James Baldwin

Recent

What I Recalled Watching Netflix

[Television is educational.]   One Saying the same stuff over and over looks like you have different things to say. Two If you’re ever in a below-average film or streaming series, and you beat the tar out of a guy, in a house, and you gaze down in both some shock as also a certain

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Seeking the King

A line everywhere misattributed to Chesterton reads thus: The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God. This line is not from the great [several senses of the word] man who recently celebrated his 150th birthday, but the mid-century most unmodern novelist Bruce Marshall. The words — which do

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He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

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‘Round Here

Imagine someone, potentially anyone, even you, perhaps, but let us, in any case, say. Yes, you. You pull into the diner – Earl’s, Norm’s, Dinah’s, something like that. A sort-of Googie architecture … but maybe not quite, as if it’d been a little late for the Space Age, and late is the one thing you

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Random

Touch

In Boston in the Back Bay on Boylston the Trader Joe’s looks built for the bite-sized. The storefront is not one-third the size of the usual glass portion of a TJ’s and far less than the width an entire layout usually commands. There is one set of double doors covering both entrance and exit —

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Covidomatic Libs

  Dear _____ , (supporter, donor, customer, friend, co-afflicted) In these _____ (unprecedented, challenging, dangerous, difficult) times, we know you’re _____ (standing strong, bearing up well, getting ripe, fingering the edge of the cleaver and gazing at your partner’s neck) and miss our _____ (plums, belly dancers, unmatched selection of fine wines, engine repair tutorials)

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The American Poet

In evangellyfish circles there used to be a joke thus — Let us now turn to Malachi, the Italian prophet. The joke works if you say chi the way we’re supposed to say Qi if it’s the Chinese thing. And it works, though my Italian wife will die on the bruschetta with a hard “k”

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Dance With Who Brung Ya

We’re observing Columbus Day with doughy, deep-fried donuts dusted with powdered sugar. It’s hard to hate old Christopher when M makes zeppole. But we are supposed to hate him, we’re told. We’re told, I say! We’re told he to do so because he was a bad man — he was a very bad man. The

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