New Criterion

A magazine that publishes articles, notes and comment on cultural life in America. Publishes contributions from poets, authors, public policy scholars, humanities lecturers, and critics. Includes poetry, arts criticism, and commentary. Departments in thea

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 9, May

A Modest Safety Proposal
A few weeks ago, the London Telegraph reported that the British Department of Transport was proposing a strict twenty-mile-an-hour speed limit on "residential roads and near schools." Quoth a department spokesman: "We are trying to get the balance right...
Bollocks to Vulgarity
Vulgarity is one of those many qualities that it is easier to discern than to define; suffice it to say that there is a lot of it about, perhaps more than ever. At any rate, I notice it more, and it seems to me ever more extreme: a sign, no doubt, of...
Deprogramming the MFA
Much of what was wrong with the twentieth century, Kingsley Amis famously observed, could be summed up in the word "workshop." It is amusing to contemplate what Sir Kingsley would have to say about The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative...
Gallery Chronicle
Stop the presses: the Gagosian Gallery has put on the best gallery show of the season, maybe the year. How could it be that this gallery, which for years epitomized the overindulgences of contemporary art, has mounted "Picasso: Mosqueteros"? (1) I shall...
Goodbye, Columbus
How are things elsewhere in the academy? Well, last month the faculty at Brown University voted to rename Columbus Day "Fall Weekend" What do you make of that? Rather lacking in poetry, "Fall Weekend." But from the perspective of the tenured elite, that...
Of Trinities, Mafias & Art
Every death is the shutting of a book, but when William H. Pierson, the prominent historian of architecture, died last December, it seemed more like the close of a geological era. He was the last survivor of that trio of extraordinary--and extraordinarily...
Potemkin Prisons: Inside the Museum of the Gulag
"Do you think Stalin can be rehabilitated?" I asked an officer of the FSB (one of the successor agencies to the KGB) not long ago in Moscow. He looked at me with genuine astonishment and said, "No. That would be like rehabilitating Hitler." This FSB...
Superfluous Kings for Messengers
At least let us hear no more about the "cynicism" of the media. Miss Jade Goody, the British reality-TV superstar of whose approaching demise I wrote last month in this space, has now died; a nation has mourned her passing; and, in what David Aaronovitch...
The End of the Line
Aging actors, longing to showcase skills they have spent a lifetime perfecting, are often obliged to dig deep for suitable and interesting projects. After all, there are relatively few plays that provide starring roles for older men, and New York can...