Arts

Monkey See
8:55 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Coastal Snobbery, 'The Masses,' And Respecting The Lowest Common Denominator

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 11:03 am

There are three phrases that are almost always bad news for a piece of cultural writing.

They are:

1. "The masses."

2. "Middle America."

3. "The lowest common denominator."

All three are ways to separate the writer and her sensibility — which are presumed to be congruent with the reader and her sensibility — from invisible and undefined others, for whom bad cultural content is produced and by whom it is unquestioningly gobbled up.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Under Ogawa's Macabre, Metafictional Spell

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:23 pm

It used to be a truism among critics of British poetry that Keats and most of his fellow Romantic poets worked in the shadow of John Milton. I'm not making a perfect analogy when I suggest that most contemporary Japanese writers seem to be working under the shadow of Haruki Murakami, but I hope it highlights the spirit of the situation.

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Kitchen Window
12:47 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Understanding The Brussels Sprout

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 12:44 pm

"What are those?" I asked my mom, suspiciously eyeing the little cardboard tub with its cellophane cover. It held a heap of pale, miniature cabbages. "They're Brussels sprouts," she said. "They're supposed to be good for you," she added, sealing my doom.

At dinnertime, the mystery vegetable reappeared, steaming hot and greenish-yellow but otherwise unaltered. It gave off a sulfurous stench. I recoiled, but I knew my job. I took a bite.

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Author Interviews
2:05 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

'The Insurgents': Petraeus And A New Kind Of War

Gen. David Petraeus is the subject of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, a new book by Fred Kaplan.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

In a new book, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, journalist and author Fred Kaplan tackles the career of David H. Petraeus and follows the four-star general from Bosnia to his commands in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Central to the story are ideas of counterinsurgency. Kaplan says that while counterinsurgency is not a new kind of warfare, it's a kind of war that Americans do not like to fight.

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Monkey See
11:04 am
Tue January 29, 2013

How '30 Rock' Found Its Tone When Liz Lemon Didn't Marry Her Cousin

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on NBC's 30 Rock.
Ali Goldstein NBC

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 1:49 pm

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