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  • Whose Cop Shows Rule: L.A.'s or N.Y.'s?

    New York people, as a rule, are not Los Angeles people, or vice versa. For instance, no one in the history of L.A. has ever yelled "I'm walking here!" while navigating a busy intersection (because no one in L.A. has ever actually walked across an intersection). The country's respective glamour capitals are even further apart culturally than they are physically, but they have one thing in common: they both make great settings for cop shows. So why, over the last decade or more, are most of the better ones set in New York? Between NYPD Blue, the hydra-headed Law & Order franchise, and the Manhattan-set CSI spin-off, New York procedurals have stuck in a way that recent Angeleno shows (Boomtown, Robbery Homicide Division, etc.) have not. Sure, there are exceptions. The Shield just finished a stellar seven-season run, and The Closer is still going strong. But given that Los Angeles practically invented the cop show and monopolized the genre in its early years (see: Dragnet, Police...
  • David Foster Wallace: On Line

    It's easy to miss the small things when trying to scale a mountain all alone, obsessed with simply planting one foot after another. Same goes for books so long that reading them seems like scaling K2. With its 1,000-plus pages and 300-plus endnotes, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is precisely such a doorstop. And now, it has its own literary sherpa.InfiniteSummer.org is a virtual book club that guides readers through the novel in 75-page chunks (not including endnotes) every week for three months. On the Web site, where discussion forums have been created, "spoilers" are verboten; you can talk only about the pages that everyone should have read by each week's end. What makes this different from your run-of-the-mill book club? In the old-school system, you'd have a hard time finding more than one or two people with enough nerve (and time) to join a traditional Jest confab. A virtual meeting place not only approximates a book club's sense of community, but brings a crowdsourced,...
  • Trash Talking Doesn’t Scare Me

    Usain Bolt emerged from Beijing as perhaps the biggest Olympic track star in half a century, and the first man to win both the 100- and 200-meter sprints, both in world-record times. The ease of his long stride, and the joyful Jamaican dance pose he struck in victory, made him a pop celebrity to millions. The head of the International Olympic Committee said his victory pose did not befit a champion. No matter; Bolt's agent, Ricky Simms, is working to make him another Tiger Woods, the first sprinter to earn more than $10 million a year. In Toronto to accept the Laureus World Sports Award for sportsman of the year, Bolt talked about his future with NEWSWEEK'S Tony Emerson. Excerpts: ...
  • An Opportunity for Tehran

    Maziar Bahari is a NEWSWEEK reporter, a documentary filmmaker, a playwright, author, artist, and, since June 21, a prisoner being held in Iran without formal charges or access to a lawyer. The Iranian state press has attached Bahari's name to a "confession" made in vague terms and conditional tenses about foreign media influence on the unrest in Iran that followed the declaration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection on June 12.Some in the government of Iran would like to portray Bahari as a kind of subversive or even as a spy. He is neither. He is a journalist, a man who was doing his job, and doing it fairly and judiciously, when he was arrested. Maziar Bahari is an agent only of the truth as best he can see it, and his body of work proves him to be a fair-minded observer who eschews ideological cant in favor of conveying the depth and complexity of Iranian life and culture to the wider world. Few have argued more extensively and persuasively, for instance, that Iran's...
  • We Read It So You Don’t Have to: ‘Free’

    Chris Anderson's free unpacks a paradox of the online market-place—people making money charging nothing. What was once just a marketing gimmick has morphed into the basis of a trillion-dollar economy. The key is the near-zero costs of selling online. Highlights:In November 2008, Monty Python gave away popular clips on YouTube. By February its DVD sales were up 23,000 percent on Amazon. This is win-win "freeconomics": because some pay a premium, everyone gets to graze for nothing.Consumers win, too. Economists say everything carries a cost—even if it's hidden or distributed—but the "cost" of online infotainment is so distributed that it's imperceptible. ...
  • Getting Away With Murder

    It's a sad irony: as the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia is relapsing into some of its Soviet ways. Much of what we've been seeing with the intimidation of journalists in Iran is routine in Russia—in fact, for reporters, Russia is now more dangerous than it was even during the Cold War. Seventeen have been murdered since 2000; in only one case has the killer been punished. Only Iraq and Algeria have worse records.Any state that turns a blind eye toward the assassination of reporters can't call itself a democracy. When our own democracy was in its earliest days, Patrick Henry said, "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." In Russia today, the rulers' transactions are ever more concealed. Most disturbing, as truth tellers are felled by assassins' bullets, the Russian people have responded with a giant shrug. The reason for this apathy is obvious: the vast...
  • Bruno: A Fashion 'Don't' of a Movie

    'Borat' turned guerrilla comedy into a sharp, political weapon. 'Brüno' is funny enough, but its satire is entirely too overdressed for success.
  • Obama Arrives in Moscow

    President Obama just arrived in Moscow. First stop: He and First Lady Michelle Obama will lay flowers at the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, just off Red Square. Then it’s off to the Kremlin, where Obama will meet one on one with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. They’ll have a press conference later this afternoon--er well, morning to you guys back home. Two things of note so far: Local TV did not show Air Force One’s arrival in Moscow so maybe there's something to those reports about the Russians being totally blasé about the president of the United States being in town. (Your Gaggler and other reporters not in the press pool today instead were witness to yet another interview with Jermaine Jackson. Thanks CNN!) And in another strange weather development, it’s suddenly not raining anymore.  It had been pouring buckets, so much so that your Gaggler had made a few bad jokes about building an ark. (Yes, we know. We won’t quit our day job.) But within minutes of Obama’s...