Tagged: smart

A Tale of Two Singers: How Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Two professional singers live on my street. One is an emerging star named Mae who both critics and fans praise for her soulful and passionate vocals. The other is Sheryl Crow. While there’s no accounting for taste — which is another way of excusing America for preferring Janet JacksonĀ to Tierney Sutton — it must be...

The Strange Case of Stanley Williams, Icon

The astonishingly strange saga of Stanley Williams, a murderer found guilty by four courts, reached the zenith of its narrative arc yesterday when the Los Angeles Times published a full-page advertisement (paid for by celebrity supporters, one assumes) in which the convict pledged his allegiance to God and asserted his dedication to “redemption.” He did...

Poem: Quatrains

According to the primers, resolute and stout Three patterns are permissible when writing quatrains out. ABAB, AABB, and AAAA Are proper forms, no matter how passe.   The scanning lines, we’re told, should always add to four Not two, not three, and certainly not more. Transgressions bold, though heartfelt at the core Will turn the...

Iconoclasts

On billboards all around Los Angeles, mysterious outsiders, people who refused to conform to society’s rigid standards of propriety, are finally getting the recognition and respect they deserve. We’ve learned that creative mavericks like Renee Zellwegger, Brian Grazer, and Sumner Redstone (CEO of Viacom) are mold-breaking, rubric-smashing, trail-blazing innovators who go it their own way,...

Poem: A Comforting Notion

The multitudes of now-anonymous soldiers on the fields Of Agincourt And at Hastings And everyplace else Where unimportant men took the sword in their guts So that their betters, the royal ones, Might have more land to control and glory to drink, As though the applause of history were nectar that could be stored For...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abideĀ a transparently unjust law, and she was...

In Praise of Sarah Silverman

Her new movie, “Jesus is Magic,” proves (to us anyway) that Sarah Silverman is one of the funniest people in America. Essentially a video record of her stand-up comedy act — with some superfluous musical numbers and off-stage vignettes thrown in to make the project a “film” — J.i.M. features most of Silverman’s best stuff,...

Poem: Inequity

Have another dry-aged steak cooked medium-rare, sir. And more creamed spinach? They go nicely with your claret, that ruby nectar that inspires Torrents of adjectives. Like “plummy.” And “herbaceous.” Never mind, sir, that your belly is full. It can be fuller. We ask only that as you shovel chewy morsels between your teeth, Like a...

Do We Really Believe in Education?

Aside from the concept of family, few pursuits are more important to Americans than education. Our politicians return to the theme as insistently as the repeating leitmotif of a pop song: We must invest in our future; we must spend more, do more, care more so that the quality of education improves — and, the...

Poem: High Culture

Plato wrote about a cave Mr. Wren designed a nave: Would it be so wrong to sing a song Wearing nothing but a bright blue thong? Drama draws the geriatrics Attending matinee theatrics: Could we frankly say about a play It shan’t succeed if they won’t pay? King Tut’s remains have been a hit with...