As a break from Italy news this week, I thought I’d add a few links to things I’ve been reading.
Authenticity of Trove of Pollocks and Rothkos Goes to Court, Patricia Cohen (NY Times): This article is an interesting study in glamour, judgment, and credulity in Manhattan art world and further afield. There’s also an air of mystery novel about it. There was a screaming question in my mind as I read it, though, so see if one leaps out at you, too. (The NY Times offers 20 free article per month, but even after that, you can sort of read over the subscription message that comes up. Plus, I think there was an exemption of some sort for links, but I’m not sure whether the link sender has to have a subscription. We don’t.)
The New American Divide, by Charles Murray (WSJ): This is a sample from Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart. I could have chosen any of about a dozen reviews I’ve read of this book, but I finally decided on an excerpt from the book itself. I can’t read Coming Apart until Bob brings back a copy from New York in March (he wants a paper copy), but I find the thesis, that American is dividing into an elite class and an underclass, both compelling and disturbing. Having spent my first years in a once-prosperous small town that has now been almost eviscerated, and having also lived in Manhattan for almost 14 years, I can see at least some truth in what he’s saying. Whether or not I will agree with his prescriptions, I don’t know.
A side note: Murray is himself controversial because he co-wrote The Bell Curve, and because he is a Libertarian, but what some people may not realize is that he is not a “right-wing” Evangelical. He is probably taken for one at times because he makes moral prescriptions in his books. But a more truthful description of Murray might be “agnostic Libertarian statistician.” I am none of those, but still think he might have something worthwhile to say.
My Stardust Memories, by William Zinsser (The American Scholar): I don’t remember where I came across this one, but it was just an entertaining read. Zinsser is the author of On Writing Well, which I enjoyed reading a couple of years ago, so I liked coming across an extra essay of his.
Next Time, Try ‘Unflagging,’ Geoff Dyer, (NY Times): At the risk of running out your stash of free NY Times articles, I’ll add this one, too. It’s on the overuse of the word “tireless” in journalism. My favorite part, though, was an incidental anecdote: When asked about his position in literature, Vladimir Nabokov’s reply was, “Jolly good view from up here.”