Looking Back

Peshawar Forever!

When, a little more than 45 years ago, we arrived in the city of Peshawar from Afghanistan, it seemed a peaceful and romantic place. True enough, the Khyber Pass had not been safe to travel after dark, but the danger was from brigandage ...

Jean-Claude Duvalier

Looking Back

The Despot Within

The late Jean-Claude Duvalier, better known as Baby Doc, played only a small part in my life. I arrived in Haiti for the first time two years after his downfall, during the presidency of the eminently respectable academic, Leslie ...

Looking Back

Grandma’s Arsenal

I used to think that no one would ever again smell like my grandmother: that is to say, of naphthalene mothballs. She had them even in her handbag in case a moth was lurking there; the odor preceded her like a cold front on a weather ...

Looking Back

Boko Haram and the Indelible West

When I arrived in the city of Maiduguri nearly thirty years ago, everyone was away at the public executions. It was a ghost town until the spectators returned as from a football match in which the home team had won a decisive victory, ...

St. Tropez. France

Looking Back

Creatures of a Day

Yesterday a young woman who was unknown to me except at third hand died. She was the friend of a friend of my wife. Considering that I was personally unacquainted with her, and that there are about 1500 deaths a day in my country alone, ...

Looking Back

A Childhood in Athens

It is common for aging men, worn by the long years of drink and skirt-chasing and strenuous dissolution in the fleshpots of Asia, or any available fleshpots, to remember their youth in roseate hues that never were. But, dammit, we ...

Looking Back

2013: The Most Racist Year Ever

Experts agree that 2013 was the most racist year since the one that started the Civil War. Everywhere you looked someone or something was being racist, even asparagus. Most of these ten commercials were from 2013, and they were all ...

Alice Munro

Looking Back

2013: Reminiscences and Prognostications

"€™Tis the season of reminiscence and prognostication. Let's get the future out of the way first. I"€™ve made the same three predictions every January for the last thirty years: 1. Margaret Atwood will win the Nobel Prize in ...

Ethan Krupp

Looking Back

The 13 Most Annoying People of 2013

As someone who's offended by nothing but annoyed by everyone, I found no shortage of people this past year to stoke the angry embers of my irascible soul. Try as I may to shield my eyes from the countless blinding petty indignities and ...

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Looking Back

My Night With The Rolling Stones

One of the pleasures of The Rolling Stones is that until recently they seem to have gotten by without a care for the bland pieties of the age. There have been no impassioned calls from them to end world hunger or get out of Iraq. ...

Looking Back

South Africa’s Dubious Liberation

The unctuous pseudo-grief in the West after Nelson Mandela's death at the good age of 95 was to me nauseating in the extreme; it was so overdone that, though I am no Freudian, it raised suspicions in my mind of reaction formation, the ...

Rothschild Ball, 1962

Looking Back

When We Had Balls

I recently sat down with a friend of more than fifty years, Reinaldo Herrera, and was filmed while lunching by Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, also an old friend, discussing the past. The Herrera house is a grand one, on the ...

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