This is the best recent interview of George W. Bush I’ve read, especially surprising considering its source. Written after the President’s tour of Afrida a couple of weeks ago, Bob Geldof is an interlocutor of surpassing modesty; he is scrupulous about observing the laws of hospitality, stays mum on Iraq, and remembers that he onceContinue reading

William F. Buckley, Jr. – RIP

How fitting that this sunny, loquacious man with a wit and grace notably absent in his successors should die when all signs point to the demise of the revolution he helped lead. A storied resumé: devout Catholic, a late convert to the stupidity of a “war on drugs,” spy novelist, a Howard Hunt employee, GoreContinue reading “William F. Buckley, Jr. – RIP”

The wit and wisdom of Nixon

Remarks from our 37th president, by far our funniest, given to acolyte Monica Crowley and published in Nixon Off the Record (1996): He changed his tone again and said, “Murphy Brown sounds like a man. Is that that Candice Bergen Show?” I answered him, and he continued, “I met her once when she was aboutContinue reading “The wit and wisdom of Nixon”

How political parties die, and rise again

Ned describes the process by which men birth ideas and then, after several convulsions and wheezes, die: But there’s a larger if extremely obvious point to be made, that the definitions of what is assumed as conservatism, as much as liberalism, changes with time — carrying [William F.] Buckley’s point back in time, for example,Continue reading “How political parties die, and rise again”

Ted Macero – R.I.P.

I own only a dozen Miles Davis records so I’m wet behind the ears, but it’s impossible to listen to the devastating segue from “It’s About That Time” to In a Silent Way‘s title track without concluding that the man behind the boards understood, perhaps better than the creator himself (at the time, anyway; Davis’Continue reading “Ted Macero – R.I.P.”

I don’t agree with Stephanie Zancharek’s lamentation on the Kabuki hysterics to which Daniel Day-Lewis resorts in There Will Be Blood: to these eyes it’s a tensile, spare, quiet performance. If there’s one way in which it could be criticized, it’s how easily Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie follows Day-Lewis’ cue. An actor can suggest tumultContinue reading

I’m unnerved by how calmly Cuban exiles have reacted to El Jefe’s abdication. Maybe I shouldn’t be. My parents, who left the island in junior high, have said many times over the years, with equal parts weariness and bitterness, that they don’t care anymore; neither does my 81-year-old grandmother, who left in her late thirties.Continue reading

I adore semicolons; they’re so redundant, aren’t they? While helping college reporters with headlines, ledes, and the basics of grammar, I don’t seem them fretting over semicolons much: it’s rarely used in journalism unless you’re compiling a list or series. They denote a pause, the intake of air, before the final elaboration. Journalism doesn’t workContinue reading

Don’t let the results of our state’s aborted Democratic primary fool you: Florida is a state whose conservatism runs deep. For example, almost three years after Pennsylvanian school districts settled the matter, we’re still arguing about evolution: The outcry at so many public hearings led the Florida Department of Education to schedule an extra hourContinue reading

The most accurate depiction of Nazism isn’t Schindler’s List or The Pianist, but a 1942 comedy directed by a man renowned for sophisticated palaver. Trouble in Paradise shows how decidedly unheroic people adjust to terror, always conscious that a misplaced look or wrongly interpreted gesture will send them before a firing squad. It may beContinue reading