Blog Archives

Leftist columnist Alexander Cockburn dead at 71.

 

Alexander Cockburn, radical columnist for The Nation and editor of the political newsletter CounterPunch, died Friday in Germany at age 71.

He had been receiving treatment for two years for cancer and lived in recent years in Petrolia, Calif. He was known for an acidic pen that spared few on either the left or right for hypocritical or corrupt policies.

His last column in The Nation covered the “culture of rabid criminality” in the international banking system. He predicted that even reform and tough enforcement wouldn’t save it from eventual collapse.

“He was an extraordinarily provocative, polemical, elegant columnist and writer. And he certainly was someone who never wavered in dissenting from what was the conventional line.”

 – Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation.

Cockburn was born in Scotland in 1941 and raised in Ireland, the son of the British novelist and Communist Claud Cockburn. In the 1970s and 80s he wrote for the Village Voice, but was fired for taking a $10,000 grant from the Institute of Arab Studies to write a book about Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. He also had a column for a time in the Wall Street Journal.

While writing for The Nation he became known for his battles in print with fellow columnist Christopher Hitchens. He co-founded CounterPunch on line with St. Clair in 1996.

 

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Moving backward in the 21st Century

Matt Bors in The Village Voice:

,,, and the circle goes ’round…

– and –

 

Mike Thompson in the Detroit Free Press:

… get used to it.

– and –

 

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Meanwhile, we abandon our intelligence…

– and –

 

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

…and without intelligence we’ll believe anything…

– and –

 

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

… even when presented with the truth.

 

The Obies! My favorite awards of the year…

The Village Voice has announced this year’s off-Broadway awards… the Obies … for the past year. And here they are:Best New American Play, which is accompanied by a $1,000 prize.

A complete list of awards is given below:

Lifetime Achievement:

  • Caridad Svich—a playwright, translator, and teacher

Best New American Play (with $1,000 prize):

Performance:

  •  Cherise Boothe, Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons and the Women’s Project)
  • Steven Boyer, Hand to God (Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngblood)

Sweet and Sad Ensemble:

  • Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, J. Smith-Cameron (The Public Theater)
  • Gabriel Ebert and Mary Louise Wilson, 4000 Miles (Lincoln Center Theater)
  • Jim Fletcher, Sustained Excellence
  • Santino Fontana, Sons of the Prophet (The Roundabout Theatre)
  • Linda Lavin, The Lyons (The Vineyard Theatre)
  • Susan Pourfar, Tribes (Barrow Street Theatre)

Playwriting:

  • Kirsten Greenidge, Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons and the Women’s Project)

Direction:

  • Richard Maxwell, Early Plays (The Wooster Group and St. Ann’s Warehouse)
  • Jay Scheib, World of Wires (The Kitchen)

Design:

  • Mark Barton, Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design
  • Mimi Lien, Sustained Excellence of Set Design
  • Matt Tierney and Ben Williams, sound design
  • The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (New York Theatre Workshop)

Special Citations:

  • Mark Bennett, Denis O’Hare, Lisa Peterson, and Stephen Spinella, An Iliad (New York Theatre Workshop), Elevator Repair Service

Sustained Excellence:

  • Erin Courtney and Ken Rus Schmoll, A Map of Virtue (13P)
  • Steven Hoggett, Martin Lowe, and John Tiffany, Once (New York Theatre Workshop)
  • Daniel Kitson, It’s Always Right

The Obies were judged by a committee of seven: Brian Parks, Obie Awards Chairman and Arts & Culture editor of The Village Voice; Michael Feingold, chief theater critic for the Voice, two-time Pulitzer finalist, dramaturg, and Obie Chairman Emeritus; Alexis Soloski, a Voice theater critic as well as contributor to The New York Times, the U.K. Guardian, and BBC Radio, plus theater professor at Columbia University; Annie Baker, Best New American Play Obie winner in 2010 for her plays Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens; Anne Kauffman, accomplished director, instructor, and 2007 Obie winner for her direction of The Thugs; José Rivera, two-time Obie Award winner for his plays Marisol and References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot; and Helen Shaw, a theater critic for Time Out New York and a past Obie judge. Her writing has also appeared in The Village Voice.

George Carlin on The Republicans and our Culture:

Carlin did this routine 23 years ago and it is amazing how it still holds true. Be careful if the kiddies are around… this is X rated. (Thanks to my friend Joe Bratcher who passed this out on Facebook today.)

Jill Johnston dies at 81…

Jill Johnston, former Dance Critic and Columnist (Lesbian Nation) in the heyday of the Village Voice has died of a stroke in Hartford, CT.

In my New York years, her column was one of my weekly regulars. She was one of the true voices of the New York Avant Garde and was also a great writer.

From the NY Times:

Ms. Johnston started out as a dance critic, but in the pages of The Voice, which hired her in 1959, she embraced the avant-garde as a whole, including happenings and multimedia events.

“I had a forum obviously set up for covering or perpetrating all manner of outrage,” she wrote in a biographical statement on her Web site, jilljohnston.com.

The fact that she was 81 was a big surprise to me… time sure flies.