The Atlantic celebrates 150 years of publishing with a special anniversary issue. Also, there’s an essay contest for readers on The American Idea in 200 words or less, which is a blog post.
Benjamin Schwarz reviews a couple of books on Hollywood history and comes to a conclusion all his own:
Moviemaking in Hollywood’s classical period was colossally complex, backbreakingly difficult, obscenely expensive–and it almost always failed.
One of the books is by Jeanine Basinger, who encouraged Michael Bay, which is enough to damn her to a slummy corner of hell. (James Harvey is a better historian and writer, too.)
Schwarz writes “No wonder Hollywood’s “golden age” is a history of driven, freakishly hardworking, unhappy people, including its show-horse stars” which is dramatic but overlooks the hundreds of talented craftspeople and artists (many of them gay) employed by the studios who wouldn’t have flourished back home on the farm, especially during the Depression. Making movies was as close to making art as many working people were ever going to get, and Hollywood still resonates with their legacy. So, while he’s a wonderful writer, we don’t agree.
Caitlin Flanagan, whom so many love to hate, knocks out a killer piece about another woman who inspires mixed emotions–Hilary Rodham Clinton. It all started with Socks.
Semi-new Angelena Virginia Postrel writes about real estate, and philosophically compares Dallas to LA.
Michael Hirschorn wonders if celebrities can survive too much information. He writes:
Justin Timberlake, like Nick Carter a veteran ’90s boy-bander (in his case N’Sync), may be the only truly bankable star of the blogger era. He deftly melds old-school Rat Pack glamour with new-school multimedia omnipresence, talent, and taste.
Also, Timberlake can make fun of himself, ala Dick in a Box. Like he has a choice.