Once upon a time I read the book proposal for The Last of the Duchess, and felt the frisson generated by Lady Caroline Blackwood’s worldly, aggressive wit right down to my parochial midwestern bones. The book tells her story of trying to complete a newspaper assignment to interview the Duchess of Windsor but being blocked at every turn by Simpson’s perversely, intrepidly protective 80-something lawyer–sort of
Archives for October 22, 2003
I love the tech guys. They fixed my iBook with the greatest of ease yesterday (which may just mean I’m a ninny) and sent me home with a lollipop. Okay, not really, but it does strike me that whenever they see me I’m in the state of elevated panic you’d expect from a hypochondriac in a doctor’s office. The hushed tones, the urgent appeals, the excessive display of gratitude and relief when they make everything better… did I say “love”? I meant “worship the ground they tread.”
I see Terry’s been no slouch while I’ve been gone. In case you missed it and aren’t feeling inclined to scroll, this post on the ubiquity of Kind of Blue was a highlight.
Thanks to those who have sent me email. It has been trickling in this week from Terry. I’ll answer it over the next few days, whether in email or right here. And now for some blogging.
Terry posted here yesterday about Kevin Pollak’s silent impression of Robert DeNiro. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without mentioning another great wordless impersonation, the comedian-actor Richard Belzer’s shambling full-body rendition of Ronald Reagan.
I only wish I had a link; but if you ever catch Belzer on a late-night talk show, he’s likely to be pressed by the host into doing it. (His Mick Jagger employs the same m.o., but isn’t half as uncanny.)
A reader writes with further observations on the Observer 100:
I’m no expert on the contents but I would note the language barrier protecting this list: Of the 100 “greatest novels of all time,” I believe that 15 were not written in English. There are but two in Russian–meaning that On the Road, which did make the list, is “greater” than all the other output of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and the rest. Note also that there is apparently only one Spanish author as good as Kerouac (Cervantes), and none who’s ever written in any Asian language. Point would be not that anyone should attempt a list of “the world’s greatest,” since that would be nearly impossible for a number of reasons. Rather, couldn’t the editors of the Observer have come up with a slightly less grandiose header for their efforts?
Indeed. The Observer has now published reader reaction, including some comments from readers of note. They have also added the 50 books shaken in their faces must huffily by irate readers. This may be more interesting than the original list.
Meanwhile, Roger L. Simon’s list of his 20 greatest movies–er, make that 23–is more satisfying. It sure is easy to tell the difference between a list compiled by committee and one put together by a single, discerning organizing intelligence. I also like the way his commenters goaded him into adding Jean Vigo’s madly exuberant Zero for Conduct, which in an ideal world would be a hell of a lot easier to see. Maybe one of Chicago’s many fine art movie houses could be persuaded to show it sometime soon.