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B.D. McClay
by | Oct 31, 2014

Poor liberal arts. People don’t esteem the term—or its cousin, “liberal education”—very much these days, it seems. Evaluating the success or failure of an education now requires measurable outcomes, such as test scores or post-college employment. Learning is, more and…

by | Sep 25, 2014

The Kreutzer Sonata Variations: Lev Tolstoy’s Novella and CounterstoriesBy Sofiya Tolstaya and Lev Lvovich Tolstoy(Yale, 384 pages, $40) A month or so ago, This American Life host Ira Glass landed in hot water for casually tweeting “Shakespeare sucks.” Well, Glass…

by | Sep 11, 2014

Whit Stillman’s reputations rests upon a small body of work. After The Last Days of Disco (1998), he seemed, for a time, to be done. Twelve years later when he released Damsels in Distress, his fourth film, its reception was…

by | Aug 29, 2014

Slava Gelman emigrated to America from the Soviet Union when he was only a child. Though the rest of his family lives in South Brooklyn, he barely sees them; he lives alone in an almost empty apartment on the Upper…

by | Aug 13, 2014

Is there anything better than watching television about the past, when people were wrong about everything? The past, with its glamorous clothes, copious smoking, and easily judged mistakes? If you said, “Nothing, except perhaps television set in the past full…

by | Jul 30, 2014

Arts & EntertainmentsBy Christopher Beha(Ecco, 288 pages, $14.99) Eddie Hartley is a failure. His acting career barely extends beyond a handful of bit parts in Law & Order. He’s a high school drama teacher, but the best he can muster…

by | Jul 23, 2014

Are vampires scary? Though by all rights they should be, they’ve never really frightened me. Or even been that compelling, really: I read Dracula once and stopped there. Pop culture, on the other hand, loves vampires. But most of its…

by | Jul 3, 2014

There’s a wonderful subplot in the new season of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black that follows Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat), a cranky, elderly cancer patient. A bit player in season one, she remains a marginal character with whom the show nonetheless…

by | Jun 19, 2014

If you were following the great Commencement Speaker Bloodbath of 2014, you might have noticed that there were two stories happening. Here’s story number one: “hyper-sensitive college students suppress freedom of speech.” This was the story most people accepted at…

by | Jun 6, 2014

May marked the end of the fifth season of The Good Wife, the CBS legal procedural/political drama/soap opera. Produced by Ridley Scott, The Good Wife is the kind of show that tends to be recommended as “the best show you’re…

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