Geoff Dyer -- everyman's essayist on everything, from D. H. Lawrence's poetry to photography to his his haircuts to travels in Cambodia -- is setting an example here of how to "have it all" aesthetically.
In Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West this winter I entered a new Hemingway period in my head with For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Now Tennesee Williams, supposed to be Papa's iconic opposite, is in there too with a brilliant revival of The Glass Menagerie (1944). Our conversation turns on manhood, masculinity, masculinism and not least in 2013 around guns and gun control, drone wars and who we are in the world...
Two big new books on the 30-year "Bulger Captivity" of Boston press the main blame on serial killer "Whitey," -- pictured as a "sole psychopath" of Keyser Söze proportions. There's further evidence in the books, though, that Whitey had political protection all his criminal life, and not just from the corrupted FBI.
Rand Paul's impromptu anti-drone filibuster looks like a model of the long-bruited "convergence" against the idea of permanent war. Are we looking at a bridge broad enough to carry Tea Party and OCCUPY dissidents over a stagnant mainstream?
Tony Lewis (1927 - 2013) was a perfect paladin of the newspaper age and a model of consequential liberalism – meaning the modest optimism that institutions, even societies, could face their big flaws and get better. And – in so many ways – ours did!
Kevin Powers' searing novel of combat soldiers in Iraq puts him in the honored line of anti-war masters Crane, Hemingway, Heller, O'Brien & Company. My question is whether the literature of war feeds our fascination with the monster even more than it helps us break it...
On Pope Francis' chosen name, Jim Carroll marvels: "There's a ringing clarity to it that took the world's breath away. It was ingenious. It was worthy of a great poet. Look at who Francis is... "
A fortnight after the Boston Marathon bomb, we're still avoiding an obvious connection. These diabolical attacks parody, feed on and promote the sick illogic of "shock and awe" and the drone-war trend, in which President Obama has been leading us in just the wrong Orwellian direction.
If Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney had grown up together a few blocks apart in, say, Paris, there would be statues in their honor, and streets named after them. In Boston, the immortal stars of Duke Ellington's reed section through 40 years of orchestral genius should have a monument.
Britain's "First Afghan War" (1839 - 42) was the prototype of our own imperial blundering. Better we'd adopted the rule: "wherever the US finds itself embroiled in a place with an English cemetery: go home!"