Forty years ago the November Witch on Lake Superior sank the Edmund Fitzgerald and claimed 29 lives. Here is a news clip covering that event, footage and the famous song by Gordon Lightfoot The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald:
We’re always hearing about the ends of eras, but the recent death of the great actress Setsuko Hara really is the end of an era—the era of the classic Japanese film. Noriko, in Ozu’s Tokyo Story, is the quintessential Hara character: inescapably refined, sensitive, well-born, and almost always modern—she’s the archetype of the post-war young woman. Yet she also embodies the virtues of the traditional Japanese woman: loyalty, self-sacrifice, suffering in silence; she’s the perfect daughter, wife, mother. She was utterly real, yet she represented an ideal…the ideal.
In her mixture of nonchalance, inscrutability, wit, and knowing simplicity, in her use of tones that are whimsical and subtle, in the stories that are filled with abstractions, Clarice Lispector has perhaps more in common with some Brazilian visual artists of her generation than she does with any writers.
Clarice Lispector was born in Ukraine in 1920 and taken to Brazil as an infant. Raised in Recife, the north of the country, she married a diplomat and thus spent many years traveling before returning to Brazil to live in Rio de Janeiro. In 1966 she was badly injured in a fire in her apartment. She died in 1977.
By the time of her death, she had become, Benjamin Moser writes in his biography of her, “one of the mythical figures of Brazil, the Sphinx of Rio de Janeiro, a woman who fascinated her countrymen virtually from adolescence.”* Her looks were often commented on and there was much gushing nonsense written about her. The translator Gregory Rabassa, for example, recalled being “flabbergasted to meet that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf.” The poet Ferreira Gullar remarked that “she looked like a she-wolf, a fascinating wolf.” And the French critic Hélène Cixous declared that Lispector was what Kafka would have been had he been a woman, or “if Rilke had been a Jewish Brazilian born in the Ukraine. If Rimbaud had been a mother, if he had reached the age of fifty. If Heidegger could have ceased being German.” Read more about Clarice Lispector here
An excellent interview with Clarice Lispector, possibly the greatest Jewish writer since Kafka :
From Mumbai to Paris a Familiar Style of Terrorist Attacks
Much of the ISIS playbook in Paris—the meticulous planning, the selection of soft targets, the multiple simultaneous attacks by different teams used to create a sense of chaos in the streets, the mayhem created—was inspired by the extremist group LET’s attack in Mumbai in 2008. LET’s most important innovation in jihadi warfare is the use of mass attacks on civilian targets.
Vinepair has published this amazing info graph to guide drink enthusiasts who are eager to learn about the world of beer. Sourced from data collected from about 100 countries, we learn that these brands are as diverse as the world we live in. A handful of corporations own many of these brands. Each country is represented by its most popular brand from the last year data was available.
The A nos amours retrospective of the films of Chantal Akerman continues at the ICA. Yet outside of cinephile circles, few people have heard of her, and those who have would be unable to recite the full title of her most famous work.
So for novices, or those who just want to brush up on their Akerman, here are a few key points about one of the most significant yet still neglected directors in world cinema.
Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he’d taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here’s how he did it:
DON JOHNSON FINDS IT HARD to remember the exact cards. Who could? At the height of his 12-hour blitz of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, he was playing a hand of blackjack nearly every minute.
Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit. Inside, playing at a green-felt table opposite a black-vested dealer, a burly middle-aged man in a red cap and black Oregon State hoodie was wagering $100,000 a hand. Word spreads when the betting is that big. Johnson was on an amazing streak. The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature skyline. His winning run had been picked up by the casino’s watchful overhead cameras and drawn the close scrutiny of the pit bosses. In just one hand, he remembers, he won $800,000.
In this article, Steven H. Wright discusses the implications of the case against the six Baltimore police officers who are accused of extreme police brutality that led to the death of Michael Gray. Wright concludes that the indictment by Marilyn Mosby, the chief prosecutor of Baltimore, will hardly challenge the impunity that police officers around the country continue to enjoy.
The arrest of the six Baltimore officers might have provided an opportunity for the kinds of reform that would prevent the abuse or death of future Freddie Grays. But by failing to match prosecution with LEOBR reform, the officer’s indictment and possible conviction is likely to be little more than a symbolic act of accountability to calm fed-up African-Americans.
The Rohingya have been in the news a lot lately and in this piece, George Packer recounts the time he spent in Africa witnessing first hand the tenacity of migrant workers.
In the summer of 1983, I made the rash decision to get on a small cargo boat in the port town of Victoria, Cameroon, and sail across the Gulf of Guinea to Calamar, Nigeria. My Lonely Planet guide to West Africa had misinformed me that a weekly passenger ferry made the same route. When I discovered that no such ferry existed, there wasn’t enough time to exit the country overland before my Cameroonian visa expired at midnight.