Joe McGinniss, who died yesterday at 71, was an imperfect journalist, but a very great one. His writing, no less than that of Shakespeare or Sophocles or Tom Wolfe, wrestled with the elemental questions of right and wrong and ultimately asked, whether of Richard Nixon or a marine doctor/mass murderer or a spoiled rich American girl ex-pat in Hong Kong, “What the hell is wrong with people?” Read More
The Wages of Regret: How Do We Remember Painful Portions of History in the Context of a Modern City?
In 1991, when construction crews digging at the corner of Broadway and Reade Street came upon a colonial-era cemetery known as “Negros Burial Ground,” much was made of the find’s archaeological significance. Familiar to historians, the site entombed slaves and free blacks, as well as American Revolutionary War Prisoners. But scholars hadn’t, up until then, had any notion of how much of the burial ground remained.
“The mind-boggling thing about this site is that so many research areas have been opened,” Michael Parrington, a New Jersey-based archaeologist, told the New York Times. The paper’s report, however, had little to say on the subject of memorial. There were murmurs about removal of remains to the Trinity churchyard, in Harlem, and discussion of a permanent exhibit to occupy the lobby of the building—a 974,000-square-foot, $276 million federal office tower—that had been planned for the site, but little else. Read More
Visitors arriving at Greenpoint cinematheque Light Industry yesterday were greeted outside by a shrine to the late French director Chris Marker consisting of candles, flowers, words and images from his films, a VHS cassette of Hitchcock’s Vertigo and waving plastic cats of the sort seen at the Japanese temple in Mr. Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983). The subject of Sunday’s day-long retrospective, Mr. Marker, who died on his 91st birthday this July, was clearly for this anonymous shrine-building fan what he was for Light Industry co-founder Thomas Beard: a “model of poetic insight and moral intelligence and restless, searching political imagination.” Read More
Longtime friends, colleagues and admirers of Gore Vidal gathered in the currently patriotically decorated Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre—where Mr. Vidal’s 1960 play The Best Man is playing through September 9—on Thursday afternoon to pay their respects to the recently departed writer. The mood was serious yet not solemn as many who were likely humbled to be counted among Mr. Vidal’s contemporaries took the stage to recount memories and share anecdotes from their own experiences with the man.
Reading selections from his own eulogy for Mr. Vidal and praising his friend’s great wit, Dick Cavett recounted many of Mr. Vidal’s most celebrated one-liners. His favorite, he told the audience: “Success is not enough. One’s friends must fail.”
“Whenever my friend succeeds, I die a little,” was another Vidal aphorism recalled to much laughter, and, reading a line from a message prepared by David Mamet for the memorial, Liz Smith decreed Mr. Vidal “smart enough to see through the self-interest of everyone except himself.” Yet none of this seemed to remotely deter the hordes of successful friends who seemed to be endlessly seeking his advice. Read More
Before his sudden death while on a reporting trip in Syria yesterday, New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid was scheduled to return to the US for a twenty-city book tour to promote his memoir, House of Stone, due out March 27. Read More