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The Brooklyn Rail’s Player of the Year 2009

If 2008 was the year of the Western gunslinger showdowns—Hillary vs. Obama, Obama vs. McCain, McCain vs. Palin—the past twelve months have been most notable for never-ending docudramas.

Report from Jacmel

At 4:53 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12th, I was attending a class at the Jacmel branch of the UNASMOH (Université Américaine des Sciences Modernes d’Haiti) when the Earthquake hit.

A Rookie Quarterback, Columnist, and Two Footballs

I wanted to begin this inaugural sports column with something about Brazilian soccer. Such would be a global approach—a corrective to the myopia of mainstream U.S. sports coverage. “Football?” “Do you mean, ‘soccer?’” So that’s where I wanted to start.

FALLOUT

On the side of Gray Mountain in northeast Arizona, Lorraine Curley lives alone in a two-room concrete home. Her roof is tarpaper and tin, and her bathroom is a wooden outhouse 50 feet from her door.

Dreams

The moment I realized a human being was growing inside of me the future became my greatest enemy. I feared for everything. I feared for my unborn child, I feared for Christian, and I feared for myself.

In Conversation

RUDY WURLITZER with Theodore Hamm

Rudy Wurlitzer’s early 70s novels Flats and Quake have just been reissued by Two Dollar Radio. They came out at the same time that Wurlitzer wrote the screenplays for Monte Hellman’s cult classic Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) and Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973).

Dreams From Obama

Since Barack Obama’s rise to political prominence, great praise has been heaped on his first book, Dreams from My Father.

Inside The Hive Mind

Something fundamental is changing in the hive mind. The thousands of human hives have been subject to globalization. These cultural, language, and faith colonies are interconnected in ways unimaginable a hundred years ago.

Your Words Have Iron in Them

I never paid attention to commercial writing. It said nothing to me about who I was or how to survive in this bullshit factory. But in the last ten years, I’ve noticed a blurring of the lines.

A Rotten Legacy?

In 1958, as Parisian memories of wartime privation gave way to the joys of “mod cons”—modern conveniences—the Situationist International (SI), the terminal knot in a certain thread of 20th century avant-gardism, announced its founding with a poster that depicted the city as if through a bombsight. The slogan read: “New Theater of Operations Within Culture.”

Docs in Sight: Coming to a Theater Near You—but Only for One Night

While the millions of dollars spent by big Hollywood studios to dish up films like 2012 and Avatar guarantees them at least a fighting chance to make profits in the multiplexes, independent films—especially documentaries—often have an impossible time making money in the theatrical venue.

In Mammon We Trust

London buses recently carried an advertisement offering good news for the public: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

At the Crossroads

Halfway through Ali Eteraz’s Children of Dust there are a series of scenes in which the author, while studying at a Methodist college in Atlanta, discovers post-modernism. In spite of his rigid belief in Islam, he finds himself intrigued by the post-modernists’ secular rationalism.

Laying the Groundwork

There is a moment in everyone’s life when suddenly, with brutal, unflinching clarity, you know that you will die. Mortality becomes suddenly tangible, claustrophobic, and—you realize in animalistic panic—nonnegotiable.

Inside the Inbox

There seems to be a common, if unexamined, perception among Internet users that their virtual activity can be divided into two camps. In the first resides e-mail and other types of electronic correspondence—legitimate forms of communication all and enablers of human productivity, progress, and sociability

The Chabon Method

It is tempting, for those of us with an interest in literary couplehood, to compare Michael Chabon’s new collection of personal essays with his wife’s recent, bestselling memoir on motherhood. Both books examine the couple’s four children, their childrearing philosophies and tactics, their writing, and their marriage.

Cut Him Off

David Cross has been a lightning rod for public opinion since 1995 when he first broke out with Bob Odenkirk in the critically acclaimed television show Mr. Show with Bob and David. Since then he has drawn accolades, both for his stand-up comedy and for his role as the deeply closeted Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development.

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