Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review Alumni Tackle Real-life Tragic Heroes

TDR Alumnus Benjamin Wallace-Wells has penned the cover story for the latest issue of the New York Times Magazine, illuminating the tribulations of Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole, the man charged with salvaging the Congressional GOP as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.  The story is a lengthy but worthwhile tragedy, in which the hero seems to have only a nominal chance of victory in November, and whose journey is plagued by episodes as formidable as the following:
Many conservative activists have become so dissatisfied with the party’s heresies, particularly on immigration and government spending, that as Cole’s staff took over, the committee’s fund-raising pleas were being ignored and, on at least one occasion, returned in an envelope stuffed with feces.

James Panero, meanwhile, gives us a piece that is in turns comical and dispiriting, about Larry Salander, a "gallerist" with a penchant for profanity whose efforts to invert the artistic market and give the works of old-masters greater worth than the Warhols resulted in the following:


It was an intriguing idea, but it left him in ruin. On the opening evening of a show he hoped would electrify the market, angry investors closed down his multimillion-dollar gallery. A restraining order prevented Salander from entering the gallery or selling art anywhere in the world. He now faces a criminal investigation and lawsuits from investors who say they were abused, collectors who say they didn’t get what they paid for, and artists who say they never got paid. He could be upwards of $100 million in debt. As our lunch filled the afternoon, Salander spoke for the first time about his plan to rescue the art world from bad taste, and how it ultimately destroyed him.


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