In the opening pages of Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud spends a great deal of time describing Rome. It’s meant as an elaborate metaphor to convey the variegated layers of consciousness and memory that make up the human psyche
As a teenager and young man living in New York, I wore a lot of black clothing--black surplus peacoats, black skinny jeans, black crewneck sweaters, and lots of black shoes. In the circles I ran in, black is a way of rebelliously blending in, appropriate for all occasions, and always flattering.
If cinema has taught me anything about policing, it is that the key to being a good detective lies in having the proper outerwear. Nowhere is this more true than in the dystopian future imagined in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and sequel Blade Runner 2049, in which detectives skulk through a dark and grimy Los Angeles searching for rogue humanoid replicants to forcibly “retire.”
I have a hard time imagining the elevator pitch for Neo Yokio, an animated series on Netflix about a pink-haired “magistocrat” named Kaz Kaan, who jets around a futuristic city analogous to New York on the back of his robot butler trying to boost his social reputation and win back his old girlfriend, while slaying demons on the side. And what if I told you that all of this outlandishness was really window dressing for a series of mediations on fashion and consumerism?
Hugh Hefner, millionaire libertine, child of sexually repressed Methodists, and father of a generation of men’s magazines, has died at 91. With the golden age of Playboy long gone by the time I would have been old enough to sweatily peruse its pages, my own feelings about Hefner have centered around a mixture of bemused indifference and the kind of awe one feels toward a grizzled old tree that’s been struck by lightning, yet remains standing.
Menswear columnists are full of advice about how to find and adjust clothing to best flatter your body. A padded shoulder for the bony, a more relaxed cut for corpulent fellows, a higher jacket gorge for short guys like myself. Up to a point, all of these tricks work in creating the illusion of a more “ideal” figure, but they’re probably not as effective as just hitting the gym three times a week, and actually changing the shape of your body.
I was recently called up by the State of New York to serve on a jury. Until then, I’d successfully postponed every previous summons, so I didn’t know what to expect. As a kind of low effort piece of research, I decided to consult a favorite courtroom drama: Twelve Angry Men.