In this week’s New Yorker

June 23, 2010

Three items of special interest:

1) Nicole Kraus’s haunting short story “The Young Painters,” continuing the New Yorker’s series spotlighting young writers, “20 Under 40.”

2) Ariel Levy’s profile of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, delivered with Levy’s usual light touch, detailed reporting, compassion, and unerring bigotry-sensor. To wit:

One afternoon in Jerusalem, while Huckabee was eating a chocolate croissant in the lounge of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, I asked him to explain his rationale for opposing gay rights. “I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes,” he said. “Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same.”

3) Anthony Lane’s laugh-out-loud hilarious account of the Eurovision Song Contest, which you have to be a subscriber to read online. But it’s worth chasing down and reading in full, perhaps aloud, to catch the gems that Lane tosses out on the run.

Whether you’re presenting, performing, attending, or watching at home, alcohol is essential for getting through the Eurovision Song Contest, and the Norwegian pils served at the concession stands, as weak as fizzy rain, was simply not up to the job. How else could one face an opening band, from Moldova, who rhymed “We have no progressive future!” with “I know your lying nature!”, and who had taken pains to insure that their violinist’s illuminated bow matched the bright-blue straps of the lead singer’s garter belt? A deranged Estonian pianist smacked his keyboard with one raised fist, like a butcher flattening an escalope of veal. A pair of ice-white blondes, one with a squeezebox, decided to revive the moribund tradition of oompah-pah — or presumably, since they were Finnish, oom-päa-päa. A Belgian boy came on to croon “Me and My Guitar,” otherwise known as “Him and His Crippling Delusion.”



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