The Style section is turning 50. You don’t know what the Style section is. That’s fine. Most people don’t. It used to be a thing, and now kind of isn’t, even though we still talk about it here in the newsroom as a journalism ideal, and even though it comes out six-ish days a week in The Washington Post. (You don’t get The Washington Post in print. That’s fine. Most people don’t.)
I have friends — not acquaintances, but friends — who still think I write about fashion for the Post, because I once said I was based in the Style section. That’s fine. I don’t write about fashion (except when I do). I don’t really know what I write about, but then I’ve already written about how I don’t know what I write about.
I’m not going to tell you what the Style section is, because Hank Stuever did so when it turned 40, and now again as it turns 50 (⬅️ you should really read this). The Style section used to be about “competing for a tiny crown the rest of the world wasn't even aware of: Best Feature Writer in Town,” as the late Tom Wolfe (a former Post reporter) once described the wars between writers (and writers’ egos). I have worked for Style for exactly one-fifth of its existence; it was not its finest fifth, by certain measures. It was the fifth in which the ranks of Style writers and editors dwindled from 50+ to fewer than 20. It was the fifth in which Style had to accept the consequences of ceding the Internet to paperless troublemakers (like Gawker et al) for which it had paved the way. It was the fifth in which Style became Features, which made it fade into the haze of the rest of feature journalism. That’s fine. It was also the fifth that gave a 25-year-old a decade of chances.
For its 50th anniversary, Style resurrected and republished nine stories that exemplify what a “Style story” is. You can read them here. They range from about 800 words to about 10,000. Style used to publish 10,000-word stories! Although I say “used to” like they didn’t let me do a 9,000-worder six years ago. Anything is still possible here, in a section that redefined possibility.
For the occasion — Style’s 50th and my 10th in it — I have created two lists of my own. First are 10 of my own Style stories (well, 11) that surfaced in my brain when I thought about the last decade. These are my attempts at a good Style story.
Mr. Midnight Air • June 21, 2011 • While tightening ball joints, he fantasizes. Wouldn’t it be great if he got paid by GMC to test-drive new models? If he won the lottery, he’d take trucks out to the Grand Canyon. He’d take trucks to Alaska. He’d see America from a lofty perch, at 80 mph, pulling 80,000 pounds up steep hills without slowing, a herd of horsepower at his feet.
All quiet on the Mideast front • Sept. 24, 2011 • Every war has a soundtrack. This one has rolled and blundered along to Green Day and Toby Keith, Britney Spears and Linkin Park, and most recently Adele and Daughtry and “Lighters” featuring Eminem and Bruno Mars.
A life between the covers • Jan. 4, 2012 • This is not a story about how books are good and the Internet is evil, nor is it about how modernity has vanquished antiquity and, therefore, doomed posterity. Although…
K Street: route of all evil? • Feb. 5, 2012 • Parking garages. Bank after bank. Mediocre lunch spots. And above: the suite life — hives of office space, renting for as much as $61 per square foot (only Pennsylvania Avenue is more expensive), crammed with accountants and consultants and regulatory commissions and law firms with names that read like a roll call at a New England boarding school.
Cache is king • Aug. 22, 2012 • The last several millennia, in two sentences: Man learns to make things. Things start to accumulate.
All is insanity at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party • Feb. 25, 2013 • Quentin Tarantino’s lapels have run amok. There are several children walking around with Oscars. Chris Pine is next to you at the urinal. All the 20-something minglers look like they’re on “Girls.” The Burton-Bonham-Carters are sharing a booth with the Douglas-Zeta-Joneses.
The quirk of the court • June 13, 2013 • The woman sounds middle-aged and weary of sweating the small stuff, like her perm has wilted and so what, okay? In a strained voice, she answers questions about her engagement with the world. When asked if she has read newspaper articles about the George Zimmerman case, potential juror B37 says: “Newspapers are used in the parrot’s cage.”
Robert Gates: a man still at war • Jan 12, 2014 • Robert M. Gates is a crier. He is also an expert at restraining himself. The war is fought in the throat, and lost in the eyes.
Legends of the crawl • May 8, 2014 • It was a perfect day to get tanked, trashed, blitzed, blotto, soused, schnockered, to arrive with imperial designs on life and love, to stagger away tired and emotional, libido unrequited, stomach keen on some permutation of dough, cheese and marinara.
The Polaroids of the Cowboy Poet • Jan. 17, 2016 • Chris Earnshaw is an odd and brilliant and sloppy man who vibrates with great joy and grand melancholy. For decades he has ambled through bandstands, major motion pictures and demolition sites, searching for prestige and permanence, all while being ignored on the gray streets of a humdrum capital.
In Weinstein accusations, patterns of abuse span 30 years (with Monica Hesse & others) • Oct. 15, 2017 • In interviews with 67 people currently or formerly in Weinstein's orbit, The Washington Post found three previously unreported allegations of sexual or physical assault — and a striking pattern, going back to the dawn of his career, of ruthlessness and manipulation.
But wait, there’s more! To help with the 50th anniversary splash page, I gave editors a larger list of 60+ stories, each by a different Style writer. I wouldn’t call this a list of the Best Ever, though some stories clearly stand out. I’d just call it a broad representation of what the Style section is, and was, and maybe will continue to be. In chronological order, with excerpts (but not all with links):
How Nixon Lives, What He Likes…
By Marie Smith
Jan. 17, 1969
He likes ketchup on his cottage cheese but his favorite food is meat loaf. … He is never without a tape recorder within reach…
A Welcome to ‘Fat City’
By Nicholas von Hoffman
Nov. 14, 1969
Washington’s second line of defense is indifference. Washington will out-wait you; Washington will vanish until you go away. It won’t answer the phone or the door; everybody will be out of town; you will always be told you’re in the wrong office and to go down the corridor…
A Young Man Who Went to War
By Myra MacPherson
May 21, 1972
Today, he dresses sharply and immaculately, sometimes takes two baths a day, trying to forget his days of filth and imprisonment…
Rating Washington’s Architecture
By Wolf von Eckardt
Jan. 6, 1974
…I would say that the design of the Watergate is as appropriate to its riverfront setting, next to the Kennedy Center, and with the Washington Memorial as a backdrop, as a strip dancer performing at your grandmother’s funeral.
Heading Home: Yes. It’s Bob Dylan on the Road Again
By William Crawford Woods
Jan. 13, 1974
For years we’ve publicly fondled the idea that Dylan owes us something more because he’s given us so much already. That’s the prophet-guilt: Since we forgot to stone him, he has to sing again…
By Sally Quinn
Aug. 4, 1974
Her right arm stiffened. “We bring you another first.” Her voice was steady. She looked up again into the camera. Her eyes were dark, direct and challenging. “An attempted suicide.”
Roots in Dance, Rites of Fall
By Alan M. Kriegsman
Nov. 28, 1974
Actually, cheerleading connects with the most ancient roots of dance art, dance as a sacred invocation of divine powers…
London’s Mood: Looking Back
By Michael Kernan
Dec. 29, 1974
Forced to acknowledge that they no longer dominate the world, Britons seem to be reverting to insularity. More and more, as foreigners crowd in among them, they act like an island people…
Role Reversal a GoGo
By Jeannette Smyth
Feb. 25, 1975
Here are all these suburbanites out in Camp Springs, Md. – men and women who could hardly be called revolutionaries – making a burlesque of the sex roles heavy thinkers are making dialectic of. Who’s liberated? Who’s crazy? Who knows?
By Judy Bachrach
Dec. 19, 1977
When she was a man, she says, she always had to fantasize herself a woman to achieve orgasm. Now she can have vaginal orgasms, since her prostate touches her vaginal wall…
By Jacqueline Trescott
April 3, 1978
She is doing all the things in public your mother forbade you to do in private…
By Paul Richard
Nov. 15, 1979
He ought to be a star himself, but he isn't really. He does arrive in limousines and his entourage does glitter, but Warhol does not glow. He gets close to people because he is so juiceless and so still…
By Elisabeth Bumiller
July 11, 1980
The blond is tan as warm hazelnuts, surrounded by sweet beer, cocoa butter and — over there in the sand — a laughing bikini spread-eagled on some guy who’s laughing much more…
By Nina Hyde
July 30, 1981
As Lady Diana became the princess of Wales, she wore the "fairy-tale wedding dress" she had asked for. With its ruffle-edge bare neckline, pouffy sleeves, frothy veil and absolutely endless train, it was the wedding gown every little girl (and older girls) dreams of wearing when she marries her Prince Charming.
By Tom Zito
April 4, 1982
There is a mythic quality about this man who left an exclusive New Jersey boy's academy to wander about Europe as an artist, started a magazine that surpassed Playboy in profits, amassed an enormous personal fortune, hired and fired and rehired employees with the insouciance of a despot, and assembled a house — filled with the treasures of kings — from which he now rarely ventures forth. It is as if he slew the keepers of the temple gates, proclaimed himself master, and now finds the furies conspiring to topple the walls about him…
By Curt Suplee
Oct. 30, 1983
Drive for hours through the tawny boscage and autumnal braes of New England, so deep into the haut-Yankee heartland of northwestern Connecticut that even the hitchhikers look like George Plimpton…
By Paul Hendrickson
May 8-10, 1984
Suddenly Vietnam is in the room. It is hydra-headed and heinous, the country's grievous error, his own…
By Henry Mitchell
Aug. 3, 1984
There is a strong connection between complaints against summer and general idiocy...
The TV Column
By John Carmody
Aug. 7, 1984
Word reached us just this weekend of an entire family of five out in Alexandria that was trapped in their breakfast nook last Friday from shortly before 7 a.m. until nearly 5 in the afternoon, when they were finally released by a worried neighbor, who had missed the glad cries of the children during the day. All five had deep strap marks to show for the frightening experience! . . .
(Worse, the breakfast nook TV set had been inadvertently tuned that morning to a cable system and for the whole day they'd been forced to watch the House of Representatives on C-SPAN!)
By Lois Romano
Nov. 15, 1984
The key to his psyche, says a friend, is not just a search for money, but an "insatiable" craving for recognition. Ergo, his name in bold letters on the buildings. "No, it's not that," he says…
By David Remnick
Dec. 20, 1984
Here is a more mordant ecosystem: one extra-large 7-Eleven Slurpee cup, a mud-caked fan belt, dead sunflowers, empty cartons of Winston cigarettes, Pathmark raisins and Milk Duds, a shattered bottle of White Rock root beer, a carpet sample the color of fresh concrete, an empty quart bottle of Bud and a discarded multicolored golf umbrella that looks like a slaughtered peacock…
By Benjamin Forgey
Jan. 1, 1985
It looks, in fact, as if it were a glittering piece of the 21st century designed for an isolated hill in the far-out suburbs of Anywhere, U.S.A., and placed, by magnificent celestial error or mere bureaucratic foul-up, at the corner of Connecticut and Van Ness…
By Richard Harrington
June 3, 1985
Those who wrote Madonna off as a sterile studio confection or a pop tart symbolic of MTVideocy couldn't have been more wrong: she is a charismatic star with legitimate talent…
By Judith Martin
Sept. 7, 1986
That does it. Miss Manners has seen one diamond watch too many with a dual-color metal band and one car too many so long that it can't turn corners. She is going to start proposing sumptuary laws…
By Stephanie Mansfield
Nov. 8, 1987
She is nervous, rubbing her bony hands, flattening her Barbie Doll bouffant…
By Cynthia Gorney
May 11, 1988
The most famous astrologer in America, as of approximately 48 hours ago, is a genteel blond lady who attended the toniest of private schools, the kind with middy blouse uniforms and stone lions at the entrance, and then went off to Vassar and never married and lives with her sister in the apartment that belonged to their parents and is guarded down at the lobby by a black-suited doorman who will open the heavy glass doors just enough to stick his nose out and say, firmly, "I can't disturb her."
By Ken Ringle
May 4, 1989
Watching as the man who tried to kill her rose to power on Capitol Hill…
By Kim Masters
By May 3, 1990
Now, Robert has been dead for more than a year. But the Mapplethorpe name may be immortal. It is hissed as a synonym for pornography and perversion. It is invoked in the cry for artistic freedom. And what does Harry Mapplethorpe make of the weighty debate over censorship and free speech?
"I could care less," he says.
By Howard Kurtz
June 7, 1990
It is remarkable to watch a man who blabbed about his love life on national television suddenly retreat behind a wall of tight-lipped publicists. After all, it wasn't that long ago that serious people spoke about Trump running for president…
By Chuck Conconi
July 6, 1990
A number of little boys listened to the nuns and wanted to be like Saint Francis. Some would even quietly pray in chapel for the wonderful gift of a stigmata — the bleeding wounds of Christ. But little boys grow up and become capitalists, wanting cars and homes and expensive college educations for their children. Apprentice sainthood doesn't work very well in the modern world.
Mitch Snyder didn't grow up…
By Rita Kempley
Nov. 16, 1990
In "Rock V," the underdog is officially diagnosed as "brain damaged." Yo. So what else is new?
By Richard Leiby
June 23, 1991
Ten miles out of Austin down Highway 71, in a one-bedroom apartment subsidized by the government, you can visit a rock-and-roll genius, a musician whose talents are ranked with such legends as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin. He's been called the most influential singer, songwriter and guitarist to emerge from Texas since Buddy Holly…
By Marjorie Williams
Sept. 19, 1991
It comes down to this: a small, gray man of almost eerily symmetrical features, his face schooled into an expression of rigorous blandness, looking up at the red-draped dais of his inquisitors. In a resting state his lips seem slightly pursed, as though he balances an ice cube on the tip of his tongue…
By Donna Britt
Oct. 10, 1991
The hearings to unearth what actually happened between [Anita Hill] and [Clarence] Thomas assure that millions more Americans will see what viewers of her Monday press conference already saw: Hill's cultured voice cracking just so; the pained, pretty face that refused to dissolve into messy, female tears. She was perfect.
She better have been.
It's a hell of a thing, being female, black and credible all at once, a feat sort of on par with running a marathon while singing an aria…
By Sharon Waxman
Nov. 28, 1991
The collapse of communism in its birthplace, the Soviet Union, has left French intellectuals with little to say, as if suddenly the horizon of ideas has revealed itself to be a barren landscape. In a country where the thinking elite has for decades drawn its moral strength from the ideals of the left — Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, Trotskyism, anarchism — the end of communism has toppled the framework of debate. Ideology has little meaning anymore. And new "isms" hardly seem to be the answer the world wants to hear to the question: What next?
By Jura Koncius
Feb. 16, 1992
In 10 minutes, he will walk out onto the tarmac as a national hero, stepping upon the soil of a country so new, so fetal, that the first McDonald's has yet to locate there…
By Martha Sherrill
May 6, 1992
Way in the future, when she's old and probably legendary, Hillary Clinton wants to be able to look back and feel that she led "an integrated life," she says, sitting in her West Wing office last week. She wants to have felt unified, whole. She wants her emotional life and physical life, her spiritual life and political life all to fit together, in sync, an orchestra sitting down to play the same song…
By Joel Achenbach
Sept. 6, 1992
When the winds died, the people found themselves in a state of nature, side by side with beasts…
April 25, 1993
By Elizabeth Kastor
Just as AIDS abbreviates the human lifespan, so too has it distorted historical time, allowing a movement to grow at a pace no one could have predicted…
By Lloyd Grove
July 6, 1993
You know you've been gergenized when abject flattery begins to sound like candor; when feelings of anger, defensiveness and dread — only recently so pervasive in Bill Clinton's White House — are replaced by a sensation of inner calm.
When cynicism about human motives is washed clean by a bracing wave of idealism and sincerity. When nothing could seem more natural than a onetime operative for three Republican presidents suddenly sliding into the confidence of the nation's top Democrat.
By then, of course, it's too late. He's got you, and it's useless trying to break free…
By Desson Thompson
May 13, 1994
Spike Lee has a heedless, jazzy instinct. Unconstrained by compulsive discipline, almost arrogantly confident in his instincts, he blunders forward with jagged inspiration…
By Frank Ahrens
Nov. 27, 1994
Washington is down, deflated, flatter than a Fig Newton under a '44 Ford full of fat guys in fedoras.
By Tamara Jones
April 28, 1995
The day-care center's entire north wall, at the front of the building, was glass. Anyone looking in from the street would have seen a long row of cribs with mobiles spinning overhead…
By Mary Ann French and Craig Herndon
May 21, 1995
Dwayne Williams, alias Whitebread, was an urban gunslinger. The law didn’t catch up with him, but his enemies did. He was sentenced to the chair…
By Laura Blumenfeld
Feb. 5, 1995
She had a famous father who always saved her the seat next to his. She had worked on Capitol Hill and in day care centers and in a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients. She was intelligent, funny, generous, charismatic, tender. She was a flop-down doorstep drunk…
By Marc Fisher
Nov. 26, 1995
But children go astray, possessions have a way of vanishing, and deeds are no more permanent than the memories of those who witness them. Even tombstone epitaphs fade with time.
No, man discovered from his earliest moments of conscious thought, if I am to be remembered, it must be by my words…
By Roxanne Roberts
May 19, 1996
Suicide is desperate. It is hostile. It is tragic. But mostly, it is a bloody mess…
By Henry Allen
July 11, 1996
Everybody hates car salesmen.
Fine. Everybody hates everybody nowadays…
By Robin Givhan
May 23, 1997
Horror has many faces. This one has legs. Everywhere in Washington, there are women wearing sheer, ghostly white pantyhose…
By Eric L. Wee
June 28, 1998
Some of these memories we strive to recover. Often they are recollections of simpler and happier times. They let us revisit a moment when everything was new. They let us close our eyes and again smell the warm summer air of our youth…
By Peter Carlson
July 13, 1998
Bill Clinton is a piece of work. Al Gore is not a piece of work. Jack Nicholson is a piece of work. Harrison Ford is not a piece of work.
By Gene Weingarten
July 19, 1998
Mysterious events have been occurring in this home. Communion wafers have been said to ooze blood.. Statues have been said to move on their own when no one is looking, pivoting to face sanctified objects. Chalices have been said to suddenly fill with sweet-scented oil. Sick people who have come here say they have been healed…
By Tom Shales
Dec. 14, 1998
What's the difference between the 24-hour flu and a Kathie Lee Gifford Christmas special? Twenty-three hours…
By Linton Weeks
March 27, 1999
Maybe there were some sweetheart deals, some stupid loans, some indiscreet dalliances. So damn what? people are saying. You can feel the city's chronic fatigue. You can taste the disgust…
By Amy Argetsinger
May 29, 1999
Who is Bryan Winter? Three weeks after his words exploded through the District, his identity is still a mystery…
By Lonnae O’Neal Parker
Aug. 8, 1999
I have a 20-year-old white girl living in my basement. She happens to be my first cousin. I happen to be black…
By Megan Rosenfeld
Oct. 12, 1999
Seems like everywhere you go, someone has stopped eating carbohydrates. Your sister-in-law, who heard about it from a friend, has lost 12 pounds on Dr. Atkins; two of your friend's office mates are doing Protein Power; the guy you talk to at a cocktail party has lost 25 pounds; the woman your husband had lunch with is doing The Zone…
By Kevin Merida
Jan. 19, 2000
The governor of Texas strides into the atrium of his mansion, extends a hand, takes a seat, slouches into the fabric, crosses his legs. His eyes sparkle, and his thin smile never leaves him. His entire mien says: I am comfortable with who I am. Bring it on, son.
By Hank Stuever
Feb. 23, 2000
First the love story, a love-in-Washington story, a love-in-Washington story that is also about space and matter and furniture…
Sept. 10, 2000
By Neely Tucker
By noon, the ants found the girl-child. Left to die on the day she was born, she lay in the high grass under an acacia tree in the highlands of central Zimbabwe…
By Michael Powell
Nov. 19, 2000
CEDAR COUNTY, Iowa — Dogs bark; winds howl; cows stare. Look out Evelyn Clark's door and see dark and fallow fields stretching taut to every horizon, as if a giant rake had scraped them raw.
Clark, 72, isn't going anywhere in the wintry twilight. So her son handles the farm chores while she monitors this Bush-Gore business. She's a Democrat and her forefinger zaps the channel changer whenever George W.'s image appears on the TV screen…
By Ann Gerhart
March 22, 2001
She has stopped Cloroxing the cupboards to relax, Mrs. Bush says, with her ready laugh. But she continues to perfect her retreat…
By Hank Stuever
May 31, 2001
There's something about the plastic patio chair.
No, there's not.
And that's what it is about them…
By David Montgomery
Sept. 12, 2001
Everyone started preparing for something, but didn't quite know what. In McLean, the local Giant was swamped with shoppers stocking up, as if bracing for some kind of disaster. Former defense secretary William Cohen and his wife wheeled a cart of groceries to their car. "We didn't have any food in the house," he said…
By Phil McCombs
Oct. 23, 2002
Jim Robey is a trauma surgeon, and his job — his joy, his "calling" — is to save lives.
But so far, the sniper has beaten him every time…
By Stephen Hunter
Dec. 17, 2002
Other than a distressing lack of quality hair care products, things are fine in Middle Earth. Good is still cute, bad is still monstro-evil, the landscapes still green, the Hobbits barefoot and dressed like Victorian squires, the warriors handsome, the milieu kitschy…
By Libby Copeland
July 6, 2003
Guidos belong to summer, and summer belongs to the guidos…
By Mark Leibovich
Jan. 18, 2004
As a rule, Dick Cheney doesn't like to talk unless he has to. He sits for long stretches of conversation, holding his fingertips together at his lips, peering over his glasses. When he does speak, it is in a brisk cadence and often in partial sentences, as if to conserve every word…
By Bob Thompson
July 5, 2005
It may well have been reported before, but it was certainly news to me that Bob Woodward once got so drunk he couldn't walk…
By Jose Antonio Vargas
July 23, 2005
Once upon a gay time, before the Stonewall riots in New York, before gay marriage, gay adoption and gay real estate, before "Will & Grace," "The L Word" and cable channels called Logo and Here!, before everyone had a gay relative, there was a man who led a picket line in front of the White House. It was 1965, and the man was Franklin E. Kameny…
By Darragh Johnson
Oct. 27, 2005
Danes spent two years at Yale. Where's the conversational brio? Where's the analytical discourse that even half of an Ivy League education would seem to confer? Do we really have 35 minutes left of this?
By David Segal
July 3, 2006
Cory Booker, who was inaugurated on Saturday as this city's new Democratic mayor, likes to tell stories, and nearly every one of them will make you sick. Not nauseated sick, but something that is both deeper and more fleeting — the feeling that you are a cynical, selfish jerk and you ought to be ashamed, and you are ashamed. But only for a few minutes, because that's how selfish and cynical you are…
By William Booth
Oct. 8, 2006
Successful comedic actors in L.A. don't live in apartments with numbers like 8. So you get a bad feeling…
By Ann Hornaday
July 10, 2007
A Woolworth's lunch counter. A bus in Montgomery. The Edmund Pettus Bridge. All evoke the kind of epic, good-vs.-evil showdown that movies are made for -- when they're John Wayne westerns.
So why, with such promising stories, such larger-than-life characters and such historic sweep and importance, hasn't the civil rights era been captured in a feature film?
By Adrian Higgins
Oct. 8, 2007
The pedigree of every super-size pumpkin is known, and can be traced back for generations with as much precision as bloodlines in thoroughbred racehorses…
July 19, 2008
By Joel Garreau
The riding lawn mower has long been a barometer of the American dream, been a symbol of having arrived in the suburban middle class. It says, "I have so much lawn to mow, I need to sit down."
By Wil Haygood
Nov. 7, 2008
His is a story from the back pages of history. A figure in the tiniest of print. The man in the kitchen…
Dec. 7, 2008
By J. Freedom du Lac
It's difficult to say which is more remarkable: that Jones finally got himself straightened up, or that he lived long enough to do so. For he's spent a lifetime cheating death…
By DeNeen Brown
May 18, 2009
You have to be rich to be poor. That's what some people who have never lived below the poverty line don't understand…
By Sarah Kaufman
July 11, 2009
A person's way of moving through space tells us something on a base, primitive level. It's animal to animal. It's something so subtle you may not consciously notice it, but when an actor moves honestly and with intention, your eye will follow him anywhere…
By Ellen McCarthy
Feb. 14, 2010
It's time to slip into Delilah's world, a schmaltzy, airbrushed place where love is all that matters, although it's often tragic or just out of reach…
April 12, 2010
By Chris Richards
It might be the most awe-inspiring stage prop in the history of American music and it belonged to funk legends Parliament-Funkadelic…
By Paul Farhi
Oct. 14, 2010
The shot peppered Whittington in the face, neck and torso. The shooter was Dick Cheney, the vice president of the United States…
By Lisa de Moraes
Jan. 5, 2011
The seal clap, the Mad-Hatter's-tea-party-esque-speak, the ants-in-her-pants gyrations from the judges' desk, the too-glitzy-for-prime-time outfits.
Paula Abdul is back…
By Peter Marks
Sept. 6, 2012
To borrow a phrase from the theater, the Democratic convention was having second-act problems. After the oratorical studliness of night one … the second night was shaping up to be about as galvanizing as a zoning board hearing on height variances…
By Philip Kennicott
Dec. 27, 2012
The year 2012 was rich in images of ugliness, not just photographs and video of people suffering and dying, but images that allowed us to enjoy the discomfiture of our enemies, to feel better about ourselves by enjoying the ridiculousness of other people, to confirm easy and unconsidered prejudices about the world and our brothers and sisters upon it…
By Monica Hesse
April 9, 2014
This was a county that didn’t have much, and what it didn’t have was burning down…
By Caitlin Gibson
July 19, 2015
The judge helped a quadriplegic man become a lawyer. Could he help her recover from a catastrophic fall?
By Jessica Contrera
May 25, 2016
She opens Instagram. She opens the NBA app. She shuts the screen off. She turns it back on. She opens Spotify. Opens Fitbit. She has 7,427 steps. Opens Instagram again. Opens Snapchat. She watches a sparkly rainbow flow from her friend’s mouth…
By Karen Heller
May 26, 2016
His offstage attire is country-club gentleman. His voice is a rasp of a whisper. But he can slay without words: His eyebrows are semaphores, his left hand a weapon that can dismiss a subject with a quiver.
By Margaret Sullivan
Sept. 11, 2016
Citizens who don’t know much, and don’t care to find out, will get the government they deserve…
By Anne Midgette
Dec. 2, 2016
Trying to pin her down for an interview seems impossible. She is said to give interviews only rarely, with reluctance. To get her to talk in 2008, Gramophone magazine enlisted the help of the pianist Stephen Kovacevich, one of the three fathers of her three daughters, who has been called the great love of her life, although they broke up for the last time in the 1970s. Even with Kovacevich there, she became physically ill at ease when the tape recorder was switched on. Yet when an interview time is eventually named, and a number dialed, there she is, on the phone from her oldest daughter’s house in Switzerland, speaking in a lilting, girlish voice, sounding warm and natural and utterly unlike a formidable reclusive genius…
By Elahe Izadi
April 5, 2017
In the midst of all these people standing up for Important Things, there are still ladies out here brunching…
By Lavanya Ramanathan
July 31, 2017
For two generations, the seedy allure of blackjack and roulette and women and money made Las Vegas the nation’s swingingest tourist destination. But Americans, ever the descendants of Puritans, were uneasy with the notion of gamblers in their own back yards…
By Maura Judkis
Sept. 13, 2017
Pumpkin spice is not a flavor, it's a lifestyle. Its mantra is the crackle of fallen leaves and bonfires. "Sweater weather" is its holy creed…
By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Sept. 19, 2017
…it’s a story about friendship and trust, about what we can make ourselves believe and how we can sometimes suspend disbelief when dreams are in sight….
By Geoff Edgers
Sept. 27, 2017
Just before airtime, Hammond has a panic attack and can’t remember his lines. He lays out a gauze pad, slices his arm, patches the wound and puts on his finely tailored suit.
By Krissah Thompson
Nov. 14, 2017
In her mind’s eye, Bettye Kearse could see her ancestor walking the worn path that led from the big house to the slave quarters.
By Abby Ohlheiser
June 26, 2018
The fans who approached Conan Gray wanted to give their whole selves to him in a moment. He handled the crying, shaking ones with warmth and patience, the skills required to defuse this particular bomb…
By Emily Yahr
July 1, 2018
Decades ago, when the country format was scorned as niche music of the working class, the prominence of alcohol fed into the cliche of drowning your sorrows at a honky-tonk. Now, it's the reverse…
By Ben Terris
Aug. 15, 2018
The Conways, like the rest of the country, have been jolted by the Trump presidency. They love each other, are exasperated by each other, talk about each other behind each other’s backs. They share a roof and live in different bunkers…
By Bethonie Butler
Aug. 26, 2018
The host narrows her eyes, opens her mouth slightly, placing her bottom lip into a sort-of downward curl and perches her hands in midair - like claws at ease - and asks, in a sultry voice, "How you doin'?"