Author: Tom Carson

  • Bob Woodward, Inside Dope

    CAPITAL HELL: Club Fed ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — Nobody in Washington — and certainly not in a White House by now incapable of telling wheat from chaff, crisis-wise — is saying the obvious thing about Bob Woodward’s The Agenda, which is that the book itself is inconsequential. It’s not as if the fecklessness and crossed purposes with which […]

  • Frank Sinatra: The Last Crooner

    1998_Village Voice package remembering Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra: 1915–1998 By Gary Giddins Nobody was shocked to learn of Frank Sinatra’s death at 82 — everyone was surprised he lingered as long as he did. Yet his leaving inevitably focuses attention on a shared history. High arts never unite us as intimately as popular ones, and Sinatra’s absence is unmooring on several […]

  • Norman Mailer’s Greatest Hits

    The Time of His Prime Time Any biography whose subject is still alive is suspect. Nine bombs out of 10, we get to choose between two brands of meretriciousness: sensationalism or sycophancy. Certainly our Norman, who has a talent for sending the most sensible heads into wild yawing, offers rich pretexts for either. Hilary Mills has […]

  • What We Do Is Secret: Your Guide to the Post-Whatever

    OVER A DECADE ago, the punk movement tried to harness all the discon­tent in rock into an explosion, and failed. Instead, it institutionalized the edge. The marginal music of today is any number of second thoughts removed from punk’s ini­tial headlong impulse. The audience for it mainly consists of kids to whom 1977 and all […]

  • Lester Bangs’s Naked Grunge

    I’ll Be Your Mirror Here’s one way of explaining what Lester Bangs did. You could locate him according to the same vectors that diced up Mark David Chapman’s identity, and finally re­duced him to killing a Beatle — a murder he mistook for a suicide. But instead of being victimized by the dislocations of self […]

  • Our Nixon: Whose Life Was It Anyway?

    1. Nixon is Everywhere I’m going to put on an old record, if you don’t mind. Let’s see if I remember how this damned hi-fi works. The needle’s kind of scratchy, but — ah, there we go. You’ll rec­ognize those gliding saxophones, noncha­lant and sprightly. The voice, which has a vintage Buick’s lazy swagger — […]

  • Good Evening, Mr. Reed

    At one point or another on New York (Sire), Lou Reed commits every mistake in the activist singers’ handbook. Too often, these protest lyrics are gracelessly over-explicit, leaving you no room to discover anything. There are ironies so predictable that hearing them savored sets your teeth on edge, and moments of pathos undermined by their agenda-serving […]

  • Mean Driveways: Even Mobsters Get the Blahs

    The best stroke in HBO’s 13-part series The Sopranos, premiering January 10, is that it isn’t conceived as farce. The premise is inherently satiric, with a successful mafioso (James Gandolfini as waste-management kingpin Tony Soprano) presented as your typical, demoralized, middle-aged suburbanite — unfulfilled by his privileges, nagged by troubles at home and business associates who don’t […]

  • Paula Prentiss Pursues Her Own Orbit

    Paula Prentiss turned up in a movie a couple of years ago, playing a ravaged-looking horror novelist in I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. But almost nobody noticed, even though it was her first substantial film role in decades and her expertise in giving director Osgood Perkins exactly what he needed […]

  • Chads Into Confetti: A Great Day for America

    January 30, 2001 Two cartoons in last week’s New Yorker summed up the disconnect attendant on George W. Bush’s inauguration. On the cover, Edward Sorel’s benign depiction of W. getting instructions from Cheney on which hand to raise for the oath, amid first worried, then beaming relatives and officials, might have seemed complaisant by the […]