Sunday, September 20, 2009

Selected Thoughts on the New Yorker September 14

Selected thoughts on the 14 September 2009 edition of The New Yorker:

Zoo York (by Lauren Collins)
Times Square was crazy last time I was there. I think blocking off traffic could make a lot of sense. I'm curious to check it out again.

Inflated Fears (by James Surowiecki)
Fear of inflation really is persistent. It would be interesting to read more about why some people get hung up on this concern. But, I think there is a lot of muddled thinking out there when it comes to economics. My thinking is far from clear, but I think I'm begging to grasp the contours of the issue.

Road Show (by Anthony Lane)
Lane reflects on the meaning of Robert Frank's 1950s photographs of America. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently showing an exhibit about the photographs and The New Yorker has put up a selected slide show that is worth checking out. One of the most interesting aspects of this article is the questions about the realness in interpretation of art and the meaning and agenda frozen by a photographer's choice of a specific frame:
Again, it is worth consulting the relevant contact strip: fourteen shots of the same woman, at least half of them catching her in the act of a smile—a polite gesture adopted for those riding beside her, you might say, but then professional courtesy is no less a national trait than the ruefulness on which Frank preferred to focus. For every little ole lonely girl, there will have been a dozen young elevator operators as perky and unslumped as Shirley MacLaine in “The Apartment” (1960), fending off the office demons and fighting down their disappointments. Such is one definition of “The Americans”: a sheaf of stills from a film that was never made—or a film that was made but never released, after the studio heads, examining a rough cut, discovered that every scene had been shot at just the wrong time, when the smiles of the stars and the chatter of the extras had yet to kick in, or had already started to fade.
Missing Woman (by Judith Thurman)
I guess I've never really known much about Amelia Earhart. Thurman reviews several recent books about her and is somewhat less than impressed:
Earhart was saintlike only as a martyr to her own ambition, who became an object of veneration and is periodically resurrected—her unvarnished glamour, like a holy man’s body, still miraculously fresh. Embraced by feminists, she was featured on a 1976 cover of Ms., which promised a story “BETTER THAN THE MYTH.” Read closely, however, Earhart’s life is, in part, the story of a charismatic dilettante who lectured college girls about ambition yet never bothered to earn a degree.

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