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Against the Giuliani Legacy

In a recent New York Times Magazine article James Traub sums up the “death of liberalism” in New York City by quoting the Manhattan Institute’s Myron Magnet, author of The Dream and the Nightmare, a book that George W. Bush says influenced him second only to the Bible.

Zapping the Fox, or Out-Foxing the Zaps? A Report From Mexico

Porfirio Díaz, one of Mexico’s only indigenous presidents and general of the rebel army that ran Napoleon III’s French colonial forces out of Mexico City on Cinco de Mayo, 1862, had a saying—somewhat cliché by now—“Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States.”

Balthus Remembered

Of all the literature written about Balthus, the most poetic by far are the beautiful essays by Albert Camus and Guy Davenport.

Fatal Ambition: Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans

This does in fact seem like the sort of advice that a vigilant agent or editor, concerned that Ishiguro’s stodgy image was becoming a liability, might issue. But there is a delicious Ishigurian irony to the possibility that the author concluded this all on his own, and decided that the answer lay in proactive plotting-a scenario all the more believable given what a disastrous piece of advice this appears to have been.

The Local Music Scene

The toxicity of indie rock hypedom is so extreme that sometimes I feel like turning my back on the whole furshlugginer mess: the uncomfortable clubs with wretched acoustics, the zines brimming with smug orthodoxies, the “buzz” around gimmicky bands-of-the-moment.

We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet

On a blistering day last summer, I was drawn to N, 6th Street in Williamsburg by explosions of guitar noise and screeching feedback.

A Film Festival Blossoms in Brooklyn

Each spring, New York gets film festival fever. Late March and early April bring the New York Underground Film and Video Festival and the New Directors/New Films series. And by May, the Avignon-New York Film Festival, the Gen Art Film Festival, and our own Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival (WBFF) all will have showcased new films from around the world.

Marx on the Playground

One day, as I was extracting someone else’s toy from my son’s hand, another mother leaned over and said, “If Karl Marx had ever spent time on a playground, he would have know that communism would never have worked.”

Editor's Message

An Open Invitation

“What the hell is The Brooklyn Rail?” asks a notable voice on the other end of the line. By now quite familiar with the question, I could hardly be indignant, and so give my standard line: it’s a Brooklyn-based paper about the arts and politics.

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