From Brokeback Mountain's closeted cowboys to King Kong's
embrace of Anne Darrow, Hollywood has queered cherished icons of
masculinity. But the two films paint a bleak picture: Love that falls
outside the norm must struggle to be something more than
As Nazis dropped bombs in Warsaw, poet Czeslaw Milosz wrote a collection of literary criticism that sought to trace the rise of totalitarianism by deconstructing the mythologies of Western modernity.
2006 marks Rembrandt's 400th birthday, and an array of exhibitions, from the sublime to the silly, will open in Amsterdam, Washington and beyond. As the aesthetic hype escalates, can great art withstand great commerce? Can consummate genius triumph over cute?
Two new books on indolence, How To Be Idle and Bonjour Laziness, issue low-energy cries for political apathy, a shorter work week and the fine art of slacking off.
Photographs are supposed to be unbiased recognitions of
reality, but they're really self-portraits of the photographer. The
Ongoing Movement, a blend of biography and analysis, examines what
happens when photographers create deliberately untruthful pictures.
Four editors of October magazine trace the history of
contemporary art. Though Art Since
1900 seeks to be comprehensive, its writers leave out entire movements and impose moralistic
judgments on the artists and art they profile.
Pop culture does more than validate the claim that torture could help foil bombs seconds before detonation. In shows like 24, where scenes of sensory deprivation are mixed with family melodrama, torture is so routine that it seems one more plot device to create intimacy in characters. The reality is that torture isolates its victims from any sense of intimacy.
Defenders of torture dwell not only in the White House and Pentagon,
but in the halls of academia. When prominent law professors and
academics cite the fantastic "ticking-bomb theory," they not only
spread misinformation and foster a perpetual state of fear, but they
use their credentials to legitimize a culture of torture.
Perry Anderson's Spectrum journeys through the abstract worlds
of conservative and liberal intellectual thought, and leaves in its
trail insights on the substance and style of ideas.
American readers have long felt guilty about loving Lolita.
As Vladimir Nabokov's nymphet heroine turns 50, Lila Azam Zanganeh
traces the impact of a novel that has become both an icon and a