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Showing posts from January, 2019

New Yorker Fiction Review #216: "All Rivers" by Amos Oz

Review of a short story from the Jan. 14, 2019 issue of The New Yorker...

The late Israeli writer Amos Oz must have invented the so-called "manic pixie dream girl" back in 1963 when he wrote the short story "All Rivers," about a stamp collector who meets a darkly mysterious, and tubercular, poet named Tova at a coffee shop. The two have a fraught, touchy, intellectual sort of one-day love affair in which they discuss metaphors, poetry, rivers, debate getting married, and in which Tova tells the main character she loves him, before they part strangely, never to meet again.

If you've never heard of the manic pixie dream girl (MPDG) you've doubtless seen her onscreen. She's the adorable, hipster female character in the film (think Zoe Deschanel; I'm thinking of 500 Days of Summer but there are probably better examples) whose quirky, free-spiritedness is hopelessly enchanting to the male main character leading him to discover something new about himself…

The 10 Year Challenge: Making meaning out of a seemingly frivolous internet fad

In case you've been living under a rock (or you don't use Facebook (or both)), you probably know about the 10 Year Challenge, in which people are challenged to post pictures of themselves from 10 years ago so they can compare what they look like now vs. 10 years ago. Real "ground-breaking" stuff here, I know, but it's the latest viral internet/FB trend and one can't help but notice.

I myself have not participated in the Facebook 10 Year Challenge. Why? For one thing, I already know I look better now than I did 10 years ago. I weigh less. I'm in better shape. I dress better. I might have slightly less hair than I did in 2009 but even at 29 I was basically bald. I don't feel the need to share this with everyone.

Besides, to me what's far more interesting is where I was at mentally 10 years ago. For most people this can be a very difficult thing to pinpoint. It's just really, really difficult to get an accurate handle on what was going on in your…

Movie Review: Vice (2018)

Who cares about Dick Cheney right now? Really. We all lived through the Bush 43 administration, 9-11, the WMD lies, we saw the way the hunt for Bin Laden in Afghanistan magically morphed into the war in Iraq right before our eyes, and we've all -- in our own way -- either moved on, made our peace with it, let it go, or just forgotten about it for a while because (let's face it) we're in the midst of one of the most bizarre and galling presidential administrations this country has ever seen. Do we really need to go back and feel like crap about the Bush administration all over again?

I suppose we do. But I still don't understand precisely why. I'm sure there's an interview out there with Adam McKay (the director) about why this film needed to be made right now but I've not read it. And anyway...when would there be a good time to go back and dredge a lot of this stuff up? There would never be a good time.

We all kind of knew -- or at least suspected -- that …