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I had read a bunch of the reviews of Hanya Yanagihara’s book A Little Life as they came out. I gathered that there was some kerfuffle initially because the Times assigned the first review to Janet Maslin, one of their regular book reviewers (but not the head reviewer, who is Michiko Kakutani), and Hanya Yanagihara has written for the Times, so there was a suggestion of logrolling. My ongoing impression was that it was a book I really didn’t want to read. I felt bad about not wanting to read it. It was reviewed in important places, and pretty much uniformly positively. It sounded like it was going to be a really important book about coming of age as a gay man in America, and like it had lots of serious stuff about overcoming child abuse, and becoming an artist, and so on. And then it was shortlisted for a bunch of awards. And then, apparently, there was a new kerfuffle. The classicist and critic Daniel Mendelsohn gave the novel a scathing review in the New York Review of Books, quite the serious venue for discussion of literature. And Jennifer Weiner replied with an op-ed in the English paper, the Guardian, arguing that the problem here is that male critics have decided to use the opportunity presented them by a bunch of female critics’ liking A Little Life to pile onto Yanagihara herself and describe the novel as something no serious person could admire. There are a lot of moving... Continue reading
Posted 25 minutes ago at Bianca Steele
I read a lot of book reviews—a lot more reviews than books. There are various reasons for this. One, there are lots of book reviews out there. Many substantive articles are often framed as commentary on one or more books. Book reviews are often interesting and informative ways to learn other things; it’s not always easy to distinguish between a book review that talks about other things and an essay that circles around a book. And articles about books tell you new things, where articles about current events often tell you very little that’s new. Only a news junkie or an activist really needs to read every article about Syria, or interest rates, or the last presidential debate, that comes out every day. Probably once a week or so is sufficient; possibly just listening to a daily half-hour news show on NPR is sufficient. On the other hand, it takes several days or weeks to read a book for pretty much everyone who can’t make reading that book their fulltime job. I’d guess few people decide not to read anything in a newspaper or magazine, especially any book review, until they’ve finished their current novel or work of history. Magazine (or online) reading makes a nice break. And gives me ideas for what to read next (or someday . . . hopefully). Book reviews and magazine articles about books, obviously, don’t only contain sentences about the book under review or consideration. They also contain sentences about previously published books, about... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Bianca Steele
There are definitely good arguments that Star Wars is fantasy and not SF, and twenty (or even fewer) years ago I might have argued that all those mass-market movies and TV shows were not really SF, but I think that argument is over now. Lucas's first movie was definitely SF, I remember reading something in 1975 that was really anticipating something new and exciting from Lucas (where maybe they should have been looking toward Spielberg instead, I guess, since Close Encounters came out the same year), and the plots really depend on technology (Luke's artificial hand after Vader cuts his real one off, his choice between technology and tinkering, on the one hand, and the Force on the other) in a way that can't work otherwise. And science fiction has arguably moved more toward that kind of thing since then. But you can really see the (new in the 1970s) film-school influence in the early movies, where's he's doing an homage to Laurence of Arabia, to old-time WWII movies, etc. (which was really noticeable to me because I saw Star Wars first), which I think he really stopped doing after one or two films.
Hm, you're right. I was misremembering things like the post at Crooked Timber a little while back. I had learned in high school that Wilson arrived at Versailles ready to ask less of the Germans, monetarily, than the French and the English were, and failed to make his case to them, but that was a long time ago, and high school, and possibly I should have paid less attention to those comments. There's some blame for Wilson expressed there (and in places like Wikipedia), but "largely" is clearly an overstatement, at minimum.
Hayden Christensen wasn't in the first one, and that isn't one of the scenes that stuck with me. I mostly remember him ranting about his reasons for abandoning the good side of the Force, near the end. I think Lucas long ago lost any interest he once had in science fiction or, really, cinema for it's own sake, and has become interested mostly in doing paint-by-numbers hero's-journeys, which he apparently sees as less childish. But at the same time, there's that PG rating--many of my daughter's friends had seen all of the movies already in kindergarten.
University students in recent days have been protesting to have the names of John C. Calhoun and Woodrow Wilson removed from certain buildings at Yale and Princeton, respectively. Many people have probably never heard of Calhoun, but for those who have, I think this one is easy. If you studied American history in the North, you learned that Calhoun was one of the bad guys. Wilson is more complicated. Obviously, he was president. He’s remembered as a pretty good president, not perfect, but better than most of the other presidents immediately before and after him. The League of Nations, which he championed, is remembered as a good thing, and its failure is often in part attributed to those who opposed his views. The Progressive movement of his time, which he championed, is also often remembered as a good thing that did good things like professionalize government and institutionalize the idea of government help for the poor—though also ambiguous in the way it pursued its ideals and in the way it treated those it intended to help—which is just the point where Wilson’s reputation gets hairy. Wilson is blamed in large part for the failure of the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War, because he insisted on heavy reparations to be paid by Germany for its loss. He was, in general, a moralistic prig, and this is how he’s remembered. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, and his opponents probably often realized that he viewed them as fools. He... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Bianca Steele
It has become a thing, apparently, for some people to say they’re going to vote for Bernie Sanders even if he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, even though this will increase the chances that a Republican will win (as, arguably, happened in 2000 when Ralph Nader was on the ballot), even though they really, really don’t want a Republican to win and would really, really prefer any Democrat to that, no matter how they felt about Hillary Clinton in 1999 and how they might feel about her now. In one way this doesn’t make sense. Their goal should be to make sure the Democratic candidate gets more votes, and the way to do that is to vote for the Democratic Party candidate. Voting for a third party or independent candidate, at least in a state where the vote is contested (in other words, not a state like Massachusetts), is likely to make sure the Republican candidate gets more votes in the state, which means the Republican candidate will win all the state’s electoral college votes, which will give the Republican candidate more votes in the electoral college and make that candidate more likely to win. This is pretty basic. Someone who takes a vote away from the Democratic Party’s candidate makes the Republican Party’s candidate more likely to win. What are they doing, then, if they really don’t want the Republican to win? I suppose it might make sense if they don’t believe their vote matters. If nothing they do... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Bianca Steele
(This post is going to have a kind of hypertext feel to it, with two different versions overlaid, one on top of the other, due to the length of time I took writing it.) I’ve I had been trying to post every couple of days, and see if I can keep up the pace. I missed a day when I went out of town for the weekend, and another day over Halloween weekend, and this week it’s been four eight days since my last post instead of two (and as I’m writing this, I’m not certain I’ll actually finish it today). I think it was two years ago that I posted about the fact that this is probably the busiest time of year for me, or at least it feels that way. (“This” meaning October/November, when I started writing this. November/December is the busiest time of year for a lot of women, I think. This is the time when magazines that encourage women to put a lot of effort into things, the rest of the year, start chiding their readers for trying too hard.) At my daughter’s school and elsewhere, the October and November calendars are full of school activities, at night and on weekends, with volunteer opportunities (which too often I remember after the deadlines have passed), for Halloween parties, fall festivals, holiday dinners for the needy. There are holidays and birthdays to get ready for, seasonal clothes shopping to do, last year’s clothes to try on. This year... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2015 at Bianca Steele
In last Sunday’s New York Times, Times writer Alessandra Stanley had the lead op-ed, explaining the changing face of American philanthropy and arguing that those changes are rooted in the economic dominance of the tech industry. For the most part, it’s a pretty good piece—but the beginning seems a little extreme and out of context. Stanley presents the theories of reform and philanthropy that many tech entrepreneurs adopt, in a pretty clear way. She also presents arguments against those theories. That is entirely reasonable. She presents arguments against the theories, both in their own terms (logical and empirical objections, that kind of thing), and in the terms used by rival theories of philanthropy. This is reasonable, as well. As you’d expect from newspaper journalism, she attributes these objections to her sources (she doesn’t come up with her own, which would be inappropriate). This is reasonable. And yet: It causes the piece to suffer from two flaws. One: It presents what should be a discussion of ideas as if it were just a contest between two different groups of people with different opinions. What’s at issue isn’t just “group A feels this way but group B feels that way, and it’s interesting from a news point of view that they can’t agree,” but that’s what reporting like this inevitably conveys. But also: The groups presented by the piece don’t match up. The dispute, as presented here, is asymmetrical. Stanley has matched leaders of philanthropical foundations—experts in philanthropy—against people who donate to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at Bianca Steele
Emily Asher-Perrin is returning to the first six Star Wars movies in anticipation of the newest one. She has some contrarian, and even counter-intuitive, praise for “Episode I,” prior to listing some things about it that she actually doesn’t like, beginning with: People talk SO MUCH. And I’m not one of those people who hates the political aspects of the prequels, I love those parts, but so much of the talking we are forced to listen to is not relevant. Amidala’s plea to the Senate? Cut that whole preamble where the Chancellor is recognizing people’s chairs and whatever. I loved this part. It was almost the only part of the movie that I liked. I loved the production design, and the visuals, the way the scene evoked something not easy to define, but essential to what Star Wars’ best self was all about. I wanted to see a movie that was just this scene—of course, expanded to full movie length with some actual content. I wanted to see a movie that was about an empire-or-whatever-it-is that had all these different people in it, and where the ways they interacted with each other somehow realized a dim sense that was being conveyed in the darkness of the Senate Hall and the swooping movements of the Senators into and out of view. I think I have a blog post that I drafted, way in the distant past, where I tried to say this earlier. This was the moment in The Phantom Menace... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2015 at Bianca Steele
I’ve often been relieved when a blogger I like gets a gig at an edited online publication, because this means they’ll stop writing quite so long. There’s a kind of blogger who writes seemingly five- or ten-thousand word screeds several times a week, or even multiple times a day. That’s just too long for me to read, and I don’t see how anyone could read more than a few of those in a day and still have time for work, much less their own writing. Even publications that appear only online usually don’t permit that kind of length, or the kind of rambling that usually goes with it. So although I was intrigued by Forrest Wickman’s recent piece in Slate (he’s long been a TV and culture critic there), on subtlety and heavy-handedness, I was also dismayed as I got towards the middle of the piece and realized it was only the middle, with half as much, at least, more to go, and at least twice as many new topics. A journal like the London Review of Books publishes pieces of this length, but they are constructed much differently from what you see in Slate. I’m all for long-form and the leisurely exposition, description, explanation, and so on that traditional form allows. But this isn’t long-form, it’s no-form: just the rambling blog post all over again. I’m pretty sure I could have stopped halfway through and not missed anything about the part I was interested in. Or I could have... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2015 at Bianca Steele
The Word Exchange is a kind of science-fiction crossover novel in the usually-male “techno-modernist” vein, and very interesting. It’s a first novel, and those tend to have a sort of “first novel” feel, for the most part. I was expecting something like The Year of the Gadfly, which I’d liked a lot—examining the mystery of a secret society that takes it upon itself to punish people publicly for their sins. It takes place in a high school, so the stakes are never very high, but the idea itself was elaborated very nicely. It probably helps that though it’s Jennifer Miller’s first novel, it’s not her first book. Alena Graedon’s The Word Exchange is a bit more ambitious than Miller’s novel is, but in many ways it’s not as satisfying. I could say this is because it’s more “arty” or “literary” than The Year of the Gadfly is, so it doesn’t offer the same “quick and easy” satisfactions, but I really think it’s primarily because it’s very much a first novel. Secondarily, maybe, because it doesn’t tie the two sides of the crossover equation as tightly together as they needed to be. The Word Exchange comes close to something like Ben Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet (in which a community is terrified of catching an illness from their children’s speech) in its interest in the nature of language and of linguistic change, and how language both reflects and affects the society that uses it. It takes place in a near future in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at Bianca Steele
I’ve been reading Jonathan Lethem’s most recent novel, Dissident Gardens. It’s a kind of family saga about three generations of people born in a development in Queens that in the 1930s and 1940s was home to a community of leftists and Communists. The story starts with two women, Rose Zimmer and her daughter, Miriam, but quickly pans away, before the end of Part I, to focus on two men from the younger generation, Miriam’s son Sergius and Cicero, the son of Rose’s African-American lover, and also on a third man, Miriam’s cousin. These three are the more typical characters in a modern-day highbrow novel, intelligent and alienated, as well as male, and I began wondering what purpose was served by including Miriam and Rose in the story: whether they’re merely a kind of social and cultural backstopping to the men’s personal narratives. I had already read his previous novel, Chronic City, and that book definitely had a limited cast of women. The narrator and protagonist of Chronic City is a former child actor, Chase Insteadman. The story mostly follows Chase as he bums his way around Manhattan with his more socially involved friends, and the wealthy women whom he charms. One new friend is Perkus Tooth, who’d been an important film critic in the New York avant-garde of the 1970s and 1980s, but who now is living as a recluse. There’s a lot of male bonding between Chase and Perkus Tooth, and various of Perkus’s other male hangers-on. There’s also... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2015 at Bianca Steele
I started reading Charles Stross’s science fiction novels on the recommendation of people posting and commenting at Crooked Timber, and was extremely disappointed. I think I started with Halting State and Rule 34, and I couldn’t stand them. They combined two things that really annoy me: overly intensive computer software metaphors about real things, and ordinary working-stiff engineer types who are somehow also involved in super-secret, super-high powered government agencies. Finally, a little while ago, I read one of his “Laundry” series of novels (though maybe one of the ones I read was a late Laundry novel? I’m not sure), and actually liked it. It was the second in the series, called The Jennifer Morgue. (The library didn’t have the first one, also the online reviews of the second might have been better.) The Jennifer Morgue does follow another of those software engineer types who gets recruited into some super-duper government agency. In this case, he begins working at what he thinks is an ordinary software firm, but discovers he’s being inducted into Something Bigger. And it has an enormous secret menace, both natural and supernatural, which the government agencies have to control, which is another thing that annoys me in these books. But the plot of this one takes him to St. Maartens, which is a huge plus for me, because I’ve visited there a few times, and it is definitely a place where you could imagine international skullduggery. Retire and buy a boat, become a freelance agent for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2015 at Bianca Steele
A couple of weeks ago, it was in the news that Dell was going to purchase EMC. This was big news around where I live, because EMC is a really employer and is based in Hopkinton, very close to here. The first news story was followed pretty quickly by the story that the deal was complete, and I haven’t seen a lot about local impact since before the news was confirmed, but I expect there will be a bit after more details have come out. EMC had been looking for a buyer for a while, and the two companies don’t have a lot of overlap in terms of what they do, but these things always lead to layoffs and to selloffs of assets. EMC is one of the biggest employers in the area. They own a fair amount of real estate in Westborough, Southborough, and Hopkinton, or did at one point, and I wonder if the combined company will be wanting to keep it. From what I’ve heard, lots of people have thought for some time that they ought to spin off RSA and VMWare again. RSA is also a local company, so that will affect people around here, too. I wonder how many people who worked for Data General are still there—EMC bought DG in the 1990s sometime—and never thought they’d work at a computer company again? Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2015 at Bianca Steele
In a post not long ago, I wrote, “I don’t read steampunk much.” Shortly after it posted, I started to think: that sentence isn’t strictly accurate. The fact is that I don’t read steampunk at all, that I probably couldn’t name a single steampunk novel or author (except for Neal Stephenson, or the novel I was discussing, and I have no idea whether either of them counts), and that the sentence should have read simply, “I don’t read steampunk.” From the point of view expressed in George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language,” what I did was pernicious. My fingers typed out a cliché that hid my real meaning from the reader’s view, in order to soften the statement and make it go down better—no different from when a politician mummifies his party’s real policies in layers of propagandistically misleading prose. At best, I was writing in a colloquial way more suited to conversation than to a written essay. There are various conventions we use when we talk to someone in person, sometimes overstating or understating, sometimes adding meaningless words that pad out a sentence or twist its apparent implications a little. Some people might say this was also inappropriate, excessively informal. If I wanted to elaborate my meaning entirely exactly, I could do it. I could write in clear factual sentences, each word of which described precisely the thing I believed was at issue. When I couldn’t find just exactly the word I wanted, I could create a distinction... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2015 at Bianca Steele
I put on Les Misérables while I was folding laundry, in part because I was curious to see whether my opinion of it had improved with increased familiarity. Verdict: No, Les Misérables is still awful, but the second act is not that bad, from about “Master of the House,” up to the point, shortly into the third act, where it turns almost literally into a parody of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Gethsemane. In other words, the parts that involve ensemble singing, and especially those that foreground the revolutionary student Enjolras and his friends. This is not to deny, as I’ve said before, that some of the individual songs, as songs, are very pretty, setting aside their repetitiveness, that they likely sound less ridiculous in the original French, and that they would probably work very well separately as cabaret pieces. Sitting through more than two hours of them and trying to fit them all into a coherent plot is something else. If you don’t really get what’s happening onstage—difficult enough, especially from the back rows, given that almost none of the plot is dramatized, only developed through dialogue and musical infodumps—you see that the story ends with Jean Valjean striding towards Heaven. If you more or less do, the story is Marius’s rescue from political activity and his return to the ranks of the respectably rich—at the price of the deaths of nearly everybody else—and Cosette’s similar rescue from poverty to be his wife; and Valjean’s salvation turns out to look a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2015 at Bianca Steele
Hi LFC, It's great that you got to go to the USIH conference. I usually only get to follow discussion of it on their blog. Are you going to write something about this on your blog? (Sorry about requiring a login. I was getting too many spam comments and didn't like the idea of letting some sneaker reseller juice their link count for the day or two it took me to see them.)
I traveled recently to Chicago and discovered this item of fashion “news”: women in Chicago, apparently, at least on weekends or when traveling, put their short or shoulder-length hair in an uneven ponytail, about the middle of the back of their heads. Women in Massachusetts don't seem to do that. I’m not sure why. That length hair may not be popular in the Boston area at the moment. I think more women would catch the ends of their hair into a kind of almost-bun so they don’t stick out. On that trip, my family and I visited a town-run park in the suburbs that had a historical farm on the site, with people dressed in 1880s-appropriate clothing, farm animals, and crops. It was just the right size for an afternoon visit, not large—nothing like Olde Sturbridge Village or a real tourist destination—but small enough to interest small children for half an hour looking at the furniture and half an hour looking at the animals, and with a few miles of nature trails. There probably isn’t all that much real historical interest in a place like that. I was able to show my daughter how people did laundry back then (really, still in my grandmother’s time, well into the twentieth century), and how a pedal-operated sewing machine and organ work. But the point of the house and farm is to illustrate the heritage of the German-speaking people who settled there. The walking trails are marked with information about the environment and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2015 at Bianca Steele
A recent essay by Phoebe Maltz Bovy in The New Republic (illustrated with obligatory unflattering photo of David Foster Wallace) highlighted something I hadn’t really noticed: the association of “the white male writer” with the idea of being “pretentious.” She rejects that idea, I think rightly. “Pretentious” highlights how writers of any other background have long been categorized as unserious. . . . As long as mainstream society keeps bestowing a monopoly on universality to one particular demographic, there’s a certain joy in mocking writers of the demographic in question for collective (if not necessarily individual; more on that, too, in a moment) presumptuousness. The specific cliché that’s emerged for the White Male Writer subverts the whole Seriousness thing, reframing it instead as self-seriousness—which is, of course, how Seriousness appears from the outside. Rather than insisting that people of all backgrounds can produce universal, canon-worthy art, branding white, male writers as pretentious mocks the (ridiculous) idea that only white men can write profoundly. . . . For White Male Writers™ rhetoric to work as a strategy, it would need to inspire otherwise aloof readers to consider that, hey, not all black writers, female writers, black female writers, etc., are the same, either. But it seems unlikely to me that terribly many of the unconvinced would make that leap. As with other™ arguments (such as, Nice Guys™, White Feminists™), starting from a hyperbolic generalization has a way of putting off even the potentially convinced. In this particular case, though, it’s particularly... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2015 at Bianca Steele
I made a promise to myself, a few years ago, to stop writing about David Brooks. I’d worn myself out reading his columns, thinking about where I disagree and why, wondering where he’s coming from, what his point is, how his fellow Republicans are reading his pieces and whether they figure he’s just another liberal anyway, whether the effect of his columns—while pretending to represent a Republican giving serious consideration to more liberal ideas—really only persuades on-the-fence liberals to vote Republican, while at the same time it persuades more conservative Republicans that Brooks (with whom they disagree strongly) is really at heart a Democrat. Today I guess we’d say he’s trolling . . . trolling somebody, I’m not sure who. Maybe what he writes more or less constitutes a sort of affinity fraud: you get suckered into reading him because when you look at his opening paragraph, you feel, just for a second, like this is something you ought to be considering. But that’s not very charitable, and it didn’t feel pleasant to keep rising to the bait. A few months ago I read a piece by Sonya Chung that seemed to say some of what I thought on the subject, because she’d taken the time to really think about what she believed and to articulate it carefully. She starts out saying she mostly kind of likes what Brooks writes—a lot more than I do—largely because he isn’t partisan—which I would disagree with, or at least say if he’s trying... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2015 at Bianca Steele
About a week after Donald Trump announced he’d run for president, a single Trump sign appeared on the lawn of a house about a mile from mine. About a week later, I noticed it was no longer there. Now, a house near mine that I think is a fraternity has a “Bernie” sign up. I guess that’s a good sign (no pun intended). What does make me wonder a little is that a couple of years ago, the same house had a big American flag or some other insignia of the Tea Party. It could be different people, I guess. Otherwise, it just seems odd. Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2015 at Bianca Steele
When I think of twee, I think of Dr. Who. To me, twee is an English thing, a certain English kind of humor. It’s “cute and clever” and a little flamboyant. There’s an American twee, now, the kind of thing you get in Wes Anderson movies, and it’s kind of different. American twee takes itself seriously, and thinks there’s a deep meaning behind the exuberant playfulness on the surface. (I suppose it’s possible there’s a deep meaning behind classic English twee that I can’t see, not being English, but I find it tough to believe it’s the same one.) American twee is very proud of itself for being cute and clever, and sees the wish to be flamboyant and playful as a virtue in itself, and to be indulged for its own sake. American twee says, “Isn’t it amazing that I can feel all these things?” It sounds from this like I don’t like twee at all, which isn’t entirely true. There’s a Wes Anderson film there, or two, I think, that I like—though not when it seems like the point is to admire Anderson himself, and approve the women who sit around and admire him. A.S. Byatt, who’s mostly a pretty serious novelist, can go into twee when she likes. I’m looking forward to the second season of The Librarians. And there are a lot of books coming out these days that have elements of what I’d consider twee. Most of them can’t be dismissed only because of that.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2015 at Bianca Steele
Last week, Robin Marie, who posts at the US Intellectual History Society blog, put up a piece about universal basic income and the meaning of work that I thought was interesting. So was a post from a few days before by Andy Seal. Andy linked to an article about prestige drama and work (a topic I’ve thought about a bit), arguing that the point of the new prestige dramas, when they’re workplace dramas, is usually to argue that work—in the sense of going to work every day, at a job, where you work for someone else, and the product of your work is taken away from you and used by other people in a way you can’t control, and so on—is a bad thing. I think Bruce Robbins, who wrote that article, probably assumes his conclusions before he starts. There’s no doubt that The Sopranos is an argument against work in the sense it’s usually taken today, given that the series creator has said he based the main character a bit on his father, who worked at a corporate office. We’re all aware of the (basically still, I think) current trope that compares corporations to the mafia. There are rules about obedience, loyalty, things of that nature. Obviously, corporate managers don’t actually put out hits on people: there’s a limit to how far the comparison can be taken. But this sense that work was (or at least could be) morally compromising, and that the kids are mostly unaware of their... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2015 at Bianca Steele
Andrew Lloyd Webber is someone many people have strong feelings about. I like Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ, Superstar. I think they work better in recording, for some reason, than live onstage. (I saw Phantom on Broadway several years after its opening, and a dance production of Superstar. I’m comparing them to the cast album and movie version of Phantom, and the movie and soundtrack of Superstar.) The others I’ve heard, not so much. Dreamcoat has some good numbers but it’s hard to take seriously: the world did not need a play that makes Joseph from the book of Genesis into a political superhero, a kind of Mark Zuckerberg of his age, except more sensitive. Cats has some good numbers but is weird, and it’s not too good an idea to spend much time wondering what the writers were thinking. I was pretty young when Evita opened, so of course I know some of the songs, somewhat, but I’ve never seen the show, only the movie with Madonna and Antonio Banderas. A few years ago I got a copy of the Broadway cast album as a gift, and I’ve been listening to it recently. It isn’t awful, any more than any of Lloyd Webber’s music is. But it is odd, especially in the context of Lloyd Webber’s other shows, and in the context of what was happening at the time with musical theater, and with the music industry generally. One thing that rubs some people the wrong way... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2015 at Bianca Steele