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What can the matter be?

Denis Donoghue, 5 April 1990

Ulster Politics: The Formative Years, 1868-86 
by B.M. Walker.
Ulster Historical Foundation/Institute of Irish Studies, 327 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 901905 40 2
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Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society 
by J.J. Lee.
Cambridge, 754 pp., £55, January 1990, 0 521 26648 3
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... beating up the Bogside Papists. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, Jack Lynch, appealed to the UN and said, evidently referring to the Irish Army: ‘We will not stand by.’ The wise knew what Lynch meant: we will huff and puff and do nothing. Fools thought he meant – and Unionists in the North ...

The Right Hand of the Father

Thomas Lynch, 4 January 1996

... compressed three vertebrae but never lost consciousness. My English professor and mentor, the poet Michael Heffernan, was first down the stairs and out the door to where I had landed. I must have appeared somewhat dazed and breathless. ‘Did you hit your head?’ he kept asking once he had determined I was alive. ‘What day is it?’ ‘Who is the President ...

Freddie Gray

Adam Shatz, 21 May 2015

... his ground’; Eric Garner, a 44-year-old in Staten Island killed in a police chokehold; Michael Brown, an 18-year-old shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; Walter Scott, a 50-year-old father of four in North Charleston, South Carolina, who was Tasered and then killed by a police officer who had stopped him for a nonfunctioning brake ...

Man-Eating Philosophers

Will Self: David Cronenberg, 18 June 2015

by David Cronenberg.
Fourth Estate, 288 pp., £18.99, October 2014, 978 0 00 729915 7
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... such as the tedious A History of Violence and the wholly risible A Dangerous Method, wherein Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen – mumming Jung and Freud respectively – established to my satisfaction at least that if actors are to play intellectuals they must always have mind doubles for the risky theorising scenes. Cronenberg’s last ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper, 22 March 2012

Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... close, but I suspect that’s more the result of moribund acting. There isn’t any doubt about Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (one of the few good films I wish I’d never seen): as blank and merciless a psychopath as I’ve ever come across in the movies. But no one has ever been as repeatedly and consistently sinister, morally ...


Carlos Dada: At the Mexican Border, 8 October 2020

... fishermen found another body washed up on a sandbank. It was identified as that of Atabong Michael Atembe, aged 32, also from Cameroon.The boat had sunk about 250 kilometres up the coast, near the state border with Oaxaca. I went there on a quad bike driven by a local teenager. The sand was littered with clothing. I made an inventory: a pair of ...

Once a Syrian, always a Syrian

Maria Margaronis: Joseph O’Neill, 8 March 2001

Blood-Dark Track: A Family History 
by Joseph O'Neill.
Granta, 338 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 1 86207 288 4
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... and sisters were IRA activists, many of them high up in the organisation; Eileen’s brother Jack Lynch was the commanding officer who orchestrated the bombing campaign in England in 1939 which killed six civilians and seriously injured 55. Cheated of his farm inheritance by a series of blunders and family quarrels, Jim O’Neill earned a living as a lorry ...

Whoopers and Shouters

James Morone: William Jennings Bryan, 21 February 2008

A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan 
by Michael Kazin.
Anchor, 374 pp., $16.95, March 2007, 978 0 385 72056 4
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... the role of Bryan and the director kept saying: ‘More pompous, Morone. Make him more pompous.’ Michael Kazin is a fine historian who specialises in the lost causes of the left. He has written sympathetic books on the Populist movement and the 1960s. In A Godly Hero, his life of Bryan, he now draws an unexpected conclusion: defying capitalists and defending ...

Cinematically Challenged

Adam Mars-Jones, 19 September 1996

The Cinema of Isolation 
by Martin Norden.
Rutgers, 385 pp., $48, September 1994, 0 8135 2103 3
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... point would be The Elephant Man (1980), a still from which appears on the cover of the book. David Lynch’s film may indeed demonstrate ‘time-worn points of view’ in some ways, and its central figure may indeed combine the stereotypes of the Sweet Innocent and the Saintly Sage (Norden is inordinately fond of categories like these and the ‘Elderly ...

American Breakdown

David Bromwich, 2 August 2018

... of the investigation in October. Hence, too, the decision by the attorney general Loretta Lynch to let Comey make the original announcement, critical of Clinton, which ended the investigation in July. Lynch had compromised her appearance of impartiality by a long and unexplained private conversation with Bill ...

Say hello to Rodney

Peter Wollen: How art becomes kitsch, 17 February 2000

The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of the Kitsch Experience 
by Celeste Olalquiaga.
Bloomsbury, 321 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7475 4535 9
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... unaided, Hickey first invokes the work of Chardin and Fragonard and then manages to bring in Michael Fried’s Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot, which he uses to explicate the meaning of the painting’s four looks; five if you include our own nostalgic look at what has now become ‘our gardenia’, a look which ...


John Lanchester, 11 July 1991

Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon 
edited by Stephen Egger.
Praeger, 250 pp., £33.50, October 1990, 0 275 92986 8
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Serial Killers 
by Joel Norris.
Arrow, 333 pp., £4.99, July 1990, 0 09 971750 6
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Life after Life 
by Tony Parker.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.50, May 1991, 0 330 31528 5
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American Psycho 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 399 pp., £6.99, April 1991, 0 330 31992 2
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Dirty Weekend 
by Helen Zahavi.
Macmillan, 185 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 333 54723 3
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Silence of the Lambs 
by Thomas Harris.
Mandarin, 366 pp., £4.99, April 1991, 0 7493 0942 3
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... works by artists as different from each other as P.D. James, DV8 Physical Dance Theatre and David Lynch. Stephen Egger, an American academic and former policeman who wrote the first doctoral dissertation on the phenomenon, gives a definition/description of serial murder in Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon: A serial murder occurs when one or more ...

The Medium is the Market

Hal Foster: Business Art, 9 October 2008

... in 1993. During those same two days Wall Street melted down. Over the previous weekend Merrill Lynch was bought in a fire sale by Bank of America and Lehman Brothers vanished into thin air, both victims of the metastatic crisis in mortgage securities. The Dow Jones plunged five hundred points on 15 September, its worst day since 9/11, and nearly another ...

Bad News

Iain Sinclair, 6 December 1990

by John Farrand.
Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 239 pp., $40, June 1990, 1 55670 134 9
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Weather Watch 
by Dick File.
Fourth Estate, 299 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 1 872180 12 4
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Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment 
edited by J.T. Houghton, G.J. Jenkins and J.J. Ephraums.
Cambridge, 365 pp., £40, September 1990, 9780521403603
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Crop Circles: The Latest Evidence 
by Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews.
Bloomsbury, 80 pp., £5.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0843 7
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The Stumbling Block, Its Index 
by B. Catling.
Book Works, £22, October 1990, 9781870699051
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... of academic complacency. ‘Lightning, Phoenix, Arizona’ has the abrupt menace of a David Lynch dream sequence, the cardiac arrest when a previously straightforward narrative crosses the line and touches a vertiginous post-mortem truth. We need to be reminded of the ugly, petrol-breathed, epidermic floss sulking past our own windows. These ...

How to Get Screwed

David Runciman, 6 June 2019

The Mueller Report: Presented With Related Materials by the ‘Washington Post’ 
Simon and Schuster, 736 pp., £12.99, May 2019, 978 1 4711 8617 2Show More
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... the Trump campaign on an unpaid basis. He had no evident qualifications: a few years at Merrill Lynch, a stint in Moscow, an unpublishable PhD on oil and gas in the ex-Soviet Union. But he offered to broker connections between Trump and senior Russian officials. He also dangled the prospect of a direct meeting with Putin. This was dressed up as a means of ...

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