Monday, April 28, 2008

GONZO Photography, from Hunter S. Thompson

M'dear Lucy Perceval tells me that an excellent Hunter S. Thompson photo show, "GONZO," ran at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London last year. It was the very first time private photographs of and by Hunter S Thompson were shown to the public in Europe. Hoppen also helped publish a limited edition book of his Hunter's photos, entitled GONZO. Prints are available from Hoppen in a limited edition of 10 only and are produced on either silver gelatin or Fuji Crystal archive paper.

Thanks to Lucy for tipping me to this, and to the Michael Hoppen Gallery for permission to run this photo, "Agar and Sandy," Big Sur © Hunter S Thompson. See more HERE.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Poem by the heroic Jeannie Vanasco

I want to be wrong in a beautiful way

like the stagehands who wheeled out the sun when the actor
was under the moon;
like the scientist who thought the seeds of trees
blown into the sea make birds—
“I have seen them fly from the waters,” he wrote;
like me saying my father died last night—
he died ten years ago;
like Newton dividing white light
into the seven colors of the spectrum for the seven notes
of the musical scale for any other way would break
the Pythagorean principle of harmony.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Morning thought

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in. Forget them as you can, tomorrow is another day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson --

News that stays news

"The Information Age was dealt a stunning blow Monday, when a factual error was discovered on the Internet." Report can be found HERE.

miseries and blessings

Winston Churchill once said socialism is the equal sharing of miseries whereas capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. Did anyone ever imagine it would be this unequal?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kurosawa's Stray Dog

Re-watched Akira Kurosawa's Stray Dog (1949) on the excellent Criterion Collection DVD. The mini doc recounts a stir over the opening shot of a dog panting feverishly. The film premiered during the American occupation of Japan, and a busybody American woman associated with the ASPCA accused Kurosawa of having injected the dog with rabies to get that wild-eyed effect. This was in the wake of post-war revelations about "scientific" experiments performed by the Japanese imperial army. Apparently this woman was persistent, obsessed even, and brought suit. Was the one blot on an otherwise happy production.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Professor of Law Chris Borgen on "unacknowledged legislators"

Literature, at its best, bridges gaps of experience and culture. It helps you stand in another’s shoes. If one of the things we, as international lawyers, care about is a just world then fostering an understanding of each other’s views is an important step in that direction, regardless as to whether we actually agree with those views. You cannot let rhetoric bury nuance, anger bury analysis. Anger can spur great literature and righteous anger can be the seed of political reform, but great literature and just policies are more than angry reactions. Writers (and international lawyers) are fortunately not the world’s legislators. But both can have a profound influence in how we understand and shape our world.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Elizabeth Wurtzel writes on American Rehab

Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote to The Main Point blog...

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy thought there was no place like home. But really there’s no place like rehab: you check in, they give you a backless hospital gown to wear, the orderlies bring you cranberry juice, the nurses check your vital signs every few hours, and no matter what you say, everyone says, I understand.
This is quite a change from a life in which, if you’ve been drinking and drugging to excess and generally running the engine, everybody has been telling you, I don’t understand. Yes, most of what the common drug addict most commonly hears for the weeks or months or years leading up to rehab is the common phrase, I don’t understand. Certainly, if you are an underage Miss USA out on a binge, if you are Congressman Mark Foley sending lascivious text messages to an underage page, or if you are Mel Gibson screaming anti-Semitic slurs at the cops, one can only hope that someone is saying, I don’t understand. But of course this is terribly tiring. So you go to rehab, where everyone understands—and plies you with Ocean Spray.
This is the last act of contrition the public bully pulpit will put up with any longer, the final frontier of forgiveness, and even at that it is an iffy sorry on both sides, neither quite meaning it all the way. The penitent posits that drugs made her do it, and we accept her back into straight society on condition of a twenty-eight day in-patient penance: it’s the new rate of apology exchange, and everyone knows it’s nonsense but goes along with it because it’s still twelve steps beyond the simple sorry.
The simple sorry, of course, used to suffice. Richard Nixon could remain in the race for the Vice President by making the maudlin Checkers speech; Bill Clinton could stay President by saying he couldn’t conjugate to be, that he didn’t know what is is. But no more. Now you must check yourself in, and either go through the motions or make the most of it: rehab is a genuine revelation for the genuine of heart. But will it be for Miss USA?
The idea of running for cover is not new. The Old Testament, in the Book of
Numbers, orders the Israelites to establish the city of refuge—eir miklat in Hebrew—where an accidental killer could flee to evade the wrath of the next of kin in the wake of his sin. Six such retreats were to be built on either side of the Jordan River for the man who erred. In his Torah commentary, Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald sees these cities of refuge as proof that the Bible was preternaturally compassionate and prehistorically ahead of its time. The eir miklat was a place where sinful citizens could, as Rabbi Buchwald puts it, “undergo rehabilitation,” and the process was “the equivalent of ‘group therapy.’”
Perhaps Mel Gibson should reconcile with the Jews after all.
posted with the author's permission by James Linville

The Collapse by Nicole Burdette

I’ve seen you cross an empty room
With a bottle of booze in one hand
And a paper cup in the other
I’ve seen you thinking you were alone
But I know better
And I’ve had visits from you
We were leaning in the hallway
When you turned on the radio saying good-bye
And then later when you collapsed at the counter
When you wept so hard your knees gave out
The unnatural light hit your features hard
Digging in your pockets, you put something in my hand
And looked at the other for an answer in my palm
So I sat there with you,
One hand open and the other clutching your coins
You hung on me with the weight of a bear, heavy
After some coffee and a couple of times around the block
We walked through more alleys and barren roads,
Hitting dead ends, turning around
Both of us are from the Midwest
Where men and women really do hate each other
I knew that
You are another Hamlet
So when you tell me to stay away
Because you are crazy and not nice sometimes
I believe you
And manage a smile
At you and I crammed in a corner
Dancing to Roy Orbison because you said
“We have to dance. It’s Roy Orbison.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Memories of Erich Fromm by Michael Maccoby

In 1959 while I was finishing my doctorate at Harvard, David Riesman, the sociologist, introduced me to Erich Fromm who was looking for a psychologist with knowledge of statistics and projective testing to work with him on his study of a Mexican village. In exchange for working with him, Fromm offered me training in psychoanalysis at the Mexican Institute he had founded and analysis with him. That year before leaving for Mexico in 1960 with my wife Sandylee, I participated with Fromm, Riesman and others in two political meetings. One focused on the dangers of nuclear war with the Soviet Union which led to establishing a group called Committees of Correspondence. Riesman published a newsletter, The Correspondent, which both Fromm and I contributed to in the years that followed. The other was a meeting to discuss revitalizing the Socialist Party in the United States. Fromm had written a manifesto which was the topic of discussion. Although I agreed with much of what Fromm had written, I wasn’t convinced that a Socialist Party had any chance in America, a country where class differences are denied. Riesman, who was also at the meeting, and I decided our best hopes were to work within the Democratic Party, and subsequently, we presented a paper to a group of progressive Democratic Congressmen which was published in a collection of essays called The Liberal Papers(1961).

From 1960 to 1970, I was Fromm’s student, analysand, apprentice, and colleague, co-author of a debate on thermonuclear war with Herman Kahn(1962) and finally the book Social Character in a Mexican Village (1970).

It is difficult to summarize a decade of profound learning and experiences with Fromm. The analysis was a deep exploration of self, rich in dreams and insights that woke up sleeping parts of the self and forced me to take full ownership of my life in making critical decisions. At one point, I had a dream of being in a Harvard examination hall with others. In front of us was a map of the world. I started to work on my map but I noticed the others just sitting there, not working. “That’s a good dream,” said Fromm, “We are all given the world as a test, but most people don’t know it’s a test they have to to take until it’s too late and they can no longer decide what they are here for.”

Fromm’s view of the self was like a mansion of many rooms in which most people lived in one or two with the others closed off. Like Freud, he agreed with Horace that “nothing human is alien to me”. One’s ability to experience and contain all the irrational as well as transcendent emotions, from the murderous to the loving and sublime, from deep despair to encompassing joy determined how deep the analysis could go. But to contain this awareness required a philosophical frame of meaning which Fromm had found first in Judaism but later in different forms of Buddhism and religious mysticism. Together with my analysis, Fromm had me read Aristotle’s and Spinoza’s Ethics, Herbert Marcuse’s study of Hegel, Kierkegaard’s Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing, Meister Eckhardt’s stages of development and writings in Zen and Indian Buddhism.

During the time I knew him, including periodic meetings in the 1970s, Fromm significantly changed some of his views. In the early 1960s, his outlook combined a messianic belief in humanistic socialism with a practice of Zen Buddhism, learned from D. Suzuki. He was in contact with the Yugoslavian Paxis Marxist and encouraged me to lecture in Belgrade and Zagreb in 1964 and later to attend the meetings of Praxis in Korcula.
His analytic style at this time was very influenced by Zen and he had me practice Zen meditation every day. Like a Zen master he could be punishing when he thought I was holding back or being inauthentic. When I complained that he was not being helpful, he said “I am not here to be helpful but to analyze”. He repeated the Zen story of the master who smacks his disciple with a stick. “But I haven’t even said anything,” says the student. “Why should I wait?” says the master.

After his heart attack, Fromm became gentler, more sympathetic.He said that one could believe all illness was psychosomatic until you reached your 60s, In 1968, we both were very active in the anti Viet Nam war movement and Eugene McCarthy’s campaign for president. After the election was over, Fromm expected McCarthy to join him in leading a humanistic movement based on his book The Revolution of Hope, but McCarthy let him down, even failing to show up for an agreed-on meeting. Fromm became more pessimistic. The Messiah was not going to come any time soon. The Socialist movement was being buried in the rebellious acting out of the late 1960s, more in tune with what Fromm considered Herbert Marcuse’s distortion of both Freud and Marx than with Fromm’s humanism. He became more interested in individual spiritual development, more in tune with the Buddhist vision of transcendence, of becoming one with nature. In his New York apartment, he lay on the floor and showed me how he was practicing dying. His book To Have Or To Be expressed his conviction about purpose, the aspiration to fully love life and to not be held back by greed and enslaving attachments.

Working with Fromm could be difficult but also extremely enjoyable. Even when difficult, it was stimulating. Never before had any professor ripped my drafts apart and forced me to clarify my thoughts, fully express the logic of my arguments. Fromm had no patience with unfounded disagreements, but when we wrote together, he was open to my ideas and criticisms. One of the most memorable days of my life was when he asked me to critique his manuscript of The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness and we met in his New York apartment, dialoguing and arguing from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, getting up only to go to the bath room. Food and drink was brought in by Annis, his wife. What intensity and concentration! Yet, at 11:00pm, neither of us was at all tired. We were fully awake, full of enthusiasm from the intellectual journey we had shared.

Fromm’s tough criticism was, I believe, a compliment, for he was equally tough on himself and extremely self critical of what he considered his narcissism. Like Freud, he saw himself as a narcissistic personality. However, in retrospect, I think he overemphasized the negative aspects of this personality type and underestimated the positive side, the lack of internalization of the father, replacing the superego with an ego ideal, giving one the freedom to create, for good or evil, one’s own sense of meaning without being tied to cultural norms.

Fromm and I both loved telling each other jokes. He had a wonderful sense of humor and a joyful laugh. He believed that a sense of humor is the emotional equivalent of a cognitive sense of reality. He especially enjoyed humor that punctured self importance.

Fromm became an idolized figure in Mexico, based on appreciation of his wisdom but also strengthened by transferential idealization. His disciples lacked his knowledge and vision and few questioned anything he pronounced. I once asked him how it felt to be idealized and he answered that it was frustrating in the sense that his followers, with few exceptions, only repeated what he gave them, that there was a lack of creativity in their followership. But this is a problem with many extremely creative thinkers who never finish learning and revising their ideas. It is the reason why the Freuds, Marxes and Fromms don’t want to be Freudians, Marxists or Frommians.

posted to TMP with the author's permission

new to me

... last night met friends at Lucky Strike on Grand Street downtown. the bartender, a hipster from Veracruz, Mexico, suggested and made a gosling's dark rum, with a squeeze of lemon, and a splash of pineapple juice. new and delicious and needs a name.

The shortest stories

Ernest Hemingway once said his best work was a story he wrote in just six words: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Charles Burnett's "The Killer of Sheep"

Am watching again the legendarily unavailable film "The Killer of Sheep" by Charles Burnett. What a wonderful movie. Not much in the way of story, but the film has a gaze that's penetrating yet generous to its characters. One thing I especially loved was the constant stream of oblique glimpses into their lives. Example... filmmakers are always taught to get into a scene quickly without entrances and exits, to begin "in medias res." Burnett, instead, begins one scene with kids in a little handstand competition on their front porch. Clearly they're bored out of their skulls. After a good while of this, the father, coming home from work and in a "mood,' enters the frame, distractedly brushes their hovering feet away from his face, dumping the kids over, and lumbers in the front door. Somehow hilarious, and an entrance invested with so much psychological material. Genius rarely comes so offhand.

See it! Meanwhile, a good broad assessment of the film here, excerpted below:

The legendary South Central film “Killer of Sheep,” will be released for the first time in theaters on its 30th anniversary. The film, now in a beautifully restored 35mm print, will be commercially distributed for the first time.

Directed by Charles Burnett, “Killer of Sheep” examines the black Los Angeles ghetto of Watts in the mid-1970s through the eyes of Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the psychic toll of working at a slaughterhouse. Frustrated by money problems, he finds respite in moments of simple beauty: the warmth of a teacup against his cheek, slow dancing with his wife to the radio, holding his daughter. The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life -- sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and gentle humor.

“Killer of Sheep” played at a handful of colleges around the United States and in some small European festivals before receiving the Critics' Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1981. In 1990, the Library of Congress declared it a national treasure and placed it among the first 50 films entered in the National Film Registry for its historical significance. In 2002, the National Society of Film Critics also selected the film as one of the 100 Essential Films of all time.

“Killer of Sheep” was shot on location in Watts in a series of weekends on a budget of less than $10,000, most of which was grant money. Finished in 1977 and shown sporadically, its reputation grew and grew until it won a prize at the 1981 Berlin International Film Festival.

Thanks to Selva for calling my attention to that piece, and to Natalie for taking me to the pictures. - JSL

Partial Clearance by John Koethe

Barely a week later
I'd returned to myself again.
But where a light perspective of particulars
Used to range under an accommodating blue sky
There were only numb mind tones, thoughts clenched like little fists,
And syllables struggling to release their sense to my imagination.
I tried to get out of myself
But it was like emerging into a maze:
The buildings across the street still looked the same,
But they seemed foreshortened,
Dense, and much closer than I'd ever realized,
As though I'd only seen them previously in a dream.
Why is it supposed to be so important to see things as they actually are?
The sense of life, of what life is like--isn't that
What we're always trying so desperately to say?
And whether we live in between them,
Mirror each other out of thin air, or exist only as reflections
Of everything that isn't ours, we all sense it,
And we want it to last forever.

published with author's permission

a look in on Avenue A

Had coffee on Avenue A in the East Village a few weeks ago. Saw baby carriages… on Avenue A. All tidier than when years ago I put together a reading series at Limbo CafĂ©. I dug out the list of writers… they hold up. Links below to the books from which they read.

Mona Simpson, James Lasdun, Charlie Smith, Dale Peck, Barry Yourgrau, Harold Brodkey, Dan Stern, Jonathan Dee, A.M. Homes, Diane Williams, Fran Lebowitz, Veronica Geng, Susan Minot, Bradford Morrow, Walter Abish, Richard Price, Jeff Eugenides, John Richardson, Marianne Wiggins, Kelvin Christopher James, Thomas Beller, Edwidge Danticat, Michael Cunningham, Darcy Steinke, Iva Pekarkova, Lucy Grealy, Richard Howard, Colm Toibin, Donald Antrim, Stig Larsson , Paul Watkins, Billy Collins, Mary Karr, Robert Antoni, Aga Shahid Ali, William Wadsworth, Garry Indiana, Rick Moody, Helen Shulman, David Foster Wallace, Michael Collins, Mark Leyner, Victor Erofiev, Kathryn Harrison, Mark Richard, Ana Castillo, A Frank O'Hara Tribute , Robert Olen Butler , Patrick McCabe, Michael Drinkard, Sophie Cabot Black, Randall Kenan, Martha McPhee, Glen Savan, Amanda Filipacchi, Jordan Orlando, Walter Mosley , Edward P. Jones, Jim Lewis, Frederic Tuten, Brooks Hansen, Jennifer Egan, George Plimpton, Thomas Bolt, Caleb Carr, Vince Passaro, Douglas Bauer, Patrick McGrath, Maggie Estep, Allen Kurzweil, Ted Mooney, Tibor Fischer , Walter Kirn, Michael Hornburg , Irvine Welsh , Maritza Perez, Amy Hempl, William T. Vollmann, Gordon Lish, Sandra Scofield, Darcy Steinke, Francine Prose, Bev Jafek, Lisa Fugard, Stephen Wright, Susan Power, Anne-Christine D'Adesky, Geoffrey O'Brien, Scott Malcomson, Peter Reading, David Lehman, Brooke Stevens, Todd Komarnicki, Peter Carey, Dani Shapiro, Jacqueline Deval, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Stephen Dixon , Carol Maso, John Ashbery, Brett Easton Ellis, Thom Jones, Stephen Wright, Colm Toibin, Harry Mathews, Noy Holland, David Bowman, Kevin Canty, Andrew Solomon, Don DeLillo, Amy Bloom, Paul Beatty, Peter Eisenman, Tobias Wolff, David Guterson, Junot Diaz

6 by Catullus, tr. by Peter Green

Flavius, that sweetie of yours (Catullus speaking)
must be totally inelegant and unsmart-
you couldn't keep quiet otherwise, you'd tell me.
Fact is, it's just some commonplace consumptive
tart you're mad for, and you blush to say so.
Look, your nights aren't solitary: silence
won't help out when your own bedroom shouts it--
stinking Syrian perfume, all those garlands,
both your pillows, on each side of the bed, all
rumpled, and the gimcrack bedstead shaken
into sharp creaking, loud perambulation!
It's no good, no good at all, your saying
nothing. Why? You wouldn't look so fucked out
if you weren't up to some inept adventure.
So, whatever you've got there, nice or awful,
tell us! I'm after you, man, and your lovebird,
want to ensky you both in witty poems.

sent to TMP by Jeannie Vanasco, posted with permission of the translator

Meant for Each Other, by Barry Yourgrau

You make a date through the Internet. You meet the girl for the first time at a sake bar. She gulps down a whole bottle of sake by herself. “Okay,” you think. “I guess we know what sort of problem she has. But man, is she cute.”

After two more bottles, the girl falls asleep on her bar stool. “That’s our sweetheart,” grins the bartender, shaking his head at the girl’s snores.

“You mean you know her?” you inquire, uneasily.

“Sure, she’s here every night, with a different guy,” says the bartender. “Whoopee, whoopee.” He winks.

“Really,” you reply. You eye the unconscious girl slumped headfirst on the bar counter. And you decide no matter how cute she is, this first date will also be the last,thank you very much.

And this is how you two meet, you and the love of your life. Four months later you get married and move into a lovely apartment together, where you start to raise a large and happy family.

How you get from point A to point B is a long, complicated, heart-warming, and in many ways wonderfully unbelievable story. But alas it requires someone with far greater narrative powers than mine to properly relate.
Posted by

Chateau Maravenne

Back to France again, and back to... near La Londe, at the western end of the Massif des Maures, is Chateau Maravenne. Last August, late one afternoon, we stumbled upon it by chance when we were looking for a room. We'd spent the day near Cabasson at a beach (rustic, with white sand, and half-empty except for families with sandpails and shovels). Afterward, we decided to stay nearby rather than push on, and so we scanned phone book listings. The Chateau, a mile or two north of a light industrial park, was an old manor house, half-renovated, half shambolic, and set among vineyards. More about those vineyards in a moment.

Yes, they had a room, said Luc, a hulking mustachioed Provencal in shorts and flip-flops.

Was there somewhere we could eat?

He squinted and held up a knife... a paring knife. In his other hand was peach, a spiral of peach-skin hanging down from it.

After stowing our bags in a room upstairs, showering, a moment relaxing on the terrace outside our room, we took one of the half dozen tables in the garden. We ordered a bottle of rose, a product of those vines nearby. Fifteen euros and superb. Photo from my phone of that bottle at the end of the meal posted above. The plan offered bread with olive and anchovy spreads, home-made gravlax with creme fraiche, then osso buco Provencal... with local herbs as well as orange peel, and then tarte tatin. Twenty euros.

The next morning, before departure, browsing down among the wine barrels, we saw a farmer fill up a large plastic container from what looked like a gasoline hose in the wall. Two gallons of red to go.

We'd soon be staying with friends in Plascassier, and so bought them a bottle of the Reserve, twelve euros. That evening our copains kindly opened our gift and shared it out. Our host, after the first taste, pulled a face, as if he wished he'd put it back for himself rather than shared it out immediately.

Very good, he said. Yes, very good.

Always elegant

In adversity, when faced with stupidity, or simply awkward mistakes, Obama is always elegant. Yesterday the presidential frontrunner faced a question from the AP about the "whereabouts of Obama bin Laden." See his gracious response HERE.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Elizabeth Wurtzel valedictory podcast

... on the eve of graduation from Yale law school, TMP contributor and friend, and author of Prozac Nation, Miss Wurtzel sits with the New Haven Independent for a typically funny podcast. Click HERE to go to the podcast.

She's lowered her aims these days, but she reminisces about her one-time ambition to solve all problems in the Middle East: “[I thought....] I’m Jewish, I’m blond, and there are things I can do that no one has tried.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

A "Nontroversy" - Karl Wenclas

Blogger Karl Wenclas and his band at the ULA (Underground Literary Alliance), including Steve Kostecke and Pat Simonelli, persist with their conspiracy theories about The Paris Review, this even in the aftermath of the NYT Book Review's well-reported essay "The Paranoiac and The Paris Review" by Rachel Donadio (can be found HERE).

Really, there's no satisfying anyone.

Update: I've asked Richard Cummings yet once again to acknowledge, despite his misleading citations, that he has never interviewed me, ever. Over the years I've informed the ULA of the same, but no joy, not even an acknowledgment. Stranger, however, is his suggestion that I'd endorsed a book he'd written, a book in fact I've never read, let alone endorsed.

Wenclas of course is the one who years ago continually propounded a theory that Big Eighties brat-pack novelist Tama Janowitz was a transsexual who'd been born a man, one "Tom A. Janowitz." That one he's still not let go of either, as he recently wrote: "How does anyone know. It was never denied!"

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.

Update, December 2016: It's worth summing up here that over the years I have stated clearly that Richard Cummings never, as he has claimed, interviewed me, nor did I make statements he has attributed to me in his articles.  I've made this point to Karl Wenclas, editors at the ULA, the then-Editor of The American Conservative, to the editor of The Lobster, and to author Hugh Wilford who has cited Cummings "interviews" in a book.  So far, no acknowledgement of this in print or on-line from any of them.

Friday, April 4, 2008

One mind examining itself

Neurologist Jill Bolte Taylor's video presentation "My Stroke of Insight," seen HERE, offers an account of one mind examining itself, in this instance in midst of a left-hemisphere stroke. Provocative on questions of left-brain / right-brain functions, the conception of the individual self, the psychological and physiological background in Buddhist meditation practices... and the prospect for achieving world peace. All in eighteen minutes. I recommend.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Liberty London Girl Revealed!

I've written before about my friend LibertyLondonGirl, the anony-blogger who transplanted to New York last year and was just crowned Fashion Insider Blogger of the Year.

Since then, among the most clicked pages on my site have been "An Another Excellent Thing About French Cinema," concerning the wonderful actress Isild le Besco, and my posts about LibertyLondonGirl. I can attest that every day there are those googling the question "Who is LibertyLondonGirl?" Well, if they only knew the half of it. She's beautiful, smart, erudite, witty, kind, loads of fun, and... though, since we're friends plain and simple, I always tried not to notice too much... she's the living embodiment of the Lord's plenty. Since she herself blogged about it, click here

After such a tribute as this, I fear now I'll blush next time I get together with her in the East Village to discuss French film or the contemporary English novel. In any case, I do recommend her post, link above, "Breasts vs. the Fashion Industry," which I attest is all true.

And meanwhile leave you with this glimpse of her.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Eisenhower Republicans Redux

In speaking the last few weeks with other Americans in London, as well as New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and elsewhere I've been struck by the strong, if quietly-stated, enthusiasm among many Republicans for the likely Democratic nominee Obama. In most cases, it's a judgment, or comparative judgment, about his character, but also excitement, or perhaps relief, over the prospect of a candidate who demonstrates a commitment to moving on from this era of partisan politics. I first noticed this phenom when Susan Eisenhower gave the candidate an early endorsement, HERE.