Home Politics The Modernity of Robinson Crusoe, an American Art Pioneer, and Resurrecting James...

The Modernity of Robinson Crusoe, an American Art Pioneer, and Resurrecting James Dean

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Washington’s new language museum, Planet Word, will open on May 31st: “The museum will be housed in the historic Franklin School Building, built by architect Adolf Cluss in 1869. History nerds know it as the place where Alexander Graham Bell made the first-ever wireless voice transmission in 1880. Visitors to the free museum will encounter interactive galleries and exhibits themed around words, language, reading and oratory. There will be places to solve puzzles, deliver famous speeches, and sit quietly and listen to poetry.”Mick Herron re-reads John le Carré: “Re-reading is often deemed comfort reading, and of course it can be. But books that are embedded in your history are rich in association, and picking them up often retriggers the emotions they provoked the first time, emotions allied to the feeling of being young. Comfort reading can be the most uncomfortable kind of all. I remember buying The Honourable Schoolboy at a bookshop in Newcastle that no longer exists; I remember taking it on a marathon coach journey, the length of the country; and I remember reading much of it in my first ever hammock in blistering sunshine – my first foreign holiday, not far from Nîmes. Similarly, it matters to me that my copy of Smiley’s People – a first edition given to me as a birthday gift – is identical to the one I borrowed from my local library in 1979 or 80. When I pick it up, I feel my younger self tugging at my sleeve, asking for his book back.”Mark Halperin’s new book isn’t selling, and his publisher is blaming “cancel culture.” I don’t know about that. “When his deal was announced for How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take, the women who accused Halperin criticized the book, and several top Democratic strategists who were quoted in it — including Barack Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod and strategist and Fox News contributor Donna Brazile — were forced to explain their participation. Halperin’s book was published Oct. 29 and sold 502 copies, according to the Associated Press.”Remembering an American art pioneer: “The dealer Edith Gregor Halpert helped put American art on the map — and then she vanished.”Maybe the publication of the anonymous A Warningisn’t such a big deal after all: “When the news broke last month that a senior Trump administration official had written an anonymous tell-all memoir about serving in the White House, criticism was swift, and unusually bipartisan. President Trump’s supporters dismissed the book as a likely fabrication. Some administration critics chastised the author for hiding behind anonymity, particularly in the middle of an impeachment inquiry when career government officials are testifying publicly about perceived wrongdoing, often at professional risk. On Thursday night, the critiques grew louder after The Washington Post obtained an early copy of the book, titled A Warning, and reported on its contents. Among the revelations: a discussion among senior officials who considered resigning all at once in a ‘midnight self-massacre’ as a warning to the public of the president’s erratic behavior. But with the release in recent days of damning transcripts from the impeachment inquiry, the events described in A Warning could be seen as overly general and less revelatory than those daily disclosures from Washington.”A CGI version of James Dean will star in a new movie, and Hollywood actors are right for once: It’s a terrible idea. “The legendary James Dean, one of Hollywood’s brightest motion-picture stars of the 1950s, has been posthumously cast in Finding Jack, a Vietnam era action-drama set for 2020 . . . Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, and their production house Magic City Films,
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