Reggie has a great long post on the recent passing of journalist and author David Halberstam, who also died in a tragic car crash this week, and was everything that so many of the "mainstream" journalists, especially the ones given to punditizing, are not.
A great quote from him:
"If you're a reporter, the easiest thing in the world is to get a story. The hardest thing is to verify. The old sins were about getting something wrong, that was a cardinal sin. The new sin is to be boring."
Journalists, are you taking note(s)?
I realized I hadn't written anything about Richard Rogers's Pritzker Prize yet (and now another month is almost over!). Hurray for him! I managed to snap a number of shots of one of his masterpieces, which is also one of my favorite museums in the world, the Centre Georges Pompidou, which is one of the true visual icons of contemporary Paris. He is also designing the addition to fellow Pritzker Prize winner I. M. Pei's hideous Jacob Javits Center in New York, which probably could have used a lot more color, a livelier external carapace, or something, but we all make mistakes, some of them monumental. Rogers's addition certainly can't hurt. The Millennium Dome isn't ugly, it just didn't draw as many visitors as the British government would have liked. Many of his other buildings are up to the Pompidou level--like the Lloyd's Tower in London, or the brightly colored Minami Yamashiro School in Tokyo. I always think Santiago Calatrava is next in line for this award, but I'm sure his time is coming. Meanwhile, enjoy the Pompidou.
Its front plaza
From the rear
Inside, behind the Samuel Beckett exhibit
People on the front plaza, from high up, on the escalator
Apropos of nothing that I've just written about (or perhaps it was the Pompidou and Beckett, if I work backwards) here's a "poem" by one of Russia's least known but important 20th century avant-garde authors, Daniil Kharms (the pen name of Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov, 1905-1942), who ran afoul of the Soviet authorities, was exiled to Kursk, and then died of starvation while in prison during World War II. In the late 1930s, Kharms, who had co-founded the left-leaning Oberiu literary group in 1927 with his close friend Aleksandr Vvedensky (1900-1941) and poet Nikolay Zabolotsky (1903-1958), found that he could neither perform nor publish his formally experimental, socially provocative work for adults, so he took to writing children's books, which worked out until he crossed an imaginary line of provocation in 1937. During the last decade or so of his life, he wrote a number of absurdist prose works, which he kept hidden from the authorities' view, and which were not published until the period of the Krushchev "thaw" in the 1960s. Many of his short prose pieces are ironic to the point of absurdity in theme and thrust, and include moments of meaningless violence, reflective, I would venture, of the increasingly brutal, totalitarian society he found himself in during the inter-war period. Ironically, the Party figures and censors could brook little overt irony or absurdity as each increased, in real, material terms.
Here is "Sonnet"--from the collection Incidents (c. 1930)--which is anything but.