In 2012, Hanksy was a street artist gaining a degree of notoriety for his street art depicting Tom Hanks as a Banksy rat. Since then, he has sold out multiple New York gallery shows, created a large and loyal band of internet supporters, energetic detractors, and is about to open his first show in Los Angeles, at Gallery 1988. Since my first interview with Hanksy, we have become good friends. I do not believe this infringes on my ability to ask questions about pun-based street art.
- Princess Poppy Purrington
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway was published on this day in 1925. Set on a single day in London, in June of 1923, it tells the parallel stories of Clarissa Dalloway, who is throwing a party, and Septimus Warren Smith, a shell-shocked World War One veteran. A perfect high modernist work, here are some of the reasons why the book still matters.
Woolf makes us care about a fancy middle-aged lady throwing a party.
From the opening line of the book—"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."—we know we are with a married woman who is rich enough to have people around her to do errands for her. [...]
I dig sports, so I was watching "Game of Thrones" on Home Box the other night and there was this part where a dude was being super-rude to a lady, but he was doing it in a Foreign Language from errbody else, so he thought he was slick. However, the person he was being rude to was the chick who has the fire-breathing dragons, and she came up hard, and she does not play. Spoiler alert. Aiieeee!
All the people on "Game of Thrones" pretty much speak the "Common Tongue" or whatever they call it on the show (if they call it anything) and nobody gets bent outta shape if [...]
Recently I went to Carnegie Hall for, I believe, the second time in my life, to see Gabriel Kahane and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra perform Gabriel's "Guide to the 48 States." I went to college with Gabriel, where our closest contact was probably when I was an assistant stage manager on a musical he co-wrote. Since then he's established himself as a songwriter, singer and composer, one of the polymath hopes of classical music. The New York Times Magazine called him “a one-man cultural Cuisinart.” He's composed concert music for himself, string quartets, and orchestras; he wrote the music and lyrics for a musical at the Public Theater; he first attracted [...]
In the introduction to Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette, first published in 1952, the author asks: "Who needs a book of etiquette?" Her answer: "Everyone does." The question has not aged well. She should have inquired of the future: "Who needs this 60-year-old etiquette book?" The answer: "Society people in 2013, because they wear tennis shoes outside of the racquet club."
Ms. Vanderbilt was too accommodating to the march of time, as the 1962 edition of her book included a section on bowling. Perhaps she should have also detailed the proper manners for youths who wish to pass drug cigarettes around the unisex bathroom whilst between frames. I’m fairly [...]
Appearing here Wednesdays, Turning The Screw provides existential crisis counseling for the faint of heart. "Don’t make me come over there!"
Recently one of my best friends since childhood started dating my sister (whom I am also super close with). They seem pretty serious about each other and I want to be okay with it, but I'm having a really hard time with it. The main issue is I just have this primal response of UGHGHG NOOOOOOO which doesn't feel totally logical when it happens, but here's what I think it's about:
1. I talk to both of them constantly, all the time, about everything. Particularly dating, [...]
I'm an adviser to John McCain's campaign. 1 Siri calls me “Funk Deity.” 2 Aside from lessons in pole dancing—another fad workout sweeping Southern California—this may be the least macho exercise of all time. 3
I am not a cat person. 4 My mother was one for many years. 5 I am a professor of Shakespeare, among other subjects, at UCLA, and this has never happened to me. 6
I am a sucker for the man-befriends-nonhuman-creature genre of sitcoms. 7 I have no complaints about how much I make. 8
When the New America Foundation moves its offices in D.C., next week, Foreign Policy will become our tenants, but [...]
Appearing here Wednesdays, Turning The Screw provides existential crisis counseling for the faint of heart. "Because you're still fucking up in the same ways you were before, only now you're too arrogant to notice."
How many times is too many to listen to a friend discuss their problems? I have several friends (mostly unemployed writers) who talk about the same thing over and over: namely, that they're not successful and don't know people who will help them, and yet don't do anything to change it. I literally have listened for over 30 minutes at least four times this week to the same friend who kept repeating him/herself [...]
Stephen Rodrick, a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, of late best known for the single best story on Lindsay Lohan ever, has a new book out today called The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey Into His Father’s Life. His father, Commander Peter Rodrick, died in 1979 when his Prowler crashed into the ocean. The book traces the aftermath of his father’s death for his young family, and its ripple effects in Rodrick’s adult life—but is also a book documenting military life today. It's also really good, particularly in the way it calibrates the telling of such an openly emotional story. It’s not easy [...]
I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled by it to converse with an absent friend, as if present! —Thomas Jefferson
She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would be too much to ask you for your autograph?"
Ralph then attached the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same. When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland. —Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+ (1911)
On February 27th, Toni Morrison took part in an [...]
Twitter greeted last week's "Law & Order: SVU" with mostly unbridled glee. "#SVU with the victim from New Canaan… REPRESENT!!" cheered @TotesMagotesMG3. "Law+order Svu episode about new Canaan kids yoloing and havin to go to rikers for pullin down their friends shirt made my night," confessed @BernbabyBern268. "Damn these rich little high school students from New Canaan CT are going to Rykers," observed @EyezWydeShut. Alas, sighed @bginns: "Not a good night for New Canaan."
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick would have been 63 today. Four years have passed since her death, but her absence is felt more, not less, with each. More than ever Sedgwick’s writing generates further writing and thinking from those who engage with it.
Sedgwick once said about reading affect theorist Silvan Tomkins: "I often get tired when I’m learning a lot." Her writing has the same effect—calming and invigorating—generative and tireless even if also sometimes tiring. In her posthumous collection, The Weather In Proust (2011), Sedgwick remarks that one form of antinormative reading can lead to many other types of theorizing—this is exactly how I feel about Sedgwick’s work. Forever [...]
I met Joel Clark and Tavit Geudelekian in Joel's Bushwick loft. They were talking, as people so often do in these situations, about a work of great literature. Joel's well-worn copy of Moby Dick was on the coffee table, next to an Apple laptop. The computer was displaying images from the card game that they have developed based on the novel. It is called "Moby Dick, or, The Card Game."
They created the project with Andy Kopas, Mark Perloff, and John Kauderer. Today it went live for fundraising on Kickstarter, with a goal of $25,000. The game mechanics combine luck and skill, much like a 19th century whaling [...]
Whether godless or godly, we all consult a private pantheon of authorities, living or dead, to gauge our comportment. We read ethics columns on subway trains and in cafes for vicarious solutions to our secret troubles. Since the days of Dear Abby and Ann Landers, the availability of emotional and behavioral self-help information has grown exponentially. In the digital age, now adrift in a wide, shallow sea of media outlets, wondering where to turn for advice only increases our anxiety. Cable TV and the Internet have left us splintered and atomized; they've negated the comforting clarity of our few favorite go-to gurus.
One such erstwhile guru has just left us [...]
At the age of 15, King Edward VI was dying. For his last act as king, he excluded both of his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the line of succession. (To get Mary out of the line, he had to ditch them both.) His Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, was named the Queen of England.
Two days after his death, Mary raised an army of nearly twenty thousand. It took just nine days for Mary—the only child born to Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon—to correct her half-brother’s final request. Coercion by force was an effective instrument, and it would come to define her reign.
Internet, yay! Internet, oh no!—surely, it’s obvious by now that there is as much reason for hope as there is for fear from our technological future. A rational and nuanced criticism will seek to define our true circumstances, identify dangers, and encourage beneficial progress. Thus far, however, tech critics have tended to extremes, either for or against the Internet: wringing their hands á la Nicholas Carr (The Shallows), or busting out the pompoms in the manner of Jeff Jarvis (What Would Google Do?). This simple-minded stuff will no longer do. It's into the vacuum of a powerfully felt need that contemporary theorists like Evgeny Morozov and Jaron Lanier have been [...]
109. Frédéric Mistral, 1904
108. Winston Churchill, 1953
107. Pearl S. Buck, 1938
105 (tie). Harry Martinson, 1974
105 (tie). Eyvind Johnson, 1974
104. William Golding, 1983
103. Jacinto Benavente, 1922
102. John Galsworthy, 1932
101. Odysseus Elytis, 1979
100. Camilo José Cela, 1989
99. Rudyard Kipling, 1907
98. Roger Martin du Gard, 1937
97. John Steinbeck, 1962
96. Hermann Hesse, 1946
95. Sinclair Lewis, 1930
94. Paul Heyse, 1910
93. Vicente Aleixandre, 1977
92. Rudolf Christoph Eucken, 1908
91. V.S. Naipaul, 2001
90. Pablo Neruda, 1971
Food marketing is psychotic. It creeps. Smithsonian magazine ran a cover story with the headline How the Chicken Conquered the World. "Let us now praise chicken in all its extra-crispy glory! Chicken, the mascot of globalization, the universal symbol of middlebrow culinary aspiration!" That was last year. "Nothing is more worthless than an individual chicken," Joy Williams once observed. Not for Smithsonian. Obviously there was some war going on and the chickens kicked our ass.
It’s not just the birds. For a character in Francesco Pacifico’s novel The Story of my Purity, the place of psychosis is apricot pastries: "Industrial apricots had become humanity’s enemy number one, [...]
Ramps are fine. I will not bash any of the members of the House Of Allium, one of the most illustrious families of food. Tasty things can and have been done with them! But they are neither the only nor the best item that springtime has to offer. Eating seasonally does not necessarily require spending seven dollars on five tiny leafy scallions. This is not ramp season, my friends. This is a time of so much more. Here's a list of timely delicacies you should be gorging on, sans ramps.
SHAD and SHAD ROE Shad is a fish in the herring family, sometimes called a river herring. It migrates in [...]