Lynn Darling’s May cover story, “For Better and Worse,” prompted an extraordinary response from readers. A sampling follows. LYNN DARLING ILLUMINATES AN Experience most of us undergo with dim understanding. My friends and I were swept up by the force of Darling’s insight and finely honed writing, and we breathed sighs of recognition as she led us through nearly every nuance of marriage.
OVER THE YEARS, Norman Mailer has spent a lot of time thinking about the dynamics of political power, and at least once, in 1969, he tried to go out and get some himself. That was when Mailer and fellow writer Jimmy Breslin ran a pugnacious (if not quixotic) campaign in the New York Democratic mayoral primary.
THOSE "NEUTER NEWT" bumper stickers may be unnecessary. According to Candace Gingrich, sister of the Speaker of the House, when Newt Gingrich married his second wife, Marianne, the couple decided early on that they wouldn’t have children, so Gingrich had a vasectomy.
DOES Bill AND Hillary Clinton's distrust of the Secret Service pose a threat to their security? The First Family has long complained about the intrusiveness of the Secret Service and has blamed the agents—whom some consider Republican loyalists—for such leaks as Hillary’s alleged lamp-throwing incident.
DON'T BE SURPRISED IF you see Representative Sonny Bono involved in a deep philosophical discussion with Tom Cruise or John Travolta sometime soon. The Republican congressman has come under scrutiny in some circles because of his ties to the Church of Scientology.
IN 1982, Jerry Green BECAME one of the first dozen or so known AIDS fatalities; doctors didn’t even have a name for the condition then, although some were naïvely calling it GRID—gay-related immune deficiency. Fourteen years later, researchers may have made a remarkable discovery: Green’s then-lover is the first man they’ve encountered who appears to be immune to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
NO WONDER FEMINISM has seen better days. On the cover of its May/June issue, Ms. magazine misspelled the word: FEMINISIM. Founding editor Gloria Steinem—who is now a consulting editor—took the typo with good humor. “Everybody was laughing about it,” she says.
AS THE OLD SAYING goes, the opera ain't over till the fat lady gets the checkered flag. At least that's the way it may go if diva Kathleen Battle is any indication. Opera buffs were surprised to hear that the temperamental soprano had been taking lessons at the Skip Barber Racing School in Lakeville, Connecticut.
HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE a perfectly shaped bottom scorned. In 1994, Liar's Poker author Michael Lewis penned a “tribute” to his wife, onetime Blooming-dale's lingerie model Kate Bohner, who is now a reporter at Forbes magazine and a contributor to CNNfn’s Biz Buzz.
Bob Dole WOULD LIKE to see more statesmanlike images of himself appearing in national publications, and he isn’t above doing a little hands-on PR work to make that happen. The GOP presidential nominee got on the phone recently with Time magazine’s picture editor, Michele Stephenson, and told her to use more pictures by P. F. Bentley, a photographer who has been shadowing Dole and his campaign.
WHEN IT COMES TO Stephen King, ABC HAS GOOD reason to be scared. With a six-hour miniseries based on The Shining premiering next year, the network does not want the novelist hacking it to pieces. After the 1980 film version, King said that director Stanley Kubrick “had no idea” what the book was about and that Jack Nicholson was miscast.
<p>“The first ten years are about being young, aggressive, and driving by the seat of your pants,” says Robby Gordon of the life of a race-car driver. “The next ten are about mellowing out a little, having more experience, understanding what’s going on with the car.”</p>
BIG EARFUL: A frantic war of miniaturization has raged ever since the earliest gourd-size cellular phones arrived on the scene. The latest bit of electronic one-upmanship comes from Motorola, whose pricey new StarTAC phone has swiftly become a status symbol at the nation’s muscle beaches and power-lunch spots.
BILLING YOUR new restaurant as “the biggest in Europe” is something only Sir Terence Conran could make sound like an admirable boast. Having earned zillions selling furniture and kitchen gewgaws, His Lordship revolutionized the style and taste of London dining, first with the stylish Biben-dum in Brompton Cross, then with the three-hundred-seat Quaglino’s in St. James, and now with Mezzo (100 Wardour Street; 171-314-4000), a $7.5 million, seven-hundred-seat complex set on two titanic levels, with one hundred chefs working behind glass.
What some of our favorite cultural figures are up to. Rick Moody: Writing a novel, Purple America, about euthanasia and nuclear physics; editing anthology of contemporary essays on the New Testament. “There are some inspiring things in there,” he says, “but the radical Right has seized control of the Bible as text.
<p>HOOTIE IS MAGIC, pure and simple. How else to account for the fact that the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View is one of the biggest sellers ever, yet you can’t find a single person who admits to liking the group? Indeed, a poll conducted by this reporter indicates that with the release of the new Fairweather Johnson, the Hootie hate index (as the band itself acknowledges) is alive and rising.</p>
LIKE MOST EUROPEAN novelists most of the time, Milan Kundera is feeling a little dour, a bit out of sorts. No matter how effervescent and “French” (read: terminally abstracted) the style of his latest novel, Slowness (HarperCollins), a considerable unhappiness with the modern world bleeds through the comedy.
Pop icons such as Elvis, Desi Arnaz, and Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham have inspired works for the concert hall and the operatic stage. Now composer Aaron Jay Kernis (born in 1960) is making irreverent use of popular elements in several of his works: String quartets suddenly burst into cries of “Dance party!” or pianists shouting, “Oh, baby!” try to cool their great balls of fire in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis.
THE SIZZLE IS SUPposed to be gone by August, the summer blockbusters already determined, the public apathetic after a tidal wave of event movies, the studios planning for Christmas. In fact, the end of summer has become a time for interesting films, sort of a nationwide film festival for moviegoers who prefer to discover films rather than have them rammed down their throats.
Ten, twenty years from now, when we look back to the jazz renaissance of the 1990s, the soundtrack to Kansas City may well stand out as its beacon. Robert Altman has thrown together a disparate group of (mostly) young lions, decked them out in some sharp getups, and—as with his actors—given them space to improvise.
Shields are out, wraps are in. Following the curvature of the face, wraps give you a tighter fit and extra peripheral protection, and you won’t look like something out of an Ed Wood movie. While “sports specific” is the buzzword in shades, one good crossover pair is better than a shelfful of specs.
<p>WHAT DOES THE CEO have that you don't? Who will win the presidential election? Are women really attracted to dangerous men? Scientists at the Laboratory of Clinical Studies in Poolesville, Maryland, are developing some insights into such questions.</p>
WELL BEFORE the Redux weight-loss pill arrived in June, a diet revolution was already under way. To slim down, a stack of new books argue, you must eat more protein and cut back on complex carbohydrates. This formula was a hit in the 1960s and 1970s, when diet gurus such as Dr. Robert Atkins told waist watchers they could scarf down steak as long as they skipped the potatoes.
As attached to our hair as we may be—and vice versa, we hope—many of us find that even if we have hair management down to a science, something goes haywire when we stick our heads under unfamiliar faucets. Hard water can leave stubborn mineral residues that make one’s mane rise up, as untamable as a stand of virgin forest.
SIX PERCENT OF men who get a vasectomy eventually seek a reversal, called a vasovasostomy. Now comes good news for those who’d like to give fatherhood a second shot: a new method that restores sperm flow in 99 percent of men. The previous success rate was around 86 percent.
REBIRTHING. IT has an ominous ring, suggesting dark rituals and cult indoctrinations. But actually, it's just another new-age healing experience, one in which a practitioner guides you through deep-breathing exercises, allowing you to gulp down hallucinogenic amounts of oxygen.
Is something bugging you? Now you have the option of hunching over your computer keyboard and pecking out what’s preying on your mind, then E-mailing it to a psychoanalyst instead of a psychic hot line. Yes, the august members of the Psychoanalytic Consulting Group in New York are offering analysis on the Internet An inquiry posted to email@example.com sets in motion an online “interchange.”
<p>SHE'S SOOO GOODlooking. When I see her, my entire body gets hard.” The guy was smitten. “I’ve known her for a while, and she’s always been friendly,” he continued, “and now she’s no longer spoken for.” “Great,” I said. “So make your move.” His face darkened.</p>
SoKool’s splashy new foam-insulated nylon carriers sling over your shoulder or strap to your waist or back. They have removable plastic bottles in four sizes, from half a liter to two liters, and keep a chill for up to eight hours ($6 to $13).
He may not be the golden child, but there’s no shame in his game
THE GOOD NEWS IS ALWAYS about Ken Griffey Jr., and the bad news is always about Albert Belle. And all of a sudden, Barry Bonds, who still might be pound for pound the best ballplayer in the world, has become just another guy in between. He has won three MVP awards—and really should have had four in a row—at a time when Griffey and Belle are still looking for their first.
How badly can an empire be mismanaged before it starts to come unglued?
TIME WARNER'S ANNUAL SHARE-holders' meeting last spring wasn't exactly a love-in for Gerald Levin, the company's besieged chairman and CEO. The questions he fielded were nasty (“Are you going to resign?”), and his answers were curt, even rude (“No!”).
Imagine a nation in which the Right and the Left unite to combat the unchecked power of corporate America and the craven accommodations of Bill Clinton’s Boutique Politics. That time could yet come, says the author, who finds Patrick J. Buchanan an authentic populist and a most unlikely soul mate in the pursuit of a radical new society.
<p>PERHAPS IT CAN BE SAID that
close to fifty years of the cold war had to go by before Patrick J. Buchanan and
Norman Mailer could speak to each other through a long afternoon.
From on-line suicide to frozen brains: the final, freaky days.
THAT’S PROBABLY THE WORST PLACE TO leave those,” Timothy Leary barks at a beautiful young assistant. She clears a pile of videocassettes from the path of his oncoming electric wheelchair. He stops short. “What are they, anyway?” The purple-haired girl reads off the labels.
Is there anything more treacherous than loving a woman? Sometimes you love her too much. Sometimes not enough. And often she just doesn’t want to be loved—at least not by you. Of course, when you love an Elle Macpherson (right), it seems like a sure thing. On the other hand, if you’re brave enough to love a Sharon Stone or a Cher, well, you take your chances. Wish us luck.
The fashion industry can be a very competitive business, downright cold and nasty. Liz does what she has to do to put out Harper's Bazaar each month, but instead of getting caught up in the negativity, she gets incredible results by being graciously competitive with class.
There were presidents, prime ministers, and royalty on Mount Herzl that November day, but in our grief only her words really registered. “Please excuse me for not wanting to talk about peace,” she began. “I want to talk about my grandfather.”
I am sitting on a bed in a strange house in carefree Arizona. It is about 10:00 P.M., and I am waiting to be slapped across the face by Téa Leoni. Again. And hard. It seems with each take of the scene we are shooting for Flirting with Disaster, the slaps are coming harder and harder.
Once, the digital world was made up of boy nerds. And if they developed a reputation for being overweight and lacking in certain social graces, it was generally well deserved. Believe me. Way back in the early nineties, I used to go to the best geek parties.
The girl has her father’s eyes. I always thought they also looked a little like Anne Frank’s, back-lit with bright sparks of young hope flashing from the wheels of the dark, smoldering sidecar of destiny. But what do they see? No doubt they look back to August 16, 1977, the day Elvis stepped on a rainbow.
Cassandra Wilson is the sing ring hot mama of the moment, at least from the standpoint of rising popularity and actual talent. Not a proponent of today’s slut chic, Wilson, at her very best, achieves an artistic sensuality. Well, she got it from the getting place.
They’re ubiquitously on—in every chancellery in every capital, in every airport gate and hospital waiting room, in every bar, in every tin shack and adobe hut in every nook and cranny of the globe. Lynne Russell, Bobbie Battista, Joie Chen, Judy Woodruff . . . the women of CNN.
She is a thirty-two-year-old mother of three elementary school boys who sits with pad and pen at one in the morning and writes for two clear hours. She wrote a highly useful book called Women and Mitral Valve Prolapse, which is a heart ailment she has.
It used to be that dumbness in a woman was seen by the average guy as an asset—or at least that was the joke. The idea behind it was if she was dumb, you could trick her into bed faster. But as men got smarter (and isn’t that what feminism is all about—women just demanding that we get smarter?), we wanted brains in our women, too.
<p>There she stood, all aglimmer, as per her custom, in Don Rickles’s backyard on the night of the comedian’s seventieth birthday. Throaty, confident, she began her testimonial like this: “I remember the first time I slept with Don....” Even Sinatra laughed.</p>
Oh, Camilla, Camilla, Camilla Parker-Bowles: Your name has such resonance, such plangency, unleashing as it does double-barrels of Englishness. I think of Parker pens and toilet bowls; and as for the Camilla, it calls to mind those very genteel Englishwomen who bear a close facial resemblance to ruminatory animals.
It's true Princess Di's a little mannish. Actually, she's very mannish, and, who knows, she may even secretly be a guy. Get involved with her and it could easily lead to one of those nineties midlife gay things pioneered by Jann Wenner. But setting all that aside, and the bulimia— set that aside, too—where she finds the strength to get through a single day is beyond me.
Bring her your poor, your tired, your hair extentions . . .
The Statue of Liberty must be immediately replaced with the image of a far more alluringly American hostess: Cher. The Statue of Cher would have its ironwork coiffure radically restyled at least once per decade and its fifty-ton gown regularly rethought by Bob Mackie; occasional tucks and reboltings could occur as warranted.
The first time I saw Angela Bassett perform was in an off-off-Broadway hole-in-the-wall in the early eighties. A friend of mine had dragged me there to see yet another production of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, and to this day I can recall the sensation of sitting in that cold, dark theater, watching Angela work.
When the end finally comes and women rule the planet, you're going to need a friend. A sister who survived the suck-it-up wasteland of manhood and came out on top. You'll want a strong pair of shoulders that you can get behind, an avenging angel who will keep the Tank Girls and Mary Dalys of this earth off your sorry Y-chromosome ass.
Lorrie Moore: Stories That Make You Cry—until You Laugh
I read Lorrie Moore, and I think that here is human character distilled to its two sweetest reasons for being, humor and sadness, her incandescent intelligence zigzagging back and forth between them like a crackling charge on a wire. What is there to fall in love with in anyone but these two things, anyway, funny and sad, the one disarming the other?
How something as small as an unexpected aneurysm on the anterior communicating artery can ruin your day, if you're not careful
<p>IT IS MORNING IN PHOENIX and the nurse walks in and I am awake. “How are you?” “I could use some coffee,” I said. “You can’t have anything,” she said. “Come on, I can have coffee,” I said. “You can’t have anything if you’re having surgery.” She handed me these long surgical stockings.</p>
Why Ron Herman/Fred Segal may be America's coolest store
ON A GIVEN SUN-splashed afternoon, you might find David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc of Friends shopping for khakis and fitted shirts, Mick Jagger and someone from the Smashing Pumpkins browsing among the animal prints, stylists scoping out the stretch satins for the new Alanis Morissette video, or the usual improbably pretty young models sipping cappuccino and watching it all unfold.
This fall, Giorgio Armani continues to push the boundaries of modern men’s fashion, a category he practically created, with a major new store in New York and a powerful new take on his spare, masculine designs. Look for a leaner silhouette, a closer fit, and, of course, unparalleled ease.
A Fine Romance, p. 106: Valentino Boutique coat ($614), turtleneck ($212), and trousers ($184) at British American House, New York. P. 107: Gianni Versace coat ($2,100) at Gianni Versace, Chicago. Cole Haan boots ($195) at Cole Haan select stores.
<p>ON THE DAY THE VIRGIN Megastore opened in Times Square, the TV press, the usual throbbing electronic cauliflower, had backed Richard Branson into a comer over by the classical music. Not for the first time, they were asking about the sexual-harassment suit he faced that day.</p>