In the News 24.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 24.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 24.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Home for the Holidays

T’was the night before leaving for Pittsburgh, and Mom called to inform me that it was very cold there. I hid my shock well, though I lived in Boston and it was the end of November. I assured her I’d bring a coat. She said she had called four times before, and hung up when she heard, “that answering machine pick up.” In five weeks, it will be 1990, except at Mom and Dad’s house, where 1956 will never end. Before she could say “See you tomorrow,” Dad interrupted to remind me to get to the airport half an hour before my flight. He said they would be waiting for me “with painted breath.”

The next morning would begin the four hellish days spent with my family. Ninety-six hours jam-packed with television, eating and being treated like an idiot.

I took a coat. Even though I’m 40 years old with a grown child of my own, I respond to these parental directives with the fevered, “Gimme a *^#[email protected]!! break!” of a 15 year old. I had half a mind not to take a bloody coat. Whenever I deal with my parents, in fact, it’s with half a mind. What kind of ignoramus do they take me for? OK, OK: I should know better. But this problem doesn’t reside in the domain of knowing. This one is in the gut, where only anti-anxiety drugs seem to help.

Read the rest of this article at: Longform

Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” redefined Thanksgiving


“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is the best Thanksgiving movie of all time. That’s a thigh bone rather than full bird of a statement, as the film, which turns 30 on Saturday, has been making “Best Thanksgiving Movies” lists pretty much its entire life. But in looking at its listmates and what we usually mean when a movie becomes part of an annual holiday celebration, “Planes” isn’t sitting at the same table — it’s rebuilding it in the garage. Instead of playing the holiday’s rituals for drama or laughs or riffing on the spirit we think the occasion embodies, “Planes” tells a deceptively simple story that re-imagines the meaning of the holiday that surrounds it. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” does for Thanksgiving movies what “Trading Places” and later, “Die Hard,” would for Christmas movies, if “Trading Places” and “Die Hard” resulted in late December becoming the time of year to corner the market on frozen orange juice futures or rescue hostages from a seized office tower.

“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” departs with a story choice so obvious that it feels like a master class — two great comedians with great chemistry in a situation that plays to their inherent gifts — instead of a revelation. It stars Steve Martin and John Candy playing themselves trying to get home from New York City to Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago. Everything that can go wrong does. Neal Page (Martin) is an uptight advertising executive whose relentless business travel has become a way for him to interact mainly with strangers rather than live with any real intimacy. (“Spending time with him is like being alone,” said Tom Smothers, an early comedic mentor of Martin in real life.) Del Griffith (Candy) is a salesmen who does the same, in part to turn strangers into friends, but as a way of running from a longstanding hurt at home. (“All he wanted to do was make people laugh, but sometimes he tried too hard, and he hated himself for doing that,” wrote Roger Ebert of the real-life Candy.)

Read the rest of this article at: Salon

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Masters and Pieces: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Munch

Four hundred and fifty million dollars spent for anything short of a next-generation strategic bomber, let alone a beat-up old painting, not only makes no sense relative to current markets in worldly goods; it suggests that money has become worthless. Certainly, what an anonymous buyer laid out last week at Christie’s for “Salvator Mundi” (circa 1500), a probable though to some degree only partial Leonardo da Vinci work that emerged from overpainted oblivion in 2005, seems a stuff fundamentally different from what you and I use to secure food and housing—or a yacht, even. It’s a cash Burning Man.

Art is sometimes sentimentally termed priceless. But anything is priceless until someone sells it. Then there may be a clatter of the tote board for related items, pegging numbers up or down. The purely subjective rating of art works, which are all but devoid of material value, encounters no rational financial limit in either direction. The art market is a fever chart. Its zigs and zags call less for explanation than for diagnosis.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker


Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over


A decade ago I bought my first smartphone, a clunky little BlackBerry 8830 that came in a sleek black leather sheath. I loved that phone. I loved the way it effortlessly slid in and out of its case, loved the soft purr it emitted when an email came in, loved the silent whoosh of its trackball as I played Brick Breaker on the subway and the feel of its baby keys clicking under my fat thumbs. It was the world in my hands, and when I had to turn it off, I felt anxious and alone.

Like most relationships we plunge into with hearts aflutter, our love affair with digital technology promised us the world: more friends, money and democracy! Free music, news and same-day shipping of paper towels! A laugh a minute, and a constant party at our fingertips.

Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our dependence for romance, until it was too late.

Today, when my phone is on, I feel anxious and count down the hours to when I am able to turn it off and truly relax. The love affair I once enjoyed with digital technology is over — and I know I’m not alone.

Ten years after the iPhone first swept us off our feet, the growing mistrust of computers in both our personal lives and the greater society we live in is inescapable. This publishing season is flush with books raising alarms about digital technology’s pernicious effects on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children; how Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; and the economic effects of tech monopolies.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

The Culture Caught Up With
Spike Lee — Now What?


efore he had even made his first movie, Spike Lee used to fantasize about three things: season tickets at the Garden, a brownstone in Fort Greene like the one that he was raised in and a house in the historically black Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard. In 1986, after writing, producing, directing and acting in his infectious debut, “She’s Gotta Have It,” a stylish, edgy rom-com about a libidinous young woman juggling three lovers, those Knicks seats came first. The two homes swiftly followed, and within a decade, Lee’s status and celebrity had catapulted him, practically against his will, from Da Republic of Brooklyn, as he likes to call it in emails, into a 8,200-square-foot Upper East Side townhouse that was previously home to Jasper Johns. But the getaway in Massachusetts, situated next to the 18th hole at the Farm Neck Golf Club, has never required upgrading.

As I was preparing to visit him there this summer, Lee warned me that the second week of August is when “everybody” descends on the Vineyard. He did not lie. The annual African-American Film Festival was happening, and the sheer saturation of black achievement on display — on an 87-square-mile strip of land that is home to some of the first integrated beaches in the country and also synonymous with the liliest-lily-white establishment — was something to behold. In the previous 24 hours, both Barack Obama and the two-time N.B.A. champion Ray Allen had teed off behind Lee’s house; as my Uber turned down Lee’s dirt driveway, Henry Louis Gates Jr. pedaled past on a tricycle. Lee has long been a fixture at the festival, and this year he would be previewing his latest project, a 10-episode Netflix reboot of the very film that made him a star: “She’s Gotta Have It.” A late-career foray into prestige television, the series, released this week, marks a homecoming of sorts, as well as a risky departure.

My driver, an amiable 6-foot-8 Jamaican man who grew up in Canarsie, became star-struck when Lee came to meet our car and did not want to pull away. “What high school you go to?” Lee asked him by way of greeting. Schools and sports teams are the kinds of affiliations that genuinely mean a lot to him. The driver’s answer seemed satisfactory, but then Lee noticed his backward baseball cap and asked to see the front of it. The driver sheepishly swiveled it around. “It’s a B for Brooklyn,” he tried.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @kristywicks; This Is Glamorous; This Is Glamorous