Archive

Christian Lorentzen

23 August 2010

America is a country of overgrown boys, stunted and warped, who, left to their own devices, are fit to do little more than play video games, stare at pornography, and crack jokes about genitals, flatulence, and defecation. The country’s womenfolk match men’s obnoxious behavior with a reflexive shrewishness. They are ever vexed by anxiety about their diminishing horizons and fading looks. More…

23 April 2010

Anderson has succumbed to the same Salinger syndrome that plagued the Tenenbaum kids. He proved himself a boy genius, and now he doesn’t want to grow up, and probably doesn’t know how. Perhaps he sensed that there is an artistic limit to the parody and decided that he’d rather cruise the high seas animating jellyfish than remove the faux from his earnestness. More…

31 March 2010

The new work by Noah Baumbach is of interest as a confused deployment of contemporary status symbols. The three cardinal post-collegiate vanities are career achievement, coupledom, and procreation, and these are all that are at stake in Greenberg. More…

31 May 2009

Considered in the most cynical light, the American system of education as it now exists is a status machine, absorbing young citizens, sorting them according to rigid criteria. Walter Kirn’s new memoir comes tagged with the catchphrase “Percentile is destiny in America.” The book takes the form of a confession, as Kirn deploys his experiences to expose a sham. More…

27 March 2008

As a whole, The View from the Seventh Layer conveys the impression of an author who writes out of an impulse to congratulate his characters, his readers, and himself for being pure of heart in a cynical world—or for having emotions at all. It is through the combination of the fantastic and the sentimental that the work may be passed off as “literary.” More…

31 October 2005

People over age 50 are signally absent from Park Slope, Brooklyn. It’s a neighborhood where members of the “creative class” move during their breeding years to mate, spawn, and keep housepets. All three of Noah Baumbach’s films partake of the neighborhood and its pathologies. More…

27 June 2005

It makes sense that critics have embraced this indie—and its vision of love as a salve—during a month when the romantic comedy at the top of the box office charts, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, locates love in ultraprofessional homicidal violence. While the cineplex revels in bosom, brawn, and blowing stuff up, the art house preens its emaciation and wants to stay safe and warm. More…

7 May 2005

Suburban-spawned urban hipsters harbor a famous animus for suburbia. Call it the father-killing side of the Oedipal impulse whose mother-loving component is the type of nostalgia enacted in obsessive conversation about 1980s trivia or trophy dog ownership by dwellers of closet-size apartments. Of course, if the suburbs weren’t so stifling, misfit youths wouldn’t grow up to be hipsters. More…

20 March 2005

The perfect woman is married to your best friend. Or she’s his mistress. She’s your wife’s younger sister. Or she’s engaged to your rich brother-in-law. She’s a few months shy of being legal. She’s a student in the class you teach. Or she’s been committed to a mental institution in Hawaii. By no means is she your wife. And chances are you haven’t slept with your wife in months. More…

20 October 2004

My mood swings on this are so violent. I was sure at the end of the third debate that Kerry would sweep the nation. But watching five minutes of the Sunday morning talk shows this weekend, while we were staying with my in-laws, convinced me that we were going to lose by just as much. Debates, I realized, are a 19th—no, actually, an 18th-century political format that has, wonderfully, survived. More…