The New Yorker

Articles from Vol. 79, No. 26, 2003

A RARE AND DIFFERENT TUNE DEPT. OF ENTOMOLOGY Series: 3/5
Some people go through life never knowing what a katydid is, or what kind of bug makes which sound, when, and for what reason. These people would probably think it frivolous to identify the species of tree that they might be sitting under as they decline...
Brainwashed a Critic at Large
Most people know John Frankenheimer's movie "The Manchurian Candidate," which stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury in the story of an American soldier who is captured in Korea and programmed by Chinese Communists to...
[ Briefly Noted ]
Brick Lane, by Monica Ali (Scribner; $25). Ali's sharp-witted tale explores the immigrant's dilemma of belonging. Nazneen, a young Bangladeshi woman, moves to London's Bangla Town (around the street of the title) in the mid-nineteen-eighties after an...
Dirty Words Letter from Moscow
In the Russian State Duma building, at the center of Moscow, I showed my visitor's pass to a set of sullen guards, shot up to the fourteenth floor on an express elevator, and opened the door to a waiting room, where I discovered an Asian woman speaking...
DOING YOGI THE BOARDS Series: 4/5
"My baseball was stickball--that's a broom handle and a rubber spaldeen--and where I lived, you go to the park, only the park's concrete," the actor Ben Gazzara said one evening earlier this summer, over a drink at his apartment, in the East Eighties....
DRAFT DODGING THE STUMP Series: 2/5
Wesley Clark, the former nato commander and current noncommittal Presidential candidate, may not be able to cry on demand, as John Kerry seemed to do the other day during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, but he does a mean dictator impression. Last...
Goodbye to All That Books
Government actuaries, like observant Jews, celebrate the New Year in the fall. In September, 2000, when the books closed on the fiscal year, the federal government had the biggest budget surplus in history, and it was predicted that the accumulated surplus...
Heartbreak Hotels the Current Cinema
Back in the sixties, when the movie-porn revels were just getting under way in San Francisco, I knew a young man who occasionally took part in the industry as an actor. My friend would receive puzzling instructions from his director: "I want you to make...
Jake Leg Annals of Epidemiology
Dr. John Morgan, a professor at the City University of New York Medical School, likes to call himself a pharmaco-ethnomusicologist. His first love is early-American vernacular music, and his apartment, on the Upper West Side, is stacked with ancient...
MAKING THE GRADE COMMENT Series: 1/5
The most striking thing about the sweeping federal educational reforms debuting this fall is how much they resemble, in language and philosophy, the industrial-efficiency movement of the early twentieth century. In those years, engineers argued that...
ROCKETS' RED GLARE LIGHT SHOW Series: 5/5
The Chinese may well have invented everything except the forward pass, but some of their most important inventions were accidental. Did you know, for example, that the Chinese characters for "gunpowder" translate literally as "fire medicine," because...
Rug-B
1310 Cortelyou Rd., Brooklyn (718-284-0024)--There aren't many sit-down restaurants in and around Brooklyn's Ditmas Park, the big cluster of Victorian homes halfway out to Coney Island. There's no shortage of establishments that serve snacks of many...
Simpler Pleasures
Last year, the power-pop luminary Matthew Sweet joined forces with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge to form the Thorns, a soft-headed soft-rock band that received plenty of attention but left no lasting impression at all. Sweet's most recent solo album,...
Smells like Teen Spirit
Catherine Hardwicke's new film, "Thirteen," has once again raised the issue of adolescent girls' social rituals, especially the more brutal aspects. The same topic propels two recent books, Rachel Simmons's ODD GIRL OUT (Harcourt) and QUEEN BEES AND...
The Hollywood One the Theatre
From the sound of it, Dalton Trumbo--the screenwriter for such movies as "Kitty Foyle," "Spartacus," "Roman Holiday," and "Papillon"--must have been one of the most divine dinner companions ever to grace God's green earth. He smoked. He was, when he...
The Jesus War a Reporter at Large
One rainy Wednesday afternoon this summer, I made my way to the Sony Building, on Fifty-fifth Street and Madison Avenue, where, through the accommodation of a friend in the entertainment business, I attended a private screening of "The Passion," Mel...
Urban Warriors Profiles
Daniel Libeskind likes to work with crystalline shapes. Before he was selected as the master planner of Ground Zero in Manhattan, he designed an addition to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London that looks like a gargantuan pile of rock candy. His...
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