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On Paper of Record: That 11-Year-Old in Texas Is Actually a Victim!

The NY Times' skepticism was misplaced. It should have been a story about the inevitable racial overtones inherent in a story alleging that 19 African-American kids in a small East Texas town gang-raped a child.

Posted on March 29, 2011 at 9:32 am 0

On The Attack on the Memoir: Not Interested, Says Tobias Wolff!

This would be funny if your snide comment was deliberately indirect and general.

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm 0

On The Attack on the Memoir: Not Interested, Says Tobias Wolff!

Memoirs are stupid and written most frequently by people who drastically overestimate the worth of their own experience. The fact that other stupid people buy and read them explains the continued publication. Every mommy-memoir or weak-ass drug story takes valuable shelf space that might otherwise go to literature of some sort.

The art of literature is the distillation of the universal from the idiosyncratic. Memoir aims to distill the idiosyncratic from the universal; it never works.

Posted on February 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm 0

On Ciudad Juarez: How We Got Here

John, this has been an excellent and much needed series. Thank you very much for your continued contributions and good work.

Posted on September 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm 0

On The Rise of Edgar Valdez Villarreal: American Citizen, Mexican Drug Lord

The most telling detail in the story about the psychology of the dude is the 1992 negligent homicide charge arising out of what sounds like a DUI situation. It's the real anomaly in the otherwise staid details of his life up to that point.

Posted on September 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm 0

On Everyone Probably Owes Paris Hilton An Apology

I'm not sure historically how accurate a take on Marie Antoinette that is. Mostly she was just a woman born into wealth who was married to the man who presided at the precise time that the dam broke. And I'm not advocating for beheading Paris Hilton.

But yeah, it'd be nice to blame the right people. Like the ones who allow inherited wealth to flow down generationally. It's hard to figure out just who deserves the blame for that so, instead, fingers point at the most obvious beneficiaries.

Still, your point is a fair one.

Posted on August 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm 0

On Everyone Probably Owes Paris Hilton An Apology

If we can't hate Paris Hilton then who's left?

You could write a reasoned defense of Marie Antoinette too (or a terrible movie even!)-- but that wouldn't change anything about the fact that she represented something that the regular folks in France could no longer abide.

South Park is funny because it usually gets a pretty accurate read on the underlying feelings the majority of people have about various issues, without regard for whether those feelings are justified or not.

Paris Hilton was a totem of the get-rich at all costs and live a life of leisure phenomena that was all-pervasive at the time. People without riches or leisurely lives were justifiably fed up with it.

Posted on August 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm 0

On 'Eat Pray Love' and 'I Am Love': Class Warfare

No,not at all. My complaint is not about class warfare. It's that the whole idea that a more simple foreign culture can make the scales fall of the eyes of a westerner is completely Orientalist and offensive.

Posted on August 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm 0

On 'Eat Pray Love' and 'I Am Love': Class Warfare

You know, part of the resentment is that the entire concept of the story is bizarrely imperialist, Orientalist, and offensive.

So, you know, after you get past the hilarity of the yoga, organic-food, rich white chick's general malaise -- and it's hilarious -- then you have the enriching encounter with the OTHER thing. Like Dancing with Wolves for chicks. No thanks.

Posted on August 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm 0

On The Slap That England Deserves

I saw that same England during a long cab ride from Kensington back to my hotel at Blackfriars. The cab driver was an Arsenal fan, like me. The balance of the trip was spent on his bemoaning the influence of foreigners on the Arsenal and the Premiership, and how they've ruined what was a once a good, solid, defensive juggernaut of an English side. You don't have to be big into metaphors to understand what he really meant.

Posted on August 17, 2010 at 5:56 pm 0