Tag: critical mass

This Is Not René Magritte

Magritte and his brothers were hellraisers, Danchev explains, who showed all the local kids pornography, frequently yelled “Fire!,” and were rumored to have killed a donkey. In 1950, deep into his career, which began seriously in the 1920s with Le jockey perdu (“The Lost Jockey”), Magritte made a painting called Perspective II: Manet’s Balcony. It […]

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We All Live in the John Birch Society’s World Now

Tellingly, it wasn’t Welch’s persistent failure to read bigots out of the Bircher movement that lent it notoriety—it was, rather, the stolidly conspiratorial mindset of Welch and his growing mass following. William F. Buckley Jr. famously assailed the group’s obsession with secret Communist takeovers in an effort to render the postwar right intellectually respectable again. […]

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The Storm Over the American Revolution

The Patriots won their independence not because they were militarily strong or ideologically committed but because they were weak and unimportant. This lesser-known story is a reminder that the War of Independence was not only fought between Loyalists and Patriots. It was a global war, in which the involvement of several other powers proved crucial […]

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What I Got Wrong About Elizabeth Hardwick

Only a few pages later, she is making common cause with the immigrant seediness she had earlier deplored. After all, she’s something of an immigrant herself, isn’t she? She’s here in New York because she never felt at home in her own birthplace—“Many are flung down carelessly at birth and they experience the diminishment … […]

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The Power and the Glory of Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s 1939 painting “Woman Reclining Reading” is one of his many depictions of Marie-Thérèse Walter. 2021 ESTATE OF PABLO PICASSO/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK/BRIDGEMAN IMAGES The painter’s prophecy of their doing “great things together” was to be lavishly borne out, in more ways than one. Marie-Thérèse would be his lover, his model, and muse […]

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End the Generation Wars

Duffy is unconvinced, therefore, that a coming youth wave will transform Western political systems. The views of younger voters aren’t different enough, and even if they were, there aren’t enough of them, and they don’t vote reliably enough (this is true in many places, and is not simply an American malady). Young people, of course, […]

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The Souvenir: Part II Is a Lush Exploration of Filmmaking and Memory

At one point in Joanna Hogg’s 2019 film, The Souvenir, Tom Burke’s character, Anthony, asks the protagonist, Julie, played by Honor Swinton Byrne, “Am I more real than you?” Since they both know the correct answer, she says no—no one is more real than anyone else—and yet, as she says it, you sense her lack […]

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Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize–Winning Novel Examines a Betrayal in Apartheid South Africa

In the Swarts’ compound, where words don’t seem to work properly, meaninglessness proliferates like the chaotic vocabulary of apartheid, puffed up with the hot air of fake race science and stubbornly clung-to delusions about who owns what, by what right.  It’s a strange fact of contemporary literature that South Africa’s biggest literary exports were for […]

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Have the Founders of the University of Austin Been in a Classroom Lately?

To those of us who work at colleges and universities, it’s clear that much of what’s meant to distinguish UATX is instead commonplace. To those of us who work at colleges and universities, it’s clear that much of what’s meant to distinguish UATX is instead commonplace. Internships, externships, and out-of-classroom “immersive learning experiences” are already […]

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Homeless at the Gates of Disney World

Most people do not think of motels when they imagine homelessness. Someone who is homeless is often pictured as middle-aged, unemployed, and male, with substance abuse issues, sleeping rough in a park or under a bridge. Yet homelessness is a spectrum. One of the fastest-growing groups of people without housing is older women lacking pensions. […]

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How the Wheels Came Off at the NRA

LaPierre also became reliant on Ackerman McQueen in the day-to-day running of the organization. During crises or extended P.R. rollouts, LaPierre would consult with the firm’s name partner Angus McQueen “several times a day” and “would not make a single strategic decision without consulting him, as though the ad man were his security blanket,” Mak […]

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The Mystery of Patricia Highsmith’s Diaries

The publication of a document like Highsmith’s Diaries and Notebooks would be an event in the case of any major writer. It provokes a special interest in Highsmith’s case, because it is in the nature of diaries and cahiers to engage in precisely the psychological and philosophical reflection, the confession and self-scrutiny, that she systematically […]

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Spencer Embraces an Angry, Messy Princess Diana

It’s hard to know what Spencer would be without its perfect costumes and soundtrack. The film’s costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, who began her career in wardrobe on Eyes Wide Shut and has won two Oscars, said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she and her team “narrowed it down by having a time frame, […]

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The Failure of American Secularism

Movement visionaries remained captivated by the idea of replicating the full institutional experience of Christian worship in a wholly secular setting, founding new temples of rationalist communion and societies of ethical culture. But the larger pattern still held: As a subordinate form of organized religion, secularism lacked devotional and spiritual power; as principled skepticism, it […]

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“They Add to Intensity”: Danny Goldberg on Artists, Entertainers, and Politics

Danny Goldberg is a longtime music-business impresario and political activist and the author of the new book Bloody Crossroads 2020: Art, Entertainment, and the Resistance to Trump. Editor Michael Tomasky talked with Goldberg about what kind of impact artists had on the last election and have on politics generally, as well as what Jimmy Page […]

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Were the Earliest Societies Anarchists?

The conventional story looks for the ultimate causes in technological factors: Cities were a delayed, but inevitable, effect of the “Agricultural Revolution,” which started populations on an upward trajectory, and set off a chain of other developments, for instance in transport and administration, which made it possible to support large populations living in one place. […]

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The Democracy Walt Whitman Wanted

In one of those fine cosmic coincidences that spangle throughout cultural history, the poet Hart Crane watched the legendary dancer Isadora Duncan perform in Cleveland one night in December 1922. Crane was yet unknown; Duncan’s life was approaching its end. (Five years later, she died in a bizarre scarf-related automobile accident on the French Riviera.) […]

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Did a Podcast About Donna Tartt Go Too Far?

Page Six found these details scandalous enough to describe “an allegedly gender-bending relationship with her male muse,” but it’s hard to know what to make of these comments. There is no such thing as having sex “like a young boy,” nor is it clear what Student X means by “treated like a gay man.” It’s […]

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How Newspapers Deserted Their Civic Mission

The background worldview of this upper-crust demographic is broadly liberal. Like other media critics, Usher bemoans the hoary trope of the “Trump safari”—the reflexive impulse across many elite liberal news outlets to dispatch intrepid anthropological teams of reporters into heartland diners and other small-town venues to chronicle the mores and thought processes of the mysterious, […]

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The French Dispatch Is Wes Anderson’s Most Indulgent Fantasy

Visually, The French Dispatch is a smorgasbord—Anderson seems determined to outdo his previous efforts. There are gleeful references to Truffaut and other New Wave directors. Crowds run straight at the screen or flee away from it; the camera swings like a merry-go-round or is treated like a picture frame. The geometric tricks and perfections, the […]

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The Magnificent Jumble of Donald Barthelme’s Stories

In the evenings, usually, the catechist approaches. “Where have you been?” he asks. “In the park,” I say. “Was she there?” he asks. “No,” I say. Most of his stories read like collages of facts, nonfacts, imaginary blips and bleeps, and quotations from famous figures that might or might not be entirely accurate (Schlegel, Daumier, […]

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Succession’s Third Season Exposes the Dark Soul of a Corporation

Clearly high all the time but hiding it, Kendall barrels forth on his quest to take down Logan on a mission that, almost as soon as the big moment has passed, seems ill-conceived. Jeremy Strong is perfect as the dark Kendall. Clearly high all the time but hiding it, he barrels forth on his quest […]

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The Battle of Britain: The Fight for Churchill’s Shroud

In similar manner, the Amritsar massacre in the Punjab in 1919, when at least 379 Indians were killed by troops of the Raj, was denounced by Churchill in Parliament: “Frightfulness is not a remedy known to the British pharmacopoeia.” But not by Roberts, who defended the massacre for having restored order: “It was not necessary […]

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The New Dune is the Adaptation Frank Herbert’s Novel Deserves

Herbert’s protagonists, many of whom possess heightened mental abilities, frequently think to themselves using italicized sentences like this, a device Lynch replicates with constant, dreary voiceovers. Villeneuve, rather than boring us with internal monologues, has his actors convey their inner thoughts through body language. At the same time, unlike Lynch, he depicts the various otherworldly […]

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Stephen Breyer’s Supreme Delusions

Breyer is clearest about one point of overriding importance: that it would be dreadful to abandon the line between politics and law, wherever that line is—and that those calling for political reform of a political institution are dangerous. The “highly nuanced” reality of judicial politicking, the justice writes, is at odds with the impression of […]

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Jon Gruden’s Emails Are a Symptom of the NFL’s Cultural Rot

Gruden’s role within the ESPN Extended Universe was that of the network’s on-call coach: He hosted, for instance, Gruden’s QB Camp, where he worked with young quarterbacks. Above all, he was the audience’s stand-in for the coaches on the field who were making the calls on which he was commenting. It was during his tenure at […]

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