Tom Carson

Tom Carson won two National Magazine Awards during his stint as Esquire's "Screen" columnist and has been nominated twice more as GQ's movie reviewer. Formerly a staff writer at LA Weekly and The Village Voice, he is the author of Gilligan's Wake (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2003) and Daisy Buchanan's Daughter.

Recent Articles

A Taste for Mediocrity

Why does Hollywood give us bad movies? Because we love them.

(AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

Slumped in your chair as life's meaninglessness washed over you like lava made of Brad Pitt's bubble gum, you may have zoned out for the most tattletale bit of Sunday night's Oscars telecast. (If you just skipped the whole shebang, well—more power to you, Secretary Clinton.

Burying Camelot

Mimi Alford's memoir marks the end of America's Kennedy fetish.

(Bettmann/Corbis/AP Images)

The publication last month of onetime JFK mistress Mimi Alford's Once Upon a Secret: My Affair With President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath provoked a variety of reactions. I wonder how many people shared mine, which was, "Bon voyage."

Why? Because I figure Alford's book almost has to be The End. The torch has been passed and then some to a new generation of Americans. Few of its members give much of a damn about presidential peccadilloes half a century old. Barring the discovery of Marilyn Monroe's lost diaries, it's not inconceivable that America is finally done with its Kennedy fetish. As the elderly Tolstoy —or was it Sophocles?—once celebrated the loss of his sex drive, "At last I am freed from a cruel and insane master."

Watergate Finally Gets Its Novel

Thomas Mallon's new fiction humanizes the ultimate D.C. scandal.

Watergate: A Novel. By Thomas Mallon, Pantheon Books, 448 pages, $26.95.

Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life. By Ann Beattie, Scribner, 282 pages, $26.00.

This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters by yeggs with White House connections that provoked the Watergate scandal and led to Richard M. Nixon’s resignation as 37th president of the United States. It’s the kind of benchmark that leaves people who lived through those days facing two realizations, fused by the unwelcome recognition that we’re pretty old.

Charles Portis's Guide to the GOP

An obscure book that just might explain the GOP race better than any pundit could

(Flickr/Austin Kleon)

Does today's Republican Party baffle you? Then I can help. A too-little-known book called Masters of Atlantis explains absolutely everything: They're Gnomons. Gnomons, every last one. While this is an inflammatory charge, I don't think I'm being reckless. If Masters of Atlantis can be trusted—and for reasons that will soon be apparent, I see no reason why it shouldn't be—Gnomonism, or Gnomonry, was introduced to the United States soon after World War I by Lamar Jimmerson, an ex-doughboy reared under Indiana's placid blue sky. While serving in France, he came into possession of a rare copy of the Codex Pappus: the only surviving repository of Atlantean wisdom, "committed to the waves on that terrible day when the rumbling began." 

Cowboy vs. Material Girl

In the Super Bowl culture contest, Eastwood's "Halftime in America" beat Madonna's halftime act.

In case you haven't heard, the Giants won. Because nobody who wasn't raised in the Boston TV market can abide the New England Patriots as either will or idea, a nation rejoiced between guacamole-flavored burps. But well before then—before the game's second half, in fact—the great American public met the real titans dueling for supremacy in Super Bowl LXVI. Clint Eastwood versus Madonna was a celebrity death match for the ages.

Madonna had literal home-field advantage, since she and her Madonna-ness—two increasingly disparate entities now that she's 53—were the stars of the halftime show. All 81-year-old Clint did (all? To quote Macbeth, "Did you say all?") was turn up in a two-minute Chrysler commercial. Iconically speaking, he cleaned her clock.