The coronation of Colin Powell will probably not be interrupted by any of the specific questions about his mediocre and sometimes sinister past that were so well phrased by David Corn ["Questions for Powell," January 8/15]. The political correctness of the nomination, in both its "rainbow" and "bipartisan" aspects, will see to that. Powell has often defined himself as "a fiscal conservative and a social liberal," which also happens to be the core identity of the Washington press corps. Set against this, what is the odd war crime, or cover-up of same, or deception of a gullible Congress? Time to move on.
Commenting on the German film Run Lola Run two years ago, The Nation's redoubtable film critic, Stuart Klawans, quoted a character speaking nominally of soccer: "The ball is round. The game lasts ninety minutes." He went on to write, "That's a good answer, if your head's filled with the same stuff as the ball.... Just don't forget which part of you is getting booted." Vintage Klawans, who gibed his fellow critics as well for decrying "the demise of movie culture--laments that have been sighed, paradoxically, over the living bodies of any number of vital but less fashionable films." Holiday moviegoers have doubtless missed Stuart's insight, grace and humor in recent weeks; we here report that after a dozen years spent in the dark so that the rest of us might see some light, he has decided to take a sabbatical. We'll miss his presence. In the interim, we hope you'll find the occasional film commentary by others in these pages to be very much in his spirit.
What will become of these
my many lives,
abandoned each morning abruptly to their own fates?
Of the fox who stopped to look up at me,
bright death stippling her muzzle,
and announced--clearly, simply--"I was hungry"?
Of the engine left half-disassembled,
the unmendable roofleaks, the waiting packed bags?
Cloudbellies of horses drinking at sunset.
Fierce embraces remembered half a day if at all.
Even the bedside jar of minute and actual seashells
wavers and thins--
though each was lifted, chosen,
I no longer recall if it was in joy or distraction,
in foreknowledge or false belief.
How much more elusive, these half-legible scribblings.
If souvenirs at all, they are someone else's.
As each of my memories,
it seems, is destined to be someone else's,
to belong to a woman who
looks faintly like me and whom I wish well,
as one would any stranger passed in a shop, on the street.