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Men at deuce

In Anna Ziegler’s new play “The Last Match,” opening in Manhattan Oct. 24, she uses the rivalry between two male tennis players – think an American Roger Federer and an early Novak Djokovic – to tell the story of life at deuce, never advancing without retreating, never retreating without advancing.

Perhaps the reason the world is at deuce is because the people who created it – primarily men – are at deuce. (It’s the score in tennis, at 40-40, from which the player must win two points in order to win the game.)

Think about it: Most of the world’s great creations were made by men (as men like to point out as a way to explain their superiority to women). All but 49 of the 923 Nobel laureates have been men.

And yet – you know there’s always an “and yet” – they have consistently destroyed the worlds they have created. You could say that this is the human condition, but in fact it’s the male condition. ...

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Oh, say can you see the point of the Anthem protest?

A new development in the continuing saga that is the Trumping of some NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality against people of color: Vice President Mike Pence left the Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game after several Niners – former teammates of protest initiator and onetime quarterback Colin Kaepernick – took a knee during the Anthem.

"I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence wrote on Twitter.

But he and @POTUS must’ve known that there would be kneeling players, particularly on the Niners – who, along with the rest of California, are to the resistance of @POTUS what Boston was to the American Revolution. ...

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TGIF or ‘Farewell Friday’? The depressing week that was

I’m not inclined to depression – nor do I think I have anything but a great life, no matter what its challenges – but I find myself facing each Friday as if I’d just run a marathon with rocks tied to my ankles.

This is a recent phenomenon. OK, it began when Donald J. Trump became president. For certain, not everything that has happened can be blamed on him – certainly not the three hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) with Nate waiting in the wings to strike the Gulf Coast this weekend. Or the mass shooting in Las Vegas. But I know I am not alone in saying that we arrive at the finish line each workweek, crawling, panting – drained and depleted. ...

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Las Vegas and the literature of rejection

I was working on a story about Emily Katz Anhalt’s new book, “Enraged: Why Violent Times Need Ancient Greek Myths” (Yale University Press), when I decided to take a break with The New York Times online. The headline hit me in the gut:

“At Least 58 Dead and 500 Hurt in Las Vegas as Gunman Rains Bullets on Concert.”

The suspect, Stephen Craig Paddock, 64 – and, according to Las Vegas Police, also dead by his own hand – was described as a quiet, unassuming man with no criminal history by his understandably defensive brother. Of course, he was. The president called for peace and unity. Of course, he did. ...

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