Recent Articles

January 31, 2008

Will This Be the Most Profitable Super Bowl Ever? 1

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The WGA writers’ strike (should that all be capitalized? has it been trademarked yet?) has hit the economy of Los Angeles in a big way, hurting everybody from the top down. Some idiot actually predicted that the strike would be over by Christmas (D’oh!). Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and LA has really suffered. But will […]

January 30, 2008

Link Bomb 1

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The Columbia Spectator is about to embark on “a list of 50 books that we think capture the essence of each state.” Daniel Menaker, former head of Random House, is set to host a new internet literary talk show called “Titlepage.” It will be modeled after “‘Apostrophes,’ a popular French literary program; ‘The Charlie Rose […]

January 29, 2008

Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses 6

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A friend who has long since gotten out of the literary scholarship racket was once, briefly, quite intent on writing a dissertation entitled “Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses.” I have a vague recollection that the argument was to involve something about how pirates seem often to lose hands, legs, and eyes, and that along with their […]

January 29, 2008

The Oracle at Google, or Bible Dipping for a Disenchanted Age 5

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As anyone with a Gmail account knows, to send or receive an e-mail through Google’s electronic mail service is to have the impression that someone else is reading your mail. Mention the military in an e-mail – even disparagingly – and you will see, in the sidebar, beside the composition window, an ad for GoArmy.com. […]

January 28, 2008

Trading Ideals: A review of Edward Gresser’s Freedom From Want 0

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With the prospect of a Democrat in the White House, paired with a continued Democratic majority in Congress, many old and new ideas on the liberal agenda are poised to come to fruition in 2009. One item likely to be on the to-do list is the future of international trade. In Freedom From Want: American […]

January 27, 2008

Inter Alia #7: Up, Obama, or Deja Vu in South Carolina 1

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This weekend, as part of a recent David Foster Wallace kick, I decided to revisit “Up, Simba,” an 80-page essay on John McCain and postmodern politics. On assignment for Rolling Stone, Wallace spent the final week of the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary embedded in the McCain campaign. McCain ended up losing to George W. […]

January 25, 2008

Some (Possibly Stale) Links 0

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William T. Vollmann has a new book out, Riding Toward Everywhere about riding freight trains. In what must be a first for Vollmann, the Washington Post describes the book as a “modest little volume.” The New Yorker held a contest to reinterpret Eustace Tilley, its “iconic dandy.” The entries are posted on Flickr. The anxiety […]

January 22, 2008

America’s Next Top Novelist 6

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1.Those wandering aimlessly through the barren channels in the midst of the writers’ strike are no doubt aware that reality programming, already a staple, has flooded in to fill the void. In fact, the heavyweight of the format, “American Idol,” is now back for a seventh season. “American Idol” is what I like to call […]

January 22, 2008

Saunders, Smith, and Vida Talk Shop 0

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Last week, on WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, George Saunders, Zadie Smith, and Vendela Vida used The Book of Other People as a jumping-off point for a refreshingly heterodox discussion of the craft of fiction. Audio is also available at www.wnyc.org.

January 22, 2008

Appearing Elsewhere 0

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Garth has an essay on Amazon’s celebrity reviewers up at Slate. Full disclosure: It was late at night, in a fit of furtive self-Googling, that I discovered the first Amazon customer review of my debut book of fiction. “Superb,” wrote Grady Harp of Los Angeles. “Fascinating … addictive.” Not to mention “profound.” Such extravagance should […]