Liberal memories

Adam Gopnik considers the making of memorials (paywalled article):

Those who lack faith in fixed order and stable places have a harder time building monuments that must, in their nature, be monolithically stable and certain. Happiness writes write, and pluralism builds poorly. An obelisk can never be an irony. A pyramid can never symbolize a parenthetical aside. An eighty-foot-tall monument to fair procedure would not be a fair sight.


Margalit Fox’s obit for Imero Fiorentino, the lighting designer who made Richard Nixon look less bad in the televised Nixon-Kennedy debates, has this delicious second lede paragraph:

The maestro behind those feats was Imero Fiorentino, a lighting director who for more than half a century orchestrated the play of luminescence and shadow on television shows, in commercials and at live performances, illuminating — or not — everything from jowls to Jell-O to ginger ale.

Al dente

Marcella Hazan, author of one of the two cookbooks that I actually cook from, has passed. She did prickly so well.

When Mrs. Hazan arrived in New York in 1955, Italian food was still exotic, served in restaurants with straw-covered Chianti bottles and red-checked tablecloths….

The culture shock nearly crushed her. She was appalled by canned peas, hamburgers and coffee she once described as tasting no better than the water she used to wash out her own coffeepot at home.