What makes old people cynical is listening to the exact same lies being propagated year after year—and seeing them be just as effective as they ever were. I grew up during the Vietnam War, and I never thought I’d live to see the same hollow rationales, the same shameless appeals to patriotism trotted out to Read More
It’s not every day that you pick up the newspaper and read that three of your friends have been subpoenaed—assuming, that is, that you don’t work for an international bank, the mafia, or the New York State Assembly.
The friends in question are the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, his daughter, the author and filmmaker Sarah Burns, and Sarah’s husband, David McMahon, who has worked with Ken for the last 14 years. I first met and worked with them all when I consulted on the updated version of Ken Burns’s Baseball series and wrote a new chapter for the accompanying book.
The subpoena involves a new documentary the three of them are making called The Central Park Five, an adaptation of the book Sarah Burns published earlier this year, The Central Park Five: Chronicle of a City Wilding, which revisits the brutal rape of Trisha Meili, the 28-year-old investment banker who would be known ever after as “the Central Park jogger.” Read More
“We did it!” developer Bruce Ratner crowed a reported 14 times at the opening of his new Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn this weekend.
We sure did. Poor Brooklyn, always trying to develop some new civic identity all its own, and always ending up with … a Barclays Center.
What stands out most about the Read More
What a relief it was to pick up my New York Times this Sunday and see that Damien really is back in town. I thought I’d spotted him at the Republican convention, felt sure I’d caught a whiff of sulfur when he passed, found myself swarmed by his usual entourage of flies. It would have been hard to miss him, since he was wearing a pink tie and a green plaid jacket at the time.
Yet I told myself I must be hallucinating under the relentless Tampa sun. Surely there was no way even today’s Republican party could have welcomed the Antichrist—a k a Ralph Reed—back into the ranks just six years after he imploded so spectacularly amid the Jack Abramoff scandals.
Reed, whose “preternaturally youthful” appearance, as the Times described it, still makes you think he must have “666” etched just above his brow line, got his start in the first heady days of the Reagan administration, when he was one member of what was known as the “triumvirate,” running the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), along with Mr. Abramoff and Grover Norquist. Read More
The blue-collar success stories piled up so fast at the Republican Convention in Tampa that one would have been forgiven for assuming that the party was made up entirely of the sons and daughters of garage mechanics, fruit pickers and removers of rotting animal carcasses from the nation’s highways.
Over and over again, speakers informed us of how they came from families of hard-working strivers, with parents who fought their way up from nothing. Such tales were almost de rigueur, especially if they involved “starting a small business.”
Before telling us how little girls now approach her with reverence and awe, Susana Martinez, the runaway egomaniac who is the governor of New Mexico, informed us that her mother and father started their security guard business by handing her—then an 18-year-old girl—a “Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum,” and posting her in the parking lot of a church during bingo games. There are those who might assume that this accounts for Ms. Martinez’s decision, as a prosecutor, to specialize in child abuse, but never mind. Read More