What is it about Felt? Legend has it that about 10 years ago, Stuart Murdoch-the genius behind the widely adored 90′s twee-pop ensemble, Belle and Sebastian-left Glasgow in search of Lawrence Hayward, the genius behind the great 80′s cult favorite Felt. He never found him-but, as always, the failure to encounter an idol in the Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 10/27/03 12:00am
Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures with the Titans, Poseurs, and Money Guys Who Mastered and Messed Up Big Media , by Michael Wolff. HarperCollins, 381 pages, $25.95.
In 1980, George W.S. Trow, a veteran New Yorker staff writer and one of the founding editors of The National Lampoon, published a 25,000-word jeremiad decrying Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 10/13/03 12:00am
The Roaring Nineties , by Joseph E. Stiglitz. W.W. Norton, 256 pages, $25.95.
The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century , by Paul Krugman. W.W. Norton, 320 pages, $25.95.
Before they drifted into the respectable upper reaches of the left-leaning punditocracy, Paul KrugmanandJoseph Stiglitz were what might be called Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 8/25/03 12:00am
Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life, by Eric Hobsbawm. Pantheon, 448 pages, $30.
The great English historian Eric Hobsbawm-jazz fiend, Karl Kraus acolyte, omni-cosmo-politan, honorary New Yorker and semi-impenitent Bloomsbury communist-has written a remarkable auto-biography, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life . His primary qualification? “I have lived through almost all of the most extraordinary and terrible Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 5/12/03 12:00am
Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market , by Eric Schlosser. Houghton Mifflin, 310 pages, $23.
Eric Schlosser, author of the muckraking instant classic Fast Food Nation , has returned with a collection of three new exposés. In the earlier book, Mr. Schlosser took the simple, ubiquitous hamburger patty and Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 4/21/03 12:00am
Raising America: Experts, Parents and a Century of Advice About Children, by Ann Hulbert. Alfred A. Knopf, 384 pages, $27.50.
Trailing clouds of glory, and still somewhat covered in her mother’s gore, my newborn baby was laid, cafeteria-style, under a heating lamp. There she was administered, at the ripe age of seven seconds, her first Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 4/14/03 12:00am
Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s , by Gerald Nachman. Pantheon, 659 pages, $29.95.
The history of stand-up comedy divides neatly into two eras: B.M.S. and A.M.S. Before Mort Sahl, comedians were mostlyingratiating Catskill tummlers . They’d rib the in-laws, flash the occasional stiletto and never touch the politics. Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 3/03/03 12:00am
Being America: Liberty, Commerce, and Violence in an American World, by Jedediah Purdy. Alfred A. Knopf, 303 pages, $24.
Back in 1999, a marketably young Yale law student named Jedediah Purdy wrote a book about the corrosive effects of irony. Though his arguments were often sloppy, he managed to marry the face of a Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 1/20/03 12:00am
Everybody knew a plan to cut the corporate dividend tax was on its way. Buttotal elimination? Back in early December, TheStreet.com reported that the “scuttlebutt” was a (in retrospect) humble exemption-the first $5,000 to $50,000 of dividends-and, as late as the current issue of Business Week , forecasts were for a proposal that would cut Read More
By Stephen Metcalf 1/13/03 12:00am
Gold, the ultimate pre-postmodern investment, had a big 2002, with its best annual percentage gain since 1979; the dollar, conversely,suffered its steepest plunge since 1987. Is this noise-or a trend?
The mainstream financial media is suggesting that the rising price of gold is nothing more than passing jitters. “Bets on Gold-Related Issues Reflect Events,” The Read More