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Category: Writing

2017-05-21 :: Jordan // Politics + Writing
Bring On Pence

Should Mike Pence become president, the Left will surely lead us in a national chorus of “Whew! Back to normal.” Correct? After all, our friends in the Democratic party have been saying for many months that President Trump is not normal, that he is uniquely unfit for office, that his brand of mendaciousness, volatility, poor […]

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Roger Ailes made his debut appearance early In Joe McGinniss’ landmark book The Selling of the President 1968, a brilliant first-hand study of how filmmaking and advertising techniques permanently altered the political landscape during Nixon’s landslide election that year. McGinniss argues that the postwar, television-era thinking of Marshall McLuhan and other pioneers of media study […]

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2017-03-07 :: Jordan // Movies + Writing
Movie Loves, Lost and Found

Sometimes I end up watching two movies back-to-back that are not just different, but are polar opposites—that balance each other in such a perfectly bizarre yin/yang juxtaposition that the randomized double-feature shocks me with its illumination and depth, as if some broad truth that runs across the spectrum of art and life has been unexpectedly […]

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2017-02-17 :: Jordan // Politics + Writing
Out of Touch

What’s absolutely infuriating me right now, more than the daily psychic blows of the Trump era, is the way that my own (and others’) expectation that Hillary would win the election is being turned into a blunt-force rhetorical weapon against us—against myself personally and others who think like I do, as recounted everywhere, daily—not just […]

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2017-02-01 :: Jordan // Cartoons + Writing
Silent Third Panel

As I look (again) at Peanuts — the entire 50-year-project, and its astonishing achievement — I’m noticing new things. I’ve learned, for example, about how everyone credits Schulz with inventing not just the classic “four-panel gag strip” but the crucial innovation of the “silent” third panel, which Garry Trudeau (whose style I appropriate here) and […]

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Despite the joy of seeing beloved family members, I returned from Grosse Pointe, MI this week even more depressed than I’d been at any point since the election, since the casual, obscene racism and unthinking Trump support I encountered (among perfectly well-meaning and pleasant well-to-do Americans who sincerely believe themselves to have the best interests […]

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2016-01-11 :: Jordan // Writing
Bowie Saved Me

A child sits alone at home, a teenager, upset, angry, sad, misunderstood. The bedroom has posters and a barricaded door and may be anywhere in the world; I picture one in Illinois where my grandfather was born, the smallest town I’ve ever seen and the place he escaped from in high school to drive a […]

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2015-12-18 :: Jordan // Movies + Writing
My Star Wars

A true Jedi makes his or her own lightsaber — and a true Star Wars fan makes his or her own Star Wars. I never expected to create my own versions of the original trilogy, but in 2010, that’s exactly what I did. For George Lucas, Star Wars has been, over the decades, a moving […]

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2015-08-17 :: Jordan // Writing
It’s Over and You Missed It

This weekend I got immersed in a strange combination of three books, of wildly varying quality: Renata Adler’s stunning After the Tall Timber (2015), a retrospective of nonfiction writing (from The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Harper’s, and other publications), Ellin Stein’s lively and […]

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Now that it’s complete, the second season of HBO’s True Detective can be properly judged, and, I think, elevated to its rightful status: a noble experiment at worst and, at best, an erudite and deeply-felt reaffirmation of the ninety-year-old Noir tradition that’s threaded through our literature, movies and myth. At the very least, Season 2 […]

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2015-05-22 :: Jordan // Writing
Mad Men Outgrew Its Ads

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has insisted that the show’s ending was planned out years in advance. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m convinced he’s telling the truth—and that he should have come up with something else. It’s not that the Coca-Cola “Hilltop Ad” coda is bad, necessarily—there’s a certain holistic brilliance to it—but the […]

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The Great Gatsby “Chapter 8” Well, we finally got the flashback we wanted — or thought we wanted — as well as a rather pedestrian double homicide that we weren’t even allowed to witness. (Those of you who predicted in last week’s comments that we’d get the rumored Gatsby death tonight can congratulate yourselves; I […]

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Until last Friday, nobody actually owned an Apple Watch except for Tim Cook, who has a custom version with a red crown since the 38 possible variations are inadequate for him; a special one had to be made (Beyoncé and Karl Lagerfeld also have custom solid-gold Apple Watches they were given for free). Nevertheless opinions […]

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America’s dubious relationship with criminal defense, onscreen and off, has hit an interesting cultural speed bump with AMC’s new hit Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan’s innovative prequel to — and, really, moral inversion of — his legendary crime saga Breaking Bad. The new show seems poised to explore the deep, uncomfortable relationship between our society and its […]

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2015-03-07 :: Jordan // Books + Design + Writing
Star Trek Paperback Covers

As I mentioned in my Slate article about Leonard Nimoy, “The stacks of Star Trek paperbacks we all bought…had glorious oil paintings on their covers that depicted the Trek universe with baroque realism that far surpassed the cheap effects of the show.” Probably the best example from the early-to-mid-’Seventies (Star Trek’s “decade in the wilderness,” […]

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2014-06-18 :: Jordan // Cartoons + Writing
Perfection or Calcification?

“Peanuts” ran from October 1950 to January 2000 — nearly 50 years (“The longest continuous story ever told by a single author”). In all that time, there is not a single strip to which anyone but Charles M. Schulz applied pencil or ink — the only cartoonist ever to earn a million dollars a month […]

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I dreamed I was talking to David Bowie through a doorway in an upstate house. We both sat on the floor. He had a Tilda Swinton mask that was only half the face and a young David Bowie mask and he wore one over the other. I told him to please stop the instant he […]

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Jennifer Senior’s New York Magazine interview with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, wherein Scalia talks candidly about the Devil (whom he views from a strict, literal standpoint—”Jesus Christ believed in the Devil,” he points out) is drawing keen interest even when compared to the many other incendiary exchanges with the controversial jurist (both recent and […]

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2013-09-29 :: Jordan // Writing
How Breaking Bad Will End

I dislike the “Mystery” genre (although I love “Crime” fiction) because I don’t like the implicit double-blind game with the author: of course it’s not the butler, not because the clues don’t point that direction but because that’s too obvious; the killer has to be the character whom even the seasoned mystery aficionado would never […]

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2013-05-04 :: Jordan // Books + Writing
There is No Moriarty

In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle was done with Sherlock Holmes, the literary “consulting detective” he had created in 1886, whose appearances in two novels and 23 short stories had made Doyle wealthy and famous (and who is currently considered the most popular fictional character in history). “I think of slaying Holmes in the last [of […]

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2013-05-03 :: Jordan // Politics + Writing
Not With a Bang

There’s a scene in Stephen King’s 1978 apocalyptic epic The Stand (in the 1990 extended edition, with the wonderful Berni Wrightson drawings and the lamentable Cyndi Lauper references) in which we are able to read several of the final top-secret reports by one of the United States government scientists who are desperately trying to contain […]

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2013-03-04 :: Jordan // Politics + Writing
How Long Ago

It’s strange to realize that you’re old enough to have seen the world change. The idea comes out of nowhere when you don’t expect it and aren’t looking for it but the frisson of recognition is always very strong — we grew up hearing our parents and grandparents talk this way and dismissing it as […]

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Reading Michael Tomasky’s new piece on Obama in the February 7 New York Review of Books, I noticed what I assumed to be a particularly good David Levine caricature of John Boehner — and then I suddenly remembered that Levine died (as far as I could remember) some time in the past five years. The […]

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“There is one man — and only one! — who is so old, drunk, ruined, hopeless, self-destructive, sick, failed, and bitter (and yet who yet once had promise and potential to rival anyone whom you wish to compare him to); who is so estranged from all loved ones, family and former friends, who has sunk […]

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In 1965, during the planning stages of Star Trek, creator Gene Roddenberry was concerned about how to portray planetary exploration on his new show — not because of the (projected) limited resources of space travel, but because of the (very real) limited resources of television. Would Roddenberry’s spacefarers actually need to land their “Starship Enterprise” every […]

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So “The Beatles” (a business entity consisting of Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison, George Martin, George Martin’s son Giles Martin* and a raft of attorneys and corporate infrastructure) have released a “new” digital-only album called “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which is a collection of fourteen tracks from the Beatles’ back catalog. All […]

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2012-06-15 :: Jordan // Writing
Receipts

On my desk in front of me is a receipt from Supreme Hardware on West 73rd Street from 10:30 this morning for $8, which I spent on a 1/4″ masonry drillbit that I used to mount bookshelves in my apartment. The new shelves, which I finished today, let me finally put away an enormous stack […]

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I had a dream that I was shopping for laptops, and that the salesperson was demonstrating how each of them had an “OH-HELLYEAH” key that, when pressed, emitted a really loud accordion chord. (It was somewhere near the “K” on the right hand side.) I was just going to permanently drop this subject, but it […]

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There’s more to Bullitt than just that car chase, even if there doesn’t need to be — the famous 110-mile-per-hour Charger vs. Mustang duel (where the shocks blow out and the cars bounce over the hilltops like skateboarders) comes at you like the stargate in 2001 earlier that year. Bullitt is so 1968 it hurts, […]

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2012-05-02 :: Jordan // Writing
My Mad Men predictions

[Obviously, Spoiler Warning up to and including the most recent episode (Season 5 Episode 7, “At The Codfish Ball”)] At the beginning of the season — i.e. before the Madchen Amick dream sequence, before Heinz (ironically, “Some Things Never Change”) and before the bordello sequence — I predicted that 1) Don will be 100% faithful […]

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2012-04-25 :: Jordan // Writing
M. Night Shyamalan movie

This is the M. Night Shayamalan film in which people’s heads are falling off. You see people sitting around on park benches, in offices, driving etc. and their heads fall off. Pause and then a spurt of blood etc; they fall over. More people’s heads fall off. M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN (dressed as priest): “My entire […]

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2012-04-11 :: Jordan // Movies + Politics + Writing
Movie trailers

Not “trailers” as in “Coming Attractions” (or, the three-minute-no-second ads for movies that are a burgeoning art form in themselves) (I made one myself for my favorite movie). I’m talking about actual trailers, or “mobile homes” or “ten-wides” or “single-wides” depending on what sort of construction or zoning nomenclature you’re using. Would you ever want […]

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MOONS WAXED AND WANED, gibbous and crescent, locked in their eternal mechanisms over the centuries as Man expanded his reach, erecting spires and bridges on a narrow isle on the coast of a landmass that would come to be known as America. When Man built his towers of Manhattan, surely he strived toward a state […]

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