Why I Will Not Miss Paul Holdengräber When He Bids Farewell to the New York Public Library - And You Shouldn't Either
Paul Holdengräber is not the Lone Ranger. He cannot take all the credit for the exhilarating cultural exchange knowns as Live from the NYPL, though he is its creator and director. It takes more than a few Tontos to keep a series of public conversations and performances like that running strong in the Big Apple for 14 years. It also takes the willing cooperation of the leading cultural lights of the day, most of whom Holdengräber has engaged in lively, stimulating conversations that take the art of the interview to a whole new level.
But in case you haven’t heard, Paul Holdengräber is leaving his beloved lair between the roaring lions of the Fifth Avenue public library. At the end of December, he will ride into the sunset toward a new home and a new job in Los Angeles. Do not look for a silver bullet. There won’t be one.
“Of course they’re guilty. How is it possible for men to cross women time and time again and go unpunished? If men were held accountable they’d hang hour after hour, every day of the year.”
This crucial line from the new adaptation of Wilkie Collins' A Woman in White comes during the first 60 seconds of a visually striking five-part series on PBS. But something about it seems all wrong. Not because it lacks truth but because it does Collins' novel an injustice.
Part of the fun of the story--one of the first and finest mysteries ever written--is deciding for yourself who did what to whom and whether they're guilty or not.
This 2018 adaptation seems to tip the hand in favor of certainty from the get-go. Its avenging-victim theme is so pronounced, I wondered if screenwriter Fiona Seres was more interested in making a case for #MeToo than in remaining true to the taut thread of suspense that makes the book such a thrilling ride
Clueless Megyn Kelly's Blackface Issue Distracts from Voter Suppression as Agatha Christie Movie Shuns Its Racist Past
UPDATED 10/25/2018: Although I originally imagined that NBC might be happy about the publicity Megyn Kelly's blackface comments generated, published reports in Variety now indicate the opposite. Kelly has reportedly lawyered up for what appears to be aggressive negotiations with the Peacock network. By Thursday evening, most major news outlets (Fox, NPR, CNN, et al) were reporting that she would not be returning to the Today Show. And only a slim chance remained that she would remain at the network in any capacity at all.
But I'm not backing away from the rest of my post. The Today Show executives had to know what she was when they hired her away from Fox. Jesus was white. Santa Claus is white. So of course blackface must be okay, right?
If we’ve learned anything from the 2016 presidential election, any publicity is good publicity. In this case, it may not be great for NBC, but it won't be bad for Kelly, even if she and NBC sever all ties. With enough free PR, you can laugh your way to the bank—or even to the White House.
“Oh my God, I think I might have bought drugs from this guy back in high school."
“But you just told the court you don’t know him,” a woman sitting next to me says.
“I didn’t remember it at the time. But yeah, I used to sell drugs when I was in high school. My boyfriend and I used to go to that very apartment building to get ours, and I’m thinking, yeah, I’ve probably bought from this guy before. He does look kind of familiar.”
We are on a jury panel. Going through the process known as “voir dire.” The guy she’s talking about is the defendant in a drug-trafficking case. Cocaine and marijuana. Five or six other charges too, all drug related. Did the judge also mention something about carrying a weapon? I think so.
It should probably not matter that it’s a young white woman privately confessing to those around her that she bought and sold drugs back in high school, which by the look of her could only have been three or four years ago. But in this instance her race matters a great deal.
Fans of Penny Mickelbury’s detective fiction will not be disappointed in her latest novel. Death’s Echoes marks the return of two favorite characters from her early work, Police Lt. Gianna Maglione and investigative reporter, Mimi Patterson, who is her professional confidante and lover.
Perhaps you already know that a new edition of Lawrence Otis Graham’s provocative 2009 bestseller, Our Kind of People, was published not too long ago. The book deals with class distinctions among African-Americans and the issue of “passing for white.” I learned about the updated edition from my daily Delancey Place newsletter, but I remember the original book well. It resonated with me. And still does. Not only because I grew up hearing the term passant blanc (passing for white, passer pour le blanc) from my New Orleans relatives, but also because I lived in Atlanta when segregation obscured the fact that black communities were often divided along class lines.
I'm a storyteller whose background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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