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Thumbing an Issue of Forbes

From the May 2020 Print Edition

In the obits, ballplayers still finish first,their August exploits no one quite remembersrestored to life: the diving stop unrehearsedamid the routine plays of life’s surrender. But beneath our unnamed pastoral hero,I’ll find her, too, Ms. Forbes-Under-Thirtywho built a company up from zero,ran . . . . Continue Reading »

Operation Klinghoffer

From First Thoughts

Although initially dismissed by many reviewers—(here’s John Updike, condemning it alongside Hamlet: “an orgy of argumentation . . . too many characters, numerous long speeches, and a vacillating, maddening hero”)—Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock (1993) has undergone something of a critical renaissance in the new millennium. Perhaps this is because it feels more immediately present than much of Roth’s wide oeuvre: John Demjanjuk’s trials continued until 2011; a Second Intifada has come and gone, with rumblings, perhaps, of a Third. And now, courtesy of the New York Metropolitan Opera, even Leon Klinghoffer is back in the news. Continue Reading »

Parenthood’s Happy Middle

From First Thoughts

Now drifting into its sixth and final season, NBC’s Parenthood has spent its run alternately pegged for cancellation and heralded as the saving grace of the network’s Thursday-night lineup. Rejecting both courses, it has remained just good enough to get by, just bad enough to remain tolerable. Sometimes better, sometimes worse—but always along the gradient of mediocrity. Continue Reading »

Sin and Redemption in Mad Men

From First Thoughts

The conspiracy theories began to swirl soon after Mad Men ’s sixth season opened with a shot from the perspective of a dying man being rescued. The sight, just moments later, of a healthy Don Draper reading Dante’s Inferno on the beach only seemed to confirm it: He’s died and gone to . . . . Continue Reading »

Joyce’s God, Bullied and Bullying

From First Thoughts

Last week, Melinda Selmys’  On the Square  essay touched upon an aspect of James Joyce’s writing that’s been on my mind lately: Joyce as a Catholic novelist. Though he has rejected the Church, he knows it and knows that it permeates the Irish life and culture he wishes . . . . Continue Reading »