A Reading List for Trump (No Cliffs Notes)

feminism is for everyoneAs we head into the final stretch of the 2016 presidential election, there may be only one point on which all Americans agree: This country has never experienced anything like it. What would have been the headline in any other year – that a woman is running for Commander in Chief for the first time in U.S. history – has been largely eclipsed by the antics of Donald J. Trump, the Republican candidate who, in the second debate of presidential nominees, literally (or at least physically) eclipsed his opponent.

The lewd, crude behavior of Mr. Trump has raised the hackles of people on both sides of the aisle, and the most recent polls suggest he is falling further behind Secretary of State Clinton. Here at Signature we believe that when the going gets tough, the tough get reading. Some, of course, might protest that the Donald does not actually read, but the fact that he takes issues with bad press suggests the contrary. To that end, we have compiled a handy reading list for his edification – or our amusement. Tomato, tomawto, as the song goes.

The United States Constitution
Basics first, eh? Because Trump has never held political office, and because he seems to have a very poor grasp of both the processes of government and the actual implication of various amendments, a pocket-sized copy might prove the handiest accessory since his distinctive campaign hat. Continue Reading →

The Cat Lady Is Present

beleaguered kittyI’m on Day 3 of Marina Abramović immersion for a piece I’m writing about her new memoir, Walk Through Walls. She is a thorny, intriguing subject, and I feel both stuck and manic as I write and write and delete and delete. To ground out the fever the Artist has conjured in me –the Liser-sized warp in the time-space continuum– I keep scooping up poor Grace, who is cowering in her special rocking chair. While she protests with her newly acquired “Noooooo” meow, I say: “THE PERMAKITTEN IS PRESENT.” There is only one amused member of my household today.

A Hand for ‘The Handmaiden’

handmaidenAlthough I admire all adaptations that do their job well, I confess I have a soft spot in my heart for the truly creative ones – films that capture the essence of a book by transposing it into a seemingly unimaginable context. Its lavish, cruelly sensual flourishes may not be for everyone but “The Handmaiden,” South Korean revenge thriller director Park Chan-wook’s Korean- and Japanese-language take on Welsh novelist Sarah Waters’s Victorian-set romantic thriller Fingersmith, may be the best adaptation of this year. It is certainly the most innovative.

Set in 1930s Korea at the height of Japanese colonialism, the screenplay (crafted by Park and Chung Seo-Kyung) follows Waters’s triptych narrative structure as well as her basic premise. The first section is narrated by Nam Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri), an orphan girl raised as a pickpocket by a human trafficker. A Korean gold-digger (Ha Jung-woo) posing as the Japanese Count Fujiwara (we never learn his real name) enlists her in his seduction of Hideko (Kim Min-hee), a Japanese heiress living with her guardian, Korean Uncle Kouzuki (Jo Jin-woong). The plan is for Sook-hee to gain Hideko’s confidence by working as her personal maid, and then commit her to a mental asylum once Fujiwara marries her so they can pocket her inheritance. What gums up the plan: the handmaiden falls head over heels for her mistress, with whom she shares a thrilling sexual chemistry. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy