Monthly Archives for: May, 2014

Dreams of the Master

The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman had to be complex person to summon so many great characters. What a lot of people don’t know is that the actor, miles from the stereotype of spoiled movie star, was also a wise purveyor of great advice—at least in my imagination. What still fewer know is that he continues […] 

Imagined History

Julian Barnes’s A Sense of an Ending  In a novel, “History,” is an idea. Its accuracy is unassailable. The events of the story may coincide with those of reality but even in the most historical of “historical fiction” the facts always serve the imagined narrative. Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending is interested in […] 

A Lonely, New World

George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides  Isherwood “Ish” Williams is a young man who defines himself as an “observer.” He believes himself free of the desire for company, so when he is one of a handful of people spared from a worldwide epidemic, he sees it less a tragedy than an opportunity for experiment and discovery. “To […] 

Ballard, Media and Art

More Media Prescience In my last post, I discussed the ways in which Billy Wilder augured the future of media culture in his 1951 film, “Ace In The Hole.”  Along similar lines, JG Ballard‘s short story, “Studio 5, The Stars” anticipates the paradox of the insatiable need for content, and the failure to create anything of […] 

Media Storm

Media Storm: Billy Wilder’s “Ace In The Hole” Billy Wilder’s “Ace In The Hole” was made in 1951, but its themes—cultural boredom, professional opportunism and media hysteria—are as relevant as ever. A Media Storm Brewing Chuck Tatum, played by an explosive Kirk Douglas, is a crooked newspaper man who’s been run out of every major […]