No heart

A few grace notes aside — Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) emptying an orange juice carton of his own urine; the scarily accurate fourth-rate bowling alley updated with an incongruously garish, modern bar; the way Robert Duvall handles a fishing pole; the relief that floods over Bridges when he meets a keyboardist with real promise  —Continue reading “No heart”

A man of letters: Louis Auchincloss R.I.P.

He was so compulsive a writer that after completing the Roosevelt book, he showed up unannounced at the offices of his publisher with a finished text for Calvin Coolidge, only to be told the president’s life had been assigned to someone else. Pace the AP’s obituary on Louis Auchincloss, dead at ninety-two. Gore Vidal’s appraisal,Continue reading “A man of letters: Louis Auchincloss R.I.P.”

Like the future was supposed to be: Vampire Weekend and the state of pop

A quick relisten, then I voted to reaffirm: Vampire Weekend’s eponymous debut “is as good as it’s supposed to be and not one note more.” Contra is what I expect from a damn good second album: it consolidates and clarifies. The musical and conceptual vaporousness of “Oxford Comma” is replaced by the fully formed “Run,”Continue reading “Like the future was supposed to be: Vampire Weekend and the state of pop”

News flash: corporations are people too

The consequences of a misreading of this case continue, evinced by today’s Supreme Court ruling. A couple of weeks ago I finished a superb history of the period, Jack Beatty’s Age of Betrayal. Pick up a copy. The Santa Clara County controversy is discussed in full.

Message to Democrats: Don’t turn America into Sweden

Margaret Coakley lost because she was a liberal, and the grand liberal experiment of the last twelve months has failed. Let’s see. Obama is a liberal because he: (a) hired Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff? (b) filled his Cabinet with former Wall Street and New York Fed scions like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner?Continue reading “Message to Democrats: Don’t turn America into Sweden”