mysteries
6

Janet Malcolm v. Francine Prose

A reader writes: "what is the long game here????" He refers to this letter, in the New York Review of Books, from Janet Malcolm, to Francine Prose, regarding Rebecca West's views on Charlotte Brontë. (You got that? ARE YOU SURE.) Malcolm criticizes Rebecca West's views on Brontë, but finishes: "Prose’s condescending words about Nora Ephron’s brilliant elliptical essays are similarly puzzling."

How did this come to pass? To what end was this written? Was this an impulsive blog comment of a letter? I too would be moved to defend Nora Ephron, but perhaps not to the extent of dashing off a letter. Or was this a tip [...]

24

What If We Never Find Out What Happened to Ronni Chasen?

The Ronni Chasen thing is so out of hand. It's unfortunate that her rather remarkable life—a lovely person; not a rare thing in this world, until you know that she was a Hollywood publicist—is being eclipsed by the matter of her murder. Now, two weeks on, everyone is left to chase not only the extremely bizarre shooting but now the confusing (from the outside, at least) police investigation. For those not paying attention, at a bit after midnight on November 16, at Whittier Dr. and Sunset in Beverly Hills, Chasen was shot at five times while in her car and hit three times. (Not through the windshield, but through [...]

1

Air France 447 Crash Mystery May Be Completely Unmysterious

Preliminary Air France 447 black box info! (Preliminary, in air crash investigations, means "take with a grain of salt.") So, according to reporters, the airspeed sensors got all icy, and the autopilot turned off, and the plane stalled, and then… well. It's definitely premature to assign any blame to the co-pilots who were in the cockpit, so we won't! These reports still seem incomplete: even small-craft pilots-in-training know what to do in a stall: you pick up speed, using something really complex called "gravity," and you un-stall. (According to another reporter, the plane was in a steep climb instead.)

This also means the Times magazine got lucky [...]

75

Why Aren't Gays Funny?

Sure, there are funny gays in various entertainment fields, such as shoe design and Condé Nast magazines, but let us think of gays in actual comedy. Okay, so there's Ellen. That guy ANT. Neil Patrick Harris. And… hmm.

Oh right. Scott Thompson. And Graham Chapman, of Monty Python. These two might prove a comedy "rule" that gays are often funny when in groups of straight people. Or when they are English: Stephen K. Amos, Simon Amstell, Matt Lucas, Julian Clary, Paul O'Grady. And Kenny Everett and Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams, RIP! Or when they are of an English province: Trey Anthony, say, from Canada. And Tommy Sexton. And [...]