Before I can ask him a question, Dexter Filkins -- The New York Times correspondent whose new book, The Forever War, recounts experiences from his three years reporting during the Iraq War and his time before that in Afghanistan -- insists on putting one to me. He hates to ask, he says, "but have you read the book?" When we met early one evening in New York City in September, Filkins had just returned from a trip to Iraq to see how things had changed since he left in 2006. I show him my copy of his book, with post-it flags protruding from the edges of the pages, and he seems relieved.
I should've taken Charles Kaiser's advice and skipped Andrew Sullivan's cover story for The Atlantic, about how BarackObama
is the second coming of Christ. It is a stunningly bad piece of work
-- reductive, overwrought, bloated, and, perhaps above all,
Vivian Aplin-Brownlee, part of the first small wave of African-American women to work their way up through major newspapers, died a week ago. The Washington Post obituary is a nice tribute to her work (and includes a really lovely picture of her, as well).
We've seen this moviebefore. It's not like there aren't legitimate and serious criticisms to be made of Hillary Clinton, but I think Frank Rich actually does Clinton's people a service by wrapping his (barely identifiable) substantive criticism of the Senator in his tired, political-analysis-as-theater-criticism shtick.
Joe Nocera's weekly, reported columns for the Times Business section are usually quite good. But every once in while, things go weirdly awry, and the normally sensible Nocera reveals an odd penchant for contrarianism.