The Revolution Will Not Be Merchandised

Let me get this straight: I can buy camouflage-print onesies and skull-bedecked sneakers for little girls at Target, Che Guevara T-shirts at the mall, and artist Takashi Murakami is “culture jamming” us with his googly-eyed critters on handbags and paintings? The framing of Murakami’s practice as a sort of “embedded” consumer subversion is, at best, naive. Dani Katz’s article [“Resistance Is Futile,” Oct. 26–Nov. 1] smacked of unabashed boosterism. Murakami’s work has a giddy creepiness and an amazing graphic sensibility. But let’s face it: He makes product. He’s good at selling it. The Louis Vuitton boutique in the middle of the Geffen exhibition is notable only in that it makes explicit the core of Murakami’s allure: marketing. Unfortunately, the revolution does not begin at the cash register.

Sandra Low


Reviewing the Reviewers

I’m generally edified by Ella Taylor’s movie criticism, but your fact checkers blew two ground balls in your review of Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead [“The Lower Depths,” Nov. 2–8]. Al Pacino’s character is not a “would-be transsexual” in Dog Day Afternoon (Chris Sarandon, quite artfully, is the character in pre-op angst). Likewise, Marisa Tomei is not “Danny DeVito’s pert squeeze” in My Cousin Vinny — she’s Joe Pesci’s. As a 5-foot-2 Italian male, I’d appreciate a finer distinction between my diminutive brethren in the future.

Kimo J. Reder

Santa Monica

Thanks to Ella Taylor for her intriguing interview with Tilda Swinton [“The Ice Queen Melteth,” Nov. 2–8], whose performance in Michael Clayton I thought the most compelling aspect of the film. From a longtime reader who (finally!) enjoyed a recent issue in its entirety.

Susan Hansell

Los Angeles

I Can’t See Clearly Now

Surely by now you’ve received letters about printing white on light backgrounds, as you did with the Tilda Swinton article.

Practically unreadable. Discouraging. Irritating. Please, don’t do it again. White print on dark — even black — background, that’s enough. I can’t believe I’m the only one who’s complained.

Mike Varady

Los Angeles

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