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Charles Portis


True Grit is a big hit for the Coen brothers, giving them their best opening weekend ever. Their growing popularity cues two inevitable reactions:

1) the claim that they’re improving as filmmakers, finally learning how to do it right, “it” being the tired sentimental humanism that goes over so big with so many dopes; and

2) the claim that they’ve sold out, abandoned their dazzling formalism, lost their satirical mojo, and degenerated into sinful conformity.

Of these two positions the first is by far the dumber and more common; I just had it solemnly presented to me by a bearded academic at a Christmas party, which is a lesson to me to stay in lockdown over the holidays.


December 28th, 2010 | Comments (45)

Mark Twain’s Autobiography: A Pre-approval

You might have heard that Mark Twain’s autobiography is going to be published this fall—the real one, not the abridged, expurgated, censored, compromised, cleaned-up, Sunday school superintendent version that’s circulated over the years. 5,000 pages of sheer bile, cussedness, and…

June 17th, 2010 | Comments (54)