January 29, 2016

As if primary season weren’t providing enough drama, that Washington institution Politico, in what has been described as “a mega-cataclysm,” is to lose Jim VandeHei, its cofounder and CEO, Mike Allen, its chief White House correspondent and the man behind its widely read morning Playbook, and three other senior staff members. VandeHei and Allen plan to start their own new venture.

Meanwhile, last night’s Trumpless Republican debate saw quite a few attacks on Hillary Clinton, currently locked in an unexpectedly tight race for Iowa with Bernie Sanders, whose campaign has been upending the conventional wisdom among Democrats.

cahiersFrench New Wave director and critic Jacques Rivette, who made landmark films such as Paris nous appartient and the Jamesian fantasy Céline and Julie Go Boating, and edited Cahiers du Cinéma in the mid-1960s, has died at the age of 87.

The New Yorker’s Page Turner has a piece about South Korea’s Nobel Prize in Literature deficit and the country’s efforts to do something about it. The piece quotes an English professor there who runs a website about Korean literature and explains that if the great hope Ko Un, the octogenarian poet and Buddhist monk once imprisoned for pro-democracy activism, doesn’t land the prize, it may never happen, because of the Swedish Academy’s particular tastes: “They far prefer males. They prefer older people because they don’t want you to change your political beliefs. They prefer political heroes, people who stood up for something and who risked life and limb. And, of course, Ko Un qualifies for all of that. You drop under him and there’s at least a twenty-year hiatus where, if there is that author, I’m not aware.”

A former student of Saul Bellow’s, who recalls “the pleasant disorientation of watching Augie March teach Nathan Zuckerman,” has published the last interview with him, complete with video footage.

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