Archive for August 31st, 2009

Why You Should See “The September Issue”

Anna WintourI was lucky enough back in April to watch a limited viewing of The September Issue at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC (a festival that I highly recommend to everyone who is any sort of interest in ANYTHING). Grace Coddington and Andre Leon Talley, two of the “stars” of the documentary, spoke in a panel after the film along with Director R.J. Cutler.* The film’s mass U.S. theatrical release occurs on September 11.

*Unfortunately, the moderator of the panel, Robert Krulwich, asked awful questions like “How mean was Anna Wintour?”

Of the nearly fifteen documentaries I viewed that weekend, The September Issue was one of the best—if not the best—edited and produced. The September Issue follows the production of the 2008 September issue of Vogue, the largest issue of the year. In 2007, the September issue weighed five pounds. Let me be clear: I have no interest in fashion. Make no mistake about it. The September Issue is about individuals and how they interact. If such characters had existed in a delicatessen, it would make little difference to me.
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Letter to the Letterwriter

I’ve long thought that people who write letters to the editor aren’t held accountable for much of what they write. This is an attempt to change that.

Dear John James,

Your letter to Esquire, which received its own byline online, starts off so promisingly. You come off immediately as more than the standard reader, as one who thinks deeply about music, about art, about music as art. Your case for the cover song is a good one, and one I appreciate and endorse.

However, John James, like Brett Favre, you lose credibility the more you continue. First, you are unable to resist the human urge to write at length about your own experience. You can argue that I care about why you love cover songs: The whole “art as a crossroads of the predictable and unexpected” is a theory that transcends personal tastes. You cannot argue, though, that I care about how you came to love cover songs. The intimate details of your adolescence, your strong sense of personal nostalgia for a bygone era of music, and the editorialization that almost inherently accompanies them are of no interest to me.

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Monday Medley

What we read while wondering what beats DJ AM is trying to impress Ted Kennedy with:

  • William Safire takes on “clunkers”, a word that has been amusing since the “Cash for Clunkers” initiative began.
  • Not sure what was more interesting: The New York Times’ cover story (in Sports) on the possibility that Miguel Tejada tipped pitches and didn’t hustle after ground balls hit by Dominican friends in close games (yeah, there’s a small sample size), OR Deadspin’s dead-on critique of David Waldstein’s frustrating “say-it-already” way of making his point. Our question: Why was this article printed now?