Viva Le Franklin!

franklinThrilling to find ourselves square on the 26th of October once more, a crisp autumn day indeed and the 238th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s departure for France. He took two grandsons with him and left behind a nation in the throes of revolution. Once ashore, the former first Postmaster General became the first US Ambassador to France.
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A Propensity to Fight  

boxerTonight I heard an early music concert at St. Mary’s Church in the center of Manhattan. It was all polyphony and exquisite arrangements, the pulpit lit only by candles and whatever light managed to stream through the towering stained glass windows. As a hush fell over the crowd and we waited for the first lofty notes, I swear a small fistfight broke out in front of me. Why? People of New York—why? The hell is going on here?

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Here, Please, Have a Profound Experience of Art

boatmen of barcelonaIn Ben Lerner’s novel Leaving the Atocha Station, the main character Adam Gordon wanders around Madrid, screws different women, drinks, smokes, talks, sometimes coherently, and is otherwise on a sort of “gap year” funded by a Fulbright and fueled by the protagonist’s early success in poetry and ambition for more. As the book opens, Adam is cruising through the Museo Nacional Del Prado, pretty high, somewhat hungover, and in a half-lucid state coaxed by pills and weed only to come across a man before Weyden’s “The Descent from the Cross”. The man is weeping. He is, Adam decided, having “a profound experience of art.”
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