“Literature Isn’t a Moral Beauty Contest”

Philip Roth died a few days ago at the age of 85. My favorite tribute comes from Zadie Smith in The New Yorker: He was a writer all the way down. It was not diluted with other things as it is—mercifully!—for the rest of us. He was writing taken neat, and everything he...

On Disney

By Sergei Eisenstein From On Disney, 1986 Alma-Ata, 16, November 1941 ‘The work of this master is the greatest contribution of the American people to art.’ Dozens and dozens of newspaper clippings, modifying this sentence in various ways, pour down upon the astonished...

Don’t Look Now

Down at the School of Visual Arts archive they’ve got a tidy selection of James McMullan’s magazine work from the Sixties through the Eighties. I love this one, a cover for New West magazine circa 1979. In his wonderful book, Revealing Illustrations, McMullan said:...

The Purple Decades

By James Woolcott The New York Review of Books, November 4, 1982 The Purple Decades: A Reader   by Tom Wolfe Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 396 pp., $17.50 Not since Garry Wills uncorked his rather fanciful notions on the origins of the cold war in the opening pages of...

Grey’s Anatomy

By Elizabeth Kaye Playboy, October 2010 I’m driving on Sunset Boule­vard, heading east, passing thickets of scarlet bougainvillea. I’m on my way to meet Sasha Grey, the 22-year-old star of countless adult films who doesn’t have breast implants, blonde hair or...

The Almighty Bob Baffert

By William Nack GQ, May 2003 By the late morning of last year’s Kentucky Derby, after watching War Emblem go through his final stretching exercises at Churchill Downs—his black coat looking sleek as mink as he jogged off the racetrack in the silver light—Robert...

Dubai’s Dream Team

By William Nack GQ, October 2002 It was a moment that joined two worlds, one in which the very old really began to understand the very new. It was 5:40 P.M. on Saturday, May 1, 1999, ten minutes after a horse named Charismatic—yet another male-line descendant of the...