Monthly archives: January, 2007

Setlist for Tonight

So much to read, so little time. Welcome to the occasional newcritics linkfest (or blog-whoring as the estimable Shakespeare’s Sister would call it). It’s three-dot time, friends. Jim Wolcott pans Woody Allen’s Scoop (“There’s a lot that doesn’t seem to have reached Mr. Magoo.”), a flick that was panned here by Lance Mannion, who gives …

The Sorkin Spectacle

Lance Mannion, who graces newcritics with his presence, runs one of those wonderfully just-because online events that attracts the right crowd: I refer to his weekly live-blogging fest of Aaron Sorkin’s much-maligned Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Lance’s commentpalooza has been on hiatus with the show, but it returns to tonight and we urge …

Swedish Cop, Timeless Murder

There’s a distinct darkness on the edge of the old towns along the coast of southern Sweden in the dangerous world created by Henning Mankell and inhabited by his brilliant and reluctant police inspector Kurt Wallander. I’ve ploughed through nearly all of the ten or so Wallander books in translation over the past few months, …

Executioner’s Songs

Televised executions are all the rage these days, but the long drops in Iraq brought to mind two made-for-television movies that I saw decades ago, but remain fairly vivid for their imagery and their unshaking lens. They were seen as anti-death penalty arguments on the small screen, but as I remember, both The Execution of …

Portraying Dr. King

Much critical ink has been spilled, and deservedly so, on the merits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a writer. King was a master of the language, and indeed his use of the written and spoken word created the center of his power as a leader, and preserved his image as an icon. [I …

This Anomalous Experiment

New Criticism was a movement among early 20th century writers and critics of English that argued a strict adherence to a series of absolute truths, the most important of which was that everything that can be known about a work of literature can be found in its published text. Almost a century later, technology and …

Richard Ford’s Jesus of Suburbia

A fortnight after I finished it, Richard Ford’s trilogy-ending novel The Lay of the Land was still with me. And yet, I cannot tell you what happens in the book, what plot developments drive the last chapter in the saga of Frank Bascombe, what the story really is. There are some bits about a funeral, …

In Our Time

James Wolcott beat me to a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while: praise for a wonderful BBC radio program that I’ve enjoyed as a podcast on many a train ride: I also want to direct attention to the excellent trove of replayable broadcasts of Melvyn Bragg’s superb In Our Time series on …

Zoinks Scoob…

Shakespeare’s Sister writes a brief and heartfelt homage to Iwao Takamoto, who created Scooby Doo, and died at age 81: I can’t begin to explain how much I adored Scooby-Doo as a kid. For my birthday one year, all I wanted was a Scooby-Doo record player. Never mind that they didn’t make Scooby-Doo record players. …