Arts

7:26am

Wed February 27, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: New Claims About Nixon In Posthumous Robert Bork Memoir

Judge Robert Bork in September 1987, at the Senate hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Charles Tasnadi AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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7:03am

Wed February 27, 2013
Book Reviews

Hamid's How-To for Success, 'Filthy Rich' In Irony

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 6:20 pm

Novelist Mohsin Hamid lives in Lahore, Pakistan, quite some distance from the Long Island of Jay Gatsby. But his new novel — his third and, I think, best so far — reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald's quintessential American work. As I read this novel about the dark and light of success in a world of social instability, I kept asking myself how much I might be inflating the value of Hamid's novel by rating it so highly. After all, this story takes the form of a gimmick, and gimmicks usually work against real quality.

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2:01am

Wed February 27, 2013
Kitchen Window

In Praise Of The Humble Lentil

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:01 am

T. Susan Chang for NPR

The year I discovered lentils, I was broke and lonely and didn't know how to cook. Lentils, it turned out, would have gone a long way toward providing the solution to some of these problems. However, when I first had them, they were a mystery.

They also were the cheapest thing on the menu at the Middle Eastern deli around the corner. The dish was mudardara, I was told. "What's that again?" I said, unable to untangle the knot of plosive consonants. It was repeated.

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5:57pm

Tue February 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Can U.S. Embassies Be Safe Without Being Unsightly?

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:05 pm

The U.S. Embassy in central London in 2009.
Shaun Curry AFP/Getty Images

There's been a tug of war between aesthetically pleasing and safe when it comes to American embassies around the world.

Many embassies have been slammed as bunkers, bland cubes and lifeless compounds. Even the new Secretary of State John Kerry said just a few years ago, "We are building some of the ugliest embassies I've ever seen."

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3:25pm

Tue February 26, 2013
Music News

Women Of Grunge Reclaim Rock History In 'These Streets'

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:05 pm

Ron Nine, Mitch Ebert, Eden Schwartz, Fiia McGann and Gretta Harley perform in These Streets, a new play based on a series of interviews with Seattle musicians.
Courtesy of These Streets

Gretta Harley arrived in Seattle in 1990, when grunge was redefining the city. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were turning Seattle into the epicenter of the music world. Harley was a punk rock guitarist searching for her tribe, and in Seattle's thriving music scene, she found it.

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3:05pm

Tue February 26, 2013
Commentary

Historical Vocab: When We Get It Wrong, Does It Matter?

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:12 pm

Linguist Geoff Nunberg finds that in the film Lincoln, screenwriter Tony Kushner oscillates between old and modern meanings of "equality."
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

Has there ever been an age that was so grudging about suspending its disbelief? The groundlings at the Globe Theatre didn't giggle when Shakespeare had a clock chime in Julius Caesar. The Victorians didn't take Dickens to task for having the characters in A Tale of Two Cities ride the Dover mail coach 10 years before it was established. But Shakespeare and Dickens weren't writing in the age of the Internet, when every historical detail is scrutinized for chronological correctness, and when no "Gotcha!" remains unposted for long.

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2:23pm

Tue February 26, 2013
The Salt

How The Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds With 'Salt Sugar Fat'

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 12:46 pm

iStockphoto.com

Dealing Coke to customers called "heavy users." Selling to teens in an attempt to hook them for life. Scientifically tweaking ratios of salt, sugar and fat to optimize consumer bliss.

In his new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss goes inside the world of processed and packaged foods.

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1:47pm

Tue February 26, 2013
All Tech Considered

Among Oscars Fanfare, Visual Effects Industry Faces Difficult Times

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:37 pm

Bill Westenhofer, winner of best visual effects for Life of Pi, said backstage that the business model of the visual effects industry needs to change.
Vince Bucci AP

In a business where effects-laden movies helped Hollywood make a record-setting $10.8 billion last year, many of the studios that create those effects are barely staying afloat.

Visual effects have been a part of the movie industry ever since Georges Melies went on his famous Trip to the Moon in 1902. These days, VFX studios do everything from putting a tiger in a lifeboat on an ocean voyage to choreographing the destruction of a New York City being defended by Earth's mightiest heroes.

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8:31am

Tue February 26, 2013
Book Reviews

Echoes Of Orwell In 'The Office Of Mercy'

It was no less than the master of dystopian fiction, George Orwell, who noted in a 1946 essay that "political language has to consist largely of euphemism. ... Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air ...

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7:36am

Tue February 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: 50 Poems From Rudyard Kipling Discovered

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:15 pm

Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling wrote novels, poems and short stories, mostly set in India and Burma during British rule.
Evening Standard Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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