Tag: October 2019

from Night Sky

Shattered ice on water, redwoods drinking carbon

and fog. They were never yours. The evenings

were never yours. The river’s opal stones.

Rain thrown against the current as cities rose

into the red dark. Their arches and grids belong

to no one. But the faces denied entrance are yours,

the weak ones are yours, lamentations and anthems

streaking through your veins, dark with sleet and thaw.

Every effort, every desire that began in you

must change course, the snowflakes blowing for hours,

gray but still burning.

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The Enduring Myth of “The Economy”

In 1992, James Carville scrawled a slogan on a whiteboard in Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign headquarters. “It’s the economy, stupid,” has since become famous as a piece of blunt, homespun political wisdom. But I have to admit, it always confused me. Carville meant it as a rebuke to any members of the Arkansas governor’s staff stupid enough to forget the campaign’s outward focus on “rebuilding our economy.

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Calm Before the Storm

Mayor Phil Stoddard keeps enough potassium iodide on hand for all the children of South Miami. The lanky, bespectacled biology professor-cum-municipal politician fears an accident at the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, which lies 25 miles south of downtown Miami—and a mere 20 miles from Stoddard’s office in South Miami City Hall.

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Painting Over the Dirty Truth

In four minutes on Season 3, The Sopranos nails the ethical dilemma that has long mired the art world. Carmela Soprano’s consultation with the Jewish shrink is priceless: Facing the truth about Tony, her mob-boss spouse, the upscale Mafia housewife tries to compartmentalize her marriage from its funding sources. She is loath to divorce. “Us Catholics, we place a great deal of stock in the sanctity of the family,” she explains.

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The MAGA Plot

Ben Lerner writes novels about Ben Lerner. This sentence might have once sounded like a criticism. But since writing that collapses the distance between fiction and author—so-called autofiction—is au courant, it is nearer an endorsement. The hero of Lerner’s debut novel, 2011’s Leaving the Atocha Station, is a poet named Adam Gordon.

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Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro Will Make You Feel Complicit

How a political film should aim to make you feel is a tricky question. There’s the Ken Loach approach, worthy and moving but, in this overcrowded landscape, arguably not fashioned to persuade (or even attract) those viewers not already on-side, and there’s the fast-paced Armando Iannucci satire, in which hypocrisies are gleefully punctured and the accepted political culture is stretched toward its Swiftian logical conclusions.

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