “I think she was the best light comedienne we have in films today, and anyone will tell you that the toughest of acting styles is light comedy.”—Billy Wilder
“If genius is hard to define, madness is even more so.” One chess champion’s take on the tortured life of another.
On Mark Twain’s recently released memoir.
February 1st, 2011. Tahrir Square, Cairo.
On the young and ascendant Frank Sinatra, “who ruled crowds by seductive magnetism and surrounded himself with courtiers, but had once been an adolescent alone in his room listening to Bing Crosby on his Atwater-Kent.”
On the illusion of the inevitable and the revolutions that ended the Eastern Bloc.
How the relationship between favela-based drug gangs and elite police units tasked with fighting them came to define Rio de Janeiro.
Putin, Medvedev, and how the Russian security agency FSB became the “new nobility.”
“Most cities spread like inkblots; a few, such as Manhattan, grew in linear increments. Paris expanded in concentric rings, approximately shown by the spiral numeration of its arrondissements.”
A grandmaster on the computers that have bested him and how we have misunderstood the implications of artificial intelligence.
Where the actual online money is centralized, and where Google will have to go to continue chasing it.
In 1976, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens voted to reinstate capital punishment in the United States. Thirty years later, he argued that it’s unconstitutional. Here, he explains why he changed his mind.
An oral history of a family in Mexico City, in transition from poverty to the lower-middle class, as they scramble to organize the burial of a slum-dwelling aunt.
On the BBC radio addresses of E.M. Forster: “For one thing, he won’t call what he is doing literary criticism, or even reviewing. His are ‘recommendations’ only. Each episode ends with Forster diligently reading out the titles of the books he has dealt with, along with their exact price in pounds and shillings.”
The difference between a social network and a movie about a social network, and what it says about the Facebook generation.
A critique of Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for ‘Superman’.
On public radio and the emerging genre of shows inspired by This American Life.
The narcocorrido-immortalized Pacific coast traditionalists, the kidnap-crazed Gulf coast Zetas, and massacres that no longer seem tied to a discernible purpose; inside the ruins of the Mexican-American border.
Tony Judt on sex, the academy, and dating a graduate student while chairing NYU’s History Department.
Tony Judt on his own amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and the experience of being “left free to contemplate at leisure and in minimal discomfort the catastrophic progress of one’s own deterioration.”
Frank Rich on The Promise, Jonathan Alter’s book about the first year of the Obama administration.
A 1970 review of Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider.