Archive | Essays

Alt Delete

Today at the coffee shop, the mansplainers who always hold court while I roll my eyes– three left-ish, bearded dudes who’d rather be heard than be just–effortlessly folded the term “alt left” into their discourse. Jesus it all happens so fast. Obstensibly they were using 45’s latest malapropism to blame the actions of the alt right (read: Nazis) on the left, as they so often do. But really these dudes seized this term, jumped on this bandwagon, because it resonated with something fetid in them even here in Brooklyn.

It’s always such mishegos when Northerners act like white supremacy is relegated to the South. With the men in this story, I used my traditional weapon of mockery. If people are laughing at not with hipsters, it does embarrass them into watching their words; their brand may be nonconformity but they’re self-conscious conformists at heart. But this worked only because of context. There, I had enough social capital to be the bullies’ bully. G-d knows this is not always the case in these alleged united states.

My family is small on my dad’s side because we were Polish Jews and everyone knows how few of us survived World War II. Those of us who could fled to America and thus inherited its complex story of liberty and oppression. Today the past is so painfully present. After all, Hitler didn’t create the third reich in a vaccuum. He tapped into an evil already lurking–an ugly entitlement rotting at the core. Nothing untreated ever heals.

Lemon Cadillacs and ‘L.A. Confidential’

Los Angeles is having quite a moment. Even people with zero interest in the film business are flocking there in droves, and it’s safe to say that the city’s lifestyle – all surfboards, smoothies, tacos, and Instagram irony – is setting the whole country’s tone.

Also back in fashion: sunshine noir, which drags such dark matter as drifters, grifters, and serial killers into the light, usually as filtered by Southern California. Think P.T. Anderson’s “Inherent Vice,” the hit Amazon series “Bosch,” and, of course, the media’s rediscovered obsession with O.J. Simpson. It was only a few years after the former football star’s 1995 trial that writer/director Curtis Hanson adapted James Ellroy’s ultimate sunshine noir novel, L.A. Confidential, arguably the best sunshine noir of its decade. The 1950s-set thriller offered a much-needed historical perspective on the intersection of the LAPD, fame, and race, and was so smartly rendered that it launched the career of Russell Crowe, resuscitated that of Kim Basinger, and put SoCal vintage at the epicenter of fashion – paving the way for non-Tinseltown L.A. to occupy today’s zeitgeist. Continue Reading →

You Write It for the Child

I did Ruby Intuition sessions all weekend, wrote essays Monday and Tuesday, and wrote and delivered a film lecture for the delightful Huntington cinema club out on Long Island last night. Today is my Saturday morning, and I woke feeling a little decadence was in order. So I put on platforms and a skinny black sheath, arranged my newly blue-blond hair in a big upsweep, and ducked downstairs to the cafe next door—-only to repair back to bed with a silver tray bearing an Americano, freshly peeled figs, and a prosciutto-arugula sandwich. Here I will read and read and read, stopping only to doze or admire a certain permakitten or watch the doves outside my window. I will read until I feel like writing again. This is the midlife, midsummer glamour I promised myself as an unhappy child, and I never forget to be grateful. Gratitude is the ultimate glamour, don’t you know.

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