I’m a freak about timing. To me, a story without a peg is like a song without a hook. But it’s taken me quite awhile to find a copy of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Since I’m less interested in the book than in its reception, I guess it’s okay to file late.
I only recently caught up with Ed Schultz’s swerve from “prairie populist” to pro-Kremlin anchor-man. He got his change in the summer of 2016 after he’d lost his gig at MSNBC. Schultz’s plasticity has always been apparent. (I posted on Big Ed’s persona—“250 pounds of ham and main chance”—back in 2010.)
Greil Marcus responds below to queries from Justyne Dillingham who asked Marcus to comment on (1) the motive behind Putin’s interference in the American election and (2) the “line” of certain leftists–writing in “publications like The Nation and The Intercept as well as mainstream outlets like The London Review of Books”—who claim Russia-gate is “a hoax made up by the intelligence agencies and pushed by Democrats to excuse their failure to win last November.”
Hockney’s pictures have been derided as “merely decorative” and the late Peter Fuller takes up that criticism with the artist in the short clip posted below. Hockney’s musings link pleasure in his art to affirmations of his (gay) self: “We should like ourselves.” There’s another BBC program where the artist is sound-tracked by snatches from Stravinksy’s opera, “The Rake’s Progress,” which flashed your editor back to an 80s Hockney show that seemed largely about cruising. (Not that Hockney’s phenomenology of his intentional body in space is always so libidinal.) While gay liberation is on his canvasses, the splashy promesse de bonheure in Hockney’s art belongs to everybody everybody. It’s a 60s thing, though it evokes other avatars of happiness that deserve dap–Greeks who first depicted the human smile, young French revolutionaries who declared: “happiness is the new idea in Europe,” ex-West Africans who flipped the mask of tragedy even as their favorite color reminded them of their lost continent. It’s all about blue for Hockney too!
If you’re around New York, go see his show at the Met before it closes on February 25th. B.D.
Rev. Barber submitted the following letter to the Senate in opposition to the re-nomination of Thomas Farr to the Federal Judiciary. His words are suffused with felt knowledge of the past: “I have spent my whole life in North Carolina, and I know this nominee. I know what he’s done, what he stands for and just how detrimental he will be to the people of North Carolina and this nation if confirmed.” But he doesn’t ask the Senate to take his word for it. He provides facts and links that make his case undeniable.
Every year produces a gay sensation, and you can tell a lot about the preoccupations of the day from the story it tells. The current candidate, on track to be a Best Picture nominee, is Call Me By Your Name, a gushy–or, if you prefer, alluring–tale of lust between a 17-year-old boy and a man in his mid 20s.
An excerpt from a memoir, “Notes of a British Boyhood,” in progress.
Johnny Folkes had the muscles of a man. We were on the same teams at Humphrey Perkins: soccer and rugby in winter, cricket and athletics in summer, basketball all year round. I was a slender fifteen-year-old. He was beautiful, with a fringe of blond curls. All the girls wanted him.
Nunez, Calderon, and Luis (that’s me), we found an old Chevy Impala, a real big one from the Fifties. It was in the sandbox in front of the kids’ playground next to the project in which we lived. Calderon is very smart. He got a job selling bets at OTB, and we really trusted his judgment. “Nunez, Luis,” he said, “the car has no plates on it. The radio and battery are gone. It is safe to assume that it is abandoned.”