Pola Negri looked like something from a storybook: she had jet black hair, pale skin that reporters compared to a camellia blossom, and a sensual mouth that, painted bright red, read as something deep and mournful onscreen. She was Polish by birth and Hollywood’s first foreign import; the Czar of Russia once said she had “the most kissable hands in the world.” To American audiences, she was exoticism manifest: an amalgamation of connotations that added up to different, not us. That exoticism was fiercely appealing—five years before Negri came to Hollywood, it had made Theda Bara into a massive star, at least until the public figured out the creature who had [...]
I woke up this morning, turned on my phone, and immediately knew that today would be the best day, because today was the day that my favorite author, Alice Munro, had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. She’s 82 years old, she’s Canadian, she’s selfless in interviews, and she’s spent her life writing small, immaculate vignettes of women—which is all to say that she’s unlike almost all writers who’ve been awarded this prize, and I couldn’t be happier.
Alice Munro is known as the master of the short story. Stories this morning have credited her with rejuvenating the form, and I don’t disagree. I didn’t know I liked short stories [...]
During the awkward first days of grad school, the institution sent in one of the third-year students to make us feel comfortable in our new environment. In truth, they made us feel fearful of our station in life. Take the first question one asked me, for example: “So are you a theoryhead?”
Blank stare. I think I thought he was referring to a new David Lynch film? I gulped my glass of bad grad reception Chardonnay like a doofus and dodged the question, but its relevance would soon become clear. Humanities grad school is replete with so-called theoryheads—students, mostly dudes, who love to speak as unintelligently as possible and lord [...]