People of the Book Family Business

When you watch Officer McCluskey slug Michael Corleone, it should be impossible for a Jew not to wonder how often small Jews got beaten up in the eras of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin by huge Irishman. McCluskey is the old American alpha male — Scotch-Irish, brawny, mercurial, a little dumb. The old American alpha… Read More

In Praise of the Parkway

The Parkway Theater is the greatest artistic development in Baltimore City in my lifetime. Nothing comes close. If you need to find me for the duration of Trump’s presidency, I will be in the front rows of MICA’s new art-film theater, adjusting my spine to the curvature of its seats. Nothing prepared me for my… Read More

People of the Book The Unwinding - A History of the Distant Present

The world is 7 billion stories waiting to be told. America is perhaps the only nation conceived on the principle that individual stories are worth telling, but in this era of foreclosure, it’s the nation most likely to walk back its promise to tell them. No matter what America ever aspired to be, we’ve never come… Read More

People of the Book Der Rosenkavalier: 2017 in 3/4 Time

Excepting sex, comic opera’s the best thing in the world. The reason is simple, comic opera isn’t funny, it’s just opera without grand airs. All it does is imitate life’s flowing moods. Mozart’s its great master, every phrase of his operas simultaneously capturing all life’s moods. He’s the ph7 of expression. Composers tried to bring… Read More

People of the Book Chekhov Aleichem

In interviews, Amos Oz often talks about the revelations Chekhov gave him. When he first read Chekhov, he realized he could write about the people he knew — their disappointments, failures, thwarted aspirations (and Chekhov, the great poet of the disappointing life, knew how to write differently about all three). Chekhov writes about rural Russia, but… Read More

People of the Book How AIPAC Lost the Israel Debate

Talking about AIPAC is nearly impossible. So many contradictory statistics proliferate about AIPAC that nobody can quote them reliably. Nevertheless, one thing remains obvious. We all know AIPAC’s nowhere near as powerful as its opposition alleges. Whether AIPAC has a $25 million endowment or a $100 million endowment, conspiracy theorists would have us believe this… Read More