Wednesday, June 29, 2005 News | War? What war?: "Fox News is rapidly becoming an essential if faintly horrific guide to the American soul, a kind of cross between an organ and a tumor. Fox is certainly not the only offender -- its cable competitors CNN and MSNBC are chasing the same ratings, and are guilty of similar sins -- but it's the most egregious. Those who have watched Fox News recently must feel as if they had fallen into a bizarre time and logic warp out of Philip K. Dick, where 9/11 never happened (except when necessary to drum up support for the war on Iraq, which also doesn't exist except when it has to be defended) and we've returned to those happy summer days when lurid, sexually charged murder cases and shark attacks were not just the most important stories, they were the only stories."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

excerpted from the New York Times article, "In Fiction, a Long History of Fixation on the Social Gap"By Charles McGrath:

...But most reality television trades in a fantasy of sorts, based on the old game-show formula: the idea that you can be plucked out of ordinary life and anointed the new supermodel, the new diva, the new survivor, the new assistant to Donald Trump. You get an instant infusion of wealth and are simultaneously vested with something far more valuable: celebrity, which has become a kind of super-class in America, and one that renders all the old categories irrelevant.

Celebrities, in fact, have inherited much of the glamour and sexiness that used to attach itself to the aristocracy. If Gatsby were to come back today, he would come back as Donald Trump and would want a date not with Daisy but with Britney. And if Edith Wharton were still writing, how could she not include a heavily blinged hip-hop mogul?

But if the margins have shifted, and if fame, for example, now counts for more than breeding, what persists is the great American theme of longing, of wanting something more, or other, than what you were born with - the wish not to rise in class so much as merely to become classy. If you believe the novels of Dickens or Thackeray, say, the people who feel most at home in Britain are those who know their place, and that has seldom been the case in this country, where the boundaries of class seem just elusive and permeable enough to sustain both the fear of falling and the dream of escape.