Entries from January 2010

Holden Caulfield, Guru

Identity struggle makes J.D. Salinger's Catcher In the Rye timeless .

January 31st, 2010 · 1 Comment

UPDATED (at end): Since the death of J.D. Salinger, there’s been scads of comment declaring his books as life-changers (or not) and plenty of speculation on what waits in his safe to be published or what might be made into a movie and even some of that personal, David Copperfield kind…

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Tags: The Rabbit Rants

Seeing Through Auster

Truth is veiled, if visible, in Paul Auster's latest novel.

January 30th, 2010 · No Comments

What is it that’s “invisible” in Paul Auster’s latest novel? It’s not the truth. The truth is there… somewhere … though choosing it from all the various claims and denials batted around by three different narrators and one or two other characters might be an impossible task. Or maybe it’s…

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Tags: Book Reviews

Flat-Earth Theory

The ABCs of John Ashbery

January 16th, 2010 · No Comments

John Ashbery, now 82, has said that his goal is “to produce a poem that the critic can’t even talk about.” Planisphere proves that he keeps trying, even as the critics keep talking. Helen Vendler finds meaning in Planisphere‘s title. She notes that it comes from Marvell’s poem “The Definition of Love,”…

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Tags: Book Reviews

Denial Economics

Eugene Fama, Richard Posner and Paul Krugman in slap down

January 16th, 2010 · No Comments

One way we laymen understand economics and how it affects our times is to think of it in schools. The clash between these schools– between Keynesians and Freidmanites, Harvard and Chicago, fresh and saltwater, free markets and countervailing powers, Roosevelt and Reagan–often become heated and personal giving economics the same…

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Tags: The Rabbit Rants

Radiolarians: Third Time’s Charm

Is III best?

January 11th, 2010 · No Comments

The implication of three, staggered releases in Medeski, Martin and Wood’s title-and-concept-sharing Radiolarians series is that the second will be an improvement on the first and that the third will be best of all. Of course, this assumption is false; no such claim is made or warranted. And the Radiolarians process–developing material…

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Tags: Music Reviews

TinTin’s Century

New biography of Herge calls out the French comic hero

January 10th, 2010 · No Comments

Did the past century belong to Tintin? That’s the suggestion in Pierre Assouline’s new biography Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin when Assouline, using redundant hedges, writes, “some speak with some justification of a ‘Tintin century,’ signfying the 20th.” Writer and Vanity Fair editor Bruce Handy, writing in The New York Times…

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Tags: Comics · The Rabbit Rants

When Jazz Went Bad

A new collection recalls the satisfying aspects of the music's early-'70s struggle for identity

January 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

The same old thing wasn’t going to cut it in the early 1970s. And just about anything recorded before Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, in other words before 1969, was the same old thing. That wasn’t going to grab the ears of the hip new audience Miles had attracted with his…

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Tags: Music Reviews

Mad Man

The founder of Mad created an American school of social satire.

January 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

There’s much to quibble over in Abram’s big, beautiful The Art of Harvey Kurtzman (the “man” in Kurtzman isn’t spelled out but drawn as  simplistic balloon-stick figure). Why include the complete “Superduperman” from Mad no. 4 (1953) instead of  samples from “Dragged Net!,” the parody of television’s cigarette-selling, L.A Cop promoting…

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Tags: Comics · The Rabbit Rants