New Nation column: Why Do Political Reporters Refuse to Show Us the Money?
So I was in the bar during Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday show at the Garden during the warm-up act Sunday night and I thought of a new list. It has to do with aging. It’s inspired by my own life, that of some of my friends and that of some of the people I read, see perform and about whom I think. It’s not meant to be complete by any means. In fact, it could hardly be more casual. But I think it works. To be considered you have to have reached your creative peak during my lifetime, or near it, and also have turned 70 (or died before you had a chance to, but still left a considerable body of work over a period of decades).
Category 1: Artists and writers whose talents never deserted them, no matter what age they might be, and whose final works bear comparison to their earliest (and vice-versa):
Robert Caro (though Volume 4 has significant problems and Volume 2 is just wrong)
Gabriel García Márquez
Category 2: Artists whose talents came and went over time, but who exhibited second and third winds when people were ready to give up on them and who get points for growth, experimentation and artistic bravery:
Philip Roth (But for his final “short” novels, he would have been in Category 1.)
Miles Davis (Though I’m thinking I’m perhaps being a bit too indulgent about the later work.)
Norman Mailer (As with Miles…)