2.8.2009 New York Times Digest


1. “Penélope Cruz”

“Penélope Cruz belongs to the Mediterranean school of acting, a style that is characterized by its carnality, gutsiness, shamelessness, messy hair, generous cleavage and shouting as a natural form of communication. Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, the early Silvana Mangano, even Elizabeth Taylor and Rachel Weisz, mastered this style.”

2. “Kate Winslet”

“According to my own highly unscientific survey, just about everybody loves Kate Winslet … As you might expect, a lot of men appreciated her fearless on-screen sexuality, but a surprising number of women responded to her on this level as well. Lesbians, I was informed, have a special fondness for Kate. They think she’s a goddess, a helpful friend explained.”

3. “Mickey Rourke”

“There’s a tendency toward self-destructive behavior in very talented people. Look at Brando, look at Orson Welles or Montgomery Clift. They were brilliant and self-destructive. It’s a mystery why that is. But it is also true for Mickey.”

4. “Brad Pitt”

“The television or computer screen shrinks a movie’s scale, which is why the trend toward watching at home has saddened so many filmmakers. But large or small, the bodies of movie stars cannot be possessed. They are projections only, onto which we, in turn, project our own fantasies. Characters in a film, like those in a novel, are fictions, but in film, actors must literally embody their roles. The morbid curiosity about the ‘real’ lives of movie stars turns on the fact that a totally inaccessible body is nevertheless made of someone’s actual flesh.”

5. “Drawing Board to the Desktop: A Designer’s Path”

“The technology we have at our disposal is dazzling, and our efficiency is such that clients expect fast solutions and nearly instantaneous updates. We are proud to deliver them. Still, I wonder if we haven’t lost something in the process: the deliberation that comes with a slower pace, the attention to detail required when mistakes can’t be undone with the click of a mouse.”

6. “Why Television Still Shines in a World of Screens”

“Consumers are increasingly avoiding newspapers — and books, too — because the text mode is now used so infrequently that it can feel like a burden. People are showing a clear preference for a fully formed video experience that comes ready to play on a screen, requiring nothing but our passive attention.”

7. “A Love Life Less Ordinary”

“These stories may seem extreme, but at what point does desire go from acceptable to perverse? Is the man who lusts after petite, vulnerable-looking women any different from the man who lusts after disabled, vulnerable-looking women? What’s O.K.: a different body part, a different age group, a different type of body, a different kind of touch?”

8. “Choose Your Illusion”

“A venerable philosophical concept, the real has been more commonly set against the false, the fake, the ideal, the temporary, the romantic, the contrived, the staged, the illusory or the imaginary. But such a robust concept of reality would not suit television, where greater definitional leeway is needed to produce this oxymoronic thing, a reality show. And so MTV early on aligned reality with rudeness, an idea that is at once both clever and meaningless; this move has given the shape-shifting channel (and many other reality producers) broad latitude to modify ‘reality’ on the fly.”



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