My Conversation with Alex Ross

Here is the video, audio, and transcript.  Of course Alex has a new book out Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, which explores the complicated legacy of Wagner and music more generally.  We learn Alex’s nomination for the greatest pop album ever made, but many of my questions focused on progress in […]

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Against digitalized subscription services for the movies

Quality public taste is a public good, and right now we are taxing it: Another response to my whining might be to tell me that I live in a world of cinematic plenty, especially considering my various subscriptions and DVD collection. That is also entirely fair, but do keep in mind the original worry: that […]

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Toots Hibbert, RIP

Possibly a Covid death (NYT), he was leader of Toots and the Maytals, and along with Desmond Dekker a favorite figure from the earlier period of reggae music.  “Sweet and Dandy” and “Pressure Drop” and “Monkey Man” I still listen to frequently, among others.  I was lucky to see him in concert twice, once as […]

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My Conversation with Matt Yglesias

Substantive, interesting, and fun throughout, here is the audio, video, and transcript.  For more do buy Matt’s new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger.  Here is the CWT summary: They discussed why it’s easier to grow Tokyo than New York City, the governance issues of increasing urban populations, what Tyler got right […]

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*Collected Writings of Morton Feldman*

Feldman probably was the most important American composer of his generation, he interacted with the leading NYC painters of his time, and it turns out he is a splendid writer as well.  His observations are to the point, often with a Nassim Taleb kind of sting.  Here is one bit: Recently in the Sunday papers […]

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Claims about Richard Wagner

The truth is that Wagner’s popularity was already in relative decline during the Weimar Republic and simply fell further, more quickly, under the Nazis.  During the last years of the Kaiser’s Germany (and despite the cost and privation of the First World War), the Master’s works were still hugely popular, accounting for over eighteen per […]

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How to aid the arts during a pandemic

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column.  In addition to “the usual,” we might also consider arts vouchers: The second element of the arts rescue plan would take a different tack. Rather than giving money to arts institutions, the federal government could set aside some amount for a concept known as arts vouchers, […]

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My excellent Conversation with Ashley Mears

Tired of lockdown, pandemic, and rioting?  Here is a podcast on some of their polar opposites, conducted by “a bridge and tunnel guy” with an accomplished sociologist.  Here is the audio and transcript, here is the summary: Ashley Mears is a former fashion model turned academic sociologist, and her book Very Important People: Status and Beauty in […]

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