What We’re Reading

A weekly selection

The Oscar-nominated documentary feature “The Square,” a masterful documentation of the Egyptian revolution following the sit-ins at Tahrir Square in 2011.
The Oscar-nominated documentary feature “The Square,” a masterful documentation of the Egyptian revolution following the sit-ins at Tahrir Square in 2011.

I’ve been thinking about New York Magazine’s recently published profile on Ezra Klein all week. Although the tale is somewhat tired — Klein from Daily Bruin reject to popular blogger to Washington Post superstar — the piece is a nice reminder about the robustness of modern journalism.

“The column inches devoted to the new are column inches not given to the important, and this stress on novelty is a holdover from when the cost of making and moving paper limited what you could print. ‘The web explodes that constraint,’ Klein said. ‘We can publish War and Peace in the morning, then ten things on Obamacare, and then a hundred pictures of cats … And for all that, we haven’t created a resource that people can really use. We’ve just created a resource where it’s really easy to come and find out what happened today.’”

— Curan Mehra

 

In Bill Simmons’ BS Report podcast from Tuesday, legendary screenwriter William Goldman lamented the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away last Sunday. Goldman posits that the greatest actors shine the brightest on the stage, and Hoffman’s stage performances put him alongside Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as one of the greatest actors of all time. It’s an interesting perspective from one of show business’s venerable voices.

Rembert Browne makes an argument for the fundamental immorality of the George Zimmerman/DMX celebrity boxing match.

“Every single person directly or peripherally associated with this fight is worthless,” Browne says. “From the actors involved to the space that holds the event to the charity that accepts any money from the proceeds. Worthless.”

— Michael Rosen

 

Writer/comedian Gabe Delahaye, prompted by a New York Times article about the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, takes a chainsaw to our media culture’s obsession with endless commentary about any given issue. From a sharp writer with a gift for knocking down weak arguments and taking on difficult subjects, this post is worth a read.

— Noah Kulwin

 

All of the Oscar-nominated documentary features are streaming online. Granted, I both make and love documentary films, but these are well worth watching. “Cutie and the Boxer” is an exploration of the complex relationship of two married artists, Noriko and Ushio. The film is extremely intimate, as we see the chaotic nature of a 40-year marriage of two artists who put their need to create before almost everything, including each other. “Dirty Wars” chronicles journalist Jeremy Scahill’s investigation of the Joint Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. The film is chilling and beautifully filmed. My favorite so far is “The Square,” a masterful documentation of the Egyptian revolution following the sit-ins at Tahrir Square in 2011.

— Anya Schultz

 

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