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  • Honey from Paris Is All the Buzz

    To make a pint and a half of honey, a honeybee treks from flower to flower to flower, almost a million times. That's about 25,000 honeybee air miles, or the distance around the world at the equator. Of course, a bee's world is concentrated in a ring around the hive—a radius of meadows, forests, or 40 city blocks. But on the immigrant-rich edges of Paris, a honeybee's rounds really are a trip around the world. Inner-city biodiversity is an echo of its people, of its history, and of globalization: seeds inadvertently traipsed over borders or in shipping containers, or on purpose through garden-center imports or stowaway seeds secreted home from a trip to the old country. Which is how Paris, and all its diverse residents, have found themselves in a most unlikely honey pot.Olivier Darné is an artist turned beekeeper from the often-troubled Seine-St-Denis district just north of Paris's beltway. He has put hives on roofs and even sidewalks throughout these quarters to collect what he...
  • Where Is the Ugly Chanel?

    There is a wonderfully subtle (if historically inaccurate) scene in the new biopic Coco Before Chanel in which the 20-something, not-yet-a-fashion-doyenne is asked by her lover "Boy" Capel to attend a summer ball with him in Deauville. Chanel agrees, but—zut alors!—she has the same problem that has afflicted every woman since Eve: she has nothing to wear. The couple heads to the local atelier, where Chanel picks out black fabric and demands there be no corset. "But it will be shapeless," the woman tells her dismissively. "Do as I say," Chanel abruptly answers back. Of course, at the ball all eyes are on the petite woman (played exquisitely by Audrey Tautou) dancing the night away in—voilà!—a Little Black Dress. Never mind that Chanel really created the LBD when she was closer to 40, and long after Capel had been killed in a car accident. Almost a century after its real birthday in 1925, the Little Black Dress is still the standard cocktail-party uniform for women the world over. ...
  • How Gary Cooper Saved Warsaw

    It was a Sunday morning in 1989, and Gary Cooper was all over Warsaw. Nearly 10,000 posters, plastered around the city at daybreak, bore the image of the marshal from the 1952 Western High Noon. His photograph was black and white, save for the red Solidarity logo placed on his chest, and he carried a paper ballot in place of a pistol. The poster's inscription was simple: IT'S HIGH NOON, JUNE 4, 1989.That paper sheriff was on a mission: to encourage Poles to vote for Solidarity in that day's parliamentary elections. In the Western, the hero always wins; in the elections, Solidarity secured a landslide victory, and the High Noon poster became an emblem of triumph and new beginning. Yet the poster itself marked an ending. It was the last great work of the Polish Poster School.Half a century before Twitter became the medium of choice for underground communications in Iran, artistically innovative Poles used the power of images to slip subversive messages past the communist watchdogs. In...
  • "New Nationalism" Looks New Again

    In august 1910, Teddy Roosevelt climbed on top of a kitchen table in Osawatomie, Kans., and gave one of the defining speeches of his life. "Ruin in its worst form is inevitable," he said, "if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few and the triumph in both politics and business of a sordid and selfish materialism." When he described his solution—a "new nationalism" encompassing greater government involvement in financial markets and social programs—the crowd roared. Before long, TR had launched another presidential campaign.The "new nationalism" speech is remembered as a high point of the progressive movement, but long forgotten is the 1909 book that gave the speech its name: Herbert Croly's The Promise of American Life. The free reign of laissez-faire capitalism in the 19th century had produced great booms—but also busts, trusts, monopolies, and rapidly growing inequality and dislocations. In Croly's formulation, the people required Hamiltonian...
  • Maxwell's Pure Blues Sounds

    If you're doing quality work within a genre, you don't tend to declare it dead. And then there's Maxwell, the R&B singer whose pouffy Afro and history-conscious music made him a leading sex symbol of '90s neo-soul. "Is there even such a thing as R&B anymore?" he asks. "Hip-hop has completely absorbed it. I have no problem with that." Even if this is a politic acknowledgement of reality, it's a good thing he doesn't mind. Maxwell just released his first new album in eight years: the awkwardly titled BLACKsummers'night. Turns out he's changed, too.After his platinum debut in 1996 and a No. 1 record in 2001, Maxwell dropped out of the game. The explanation is human enough: he wanted a life outside the industry. "People who do get a great deal of success, they start to buy into the conditional aspect of that love," Maxwell says. "I'm so happy that I didn't lose the real idea of who I am." By the time he began recording new material, Maxwell was digging acts like Radiohead and...
  • Luu Doan Huynh: Making Peace With McNamara

    During the war I was a news analyst at Hanoi's American Affairs Department. From the beginning, we could tell that Robert McNamara was the mastermind. Each day, when we held a conference to discuss new developments, we always talked about McNamara first.In the early years, he was bellicose. We called him the "hawk." He believed that if the Viet Cong could see how powerful American technology was, they would not fight. Of course, this was not the case. Much of what he and President Johnson authorized were war crimes, and we were furious.By 1966 or 1967, we saw differences emerging between him and the other war architects. He was the first to see that the war was hopeless. As a result, when Mr. McNamara left the Defense Department in 1968, we understood it was not simply a resignation. We knew that if he openly stated his differences with President Johnson, the war might end more quickly. But Johnson shifted him to the World Bank; a public statement never came.Nearly 30 years later, I...
  • A Lion, But No Lionization

    It was an unusually candid admission, particularly for a politician. A few years ago, in a meeting with NEWSWEEK editors, a distinguished and well-known United States senator—the session was on background, so I cannot identify the lawmaker by name—reflected on the fleeting nature of glory in his line of work. When he had first come to the Senate, he said, he had looked at his desk on the floor of the chamber, a desk that bore the name of each senator who had ever sat in that seat. Eagerly, the new man's eyes ran up and down the list. "And you know what?" he said, recalling the moment. "I didn't recognize a single one of them. Easy come, easy go."It is safe to say that the name of the author of this week's cover, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, will never slip unremembered into the mists of history, and that alone makes him a man who repays study. He is a member of an elite company, and not just by being a Kennedy (actually, he has more well-known relatives than the popular...
  • The Polaroid Lives!

    Over the past five years, I've up-loaded more than 200 pictures to Facebook. Some are of me. Some are of my friends. Most are of me and my friends doing mildly embarrassing things. But none has elicited as much enthusiasm as the snapshot I took recently at a Brooklyn flea market. The response has little to do, I think, with what actually appears in the image: an assortment of old Owl-brand stamps, seen from above. Nor can I credit the other tchotchkes edging into the picture: a beaded necklace, a crystal bowl, a leather sleeve of sorts, a silver object that may or may not be a harmonica. What makes this particular digital photo popular on Facebook is the fact that it doesn't look digital at all. After extracting the original file from my Nikon, I dragged it into a program called Poladroid, which quickly spit out an image that belied my DSLR's multi-megapixel specifications: jaundiced tint, fuzzy focus, textured white border. And yet, the moment I posted the photo online, admirers...
  • Why CDs are Killing Classical Music

    In 1996, American composer john Adams wrote a whirligig of a piece called "Scratchband." In its short running time, woodwinds and brass chase each other through thrashing figures so drunk on high spirits that the electric guitar, bass, and percussion can barely keep up. It would be the perfect track to play for anyone who thinks classical music is plodding or stuffy beyond saving—except for the fact that no one owns a legal recording of the music. It's not as though Adams is ashamed of his daring 12-minute essay in sound. He's simply been at a loss, for more than a decade, when it comes to identifying a major symphonic work or concerto that "Scratchband" would make sense next to on an 80-minute CD. "I've been kind of hedging," Adams admits, "because it's hard to find a spot."This obsession with the compact disc would make a lot more sense if sales of the format weren't plummeting across the board. But that is not the world we live in. It's time someone said it: the cult of the CD is...
  • What Would Jesus Watch?

    Back in March, David stood ready to slay Goliath, and almost no one was there to witness it. That was when NBC debuted Kings, a modern retelling of the biblical underdog story. Among the show's blessings were its impressive cast, anchored by Golden Globe winner Ian McShane; imaginative director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend); and a favorable critical reception. But the premiere was trounced in the ratings, finishing last in its time slot and thereby missing an opportunity to defeat the giant—in this case, Desperate Housewives. After failing to find an audience, it's Kings that's in a sling. The show won't be returning for a second season.The untimely demise of Kings, which ends its 13-episode run this month, raises questions about why, in a culture where a vast majority of us say we believe in God, so few of us seem to want to watch him on television. No religiously themed show has found its footing on the major networks since CBS's Joan of Arcadia, about a teenage girl who got...
  • Hiking the Israel Trail

    Below lies the sweeping Negev desert. Above, a line of camels saunter across a stretch of land dotted with yellow-flowered tumble thistle and tiny pink sun roses. In the distance, the lights of Arad twinkle as the soft slopes of the Yatir forest melt into the darkness. It's dusk on the 600-mile Israel National Trail, a footpath that ambles from the country's southern border with Egypt all the way north to the edge of Lebanon. It was modeled on the Appalachian Trail, designed as a peaceful retreat from the world. But this is Israel. No oasis of calm can keep out the heat and tension of everyday life completely.The Israel Trail was first marked in 1995, and it was carefully constructed to sidestep areas of territorial dispute, such as the Golan Heights, West Bank settlements, and even Jerusalem. From one end of the country to the other, it passes ancient ruins and biblical sites, beaches, expansive forests, a desert, and cities. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel says...
  • Judd Apatow's Relationship Issues

    There's a scene in Judd Apatow's new movie, Funny People, in which George Simmons (Adam Sandler), a famous comedian fighting a terminal illness, makes a pilgrimage to see his old flame, Laura (Leslie Mann). Their breakup was nasty, but George isn't above exploiting his health for a second chance at true love. Laura, a former actress, never achieved George's fame, and she quit Hollywood to become a full-time mom. A canny seducer, George arrives on her doorstep with a bag of props to remind Laura of the girl she once was: her favorite old pair of jeans (they still fit!) and a greatest-hits reel of her acting spots. As she watches the clips of the occasional Melrose Place moment, her verdict on that is considerably harsher. Later, Laura says, "I always played the bitch." (Story continued below...)Laura's critique could arguably apply to all of Apatow's female characters. Katherine Heigl once called Knocked Up, in which her character gets pregnant after a one-night stand, "a little...
  • Why The Ladies Love Vampires

    Is it the bad economy, or your secret desire for domination? Psychologists weigh in on our obsession with the bloodsuckers.