The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, July 06, 2004  

Items in the News, Or Not
July 6, 2004

Ehrenstein on Kael and Sontag
David Ehrenstein, the famous author (Open Secret: Gay Hollywood, 1928-2000) and blogger (David E.’s Fablog), has given me permission to quote from e-mail correspondence we recently shared after I read “The Gay Attacks on Pauline Kael,” (Salon, June 25; subscription or day pass required), an excerpt from Craig Seligman’s new book, Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me, a study of the criticism of Pauline Kael and Susan Sontag:

Though far from a Paulette, I knew Kael. She was a delightful person and a good writer, even if you disagreed with her.

Sontag I knew only from the sound of her enormous feet stomping into the Museum of Modern Art screening room.

Overall I shared Sontag’s tastes in film and culture in general more than I did Kael’s, but Sontag had no sense of humor. James McCourt, in town last month, knew her well in those days and told me Sontag came to him in tears when Esquire called her “the Natalie Wood of the avant-garde.” She had no clue this was an enormous compliment. [...]

Her famous “Notes on Camp” came about as a result of her friendships with Elliot Stein (still with us) and Alfred Chester (since deceased). Sontag got all the references, but none of the jokes.

I suspect David’s memories are filled with material like this. Join me in encouraging him to write it all down.

Could I Get a Price Check in Pharmacy?
It took about half an hour, but it was worth the effort. Following are the price quotes I received from local and chain pharmacies for a prescription based on out-of-pocket payment: Washington Square Pharmacy, $80.00; Eckerd, $76.09; CVS, $74.99; Rite-Aid, $61.99; Walgreen, $49.89; Kmart, $45.00; StatScript, $40.00; and Wal-Mart, $28.68.

Is it any wonder so many people shop at Wal-Mart? Of course, it’s not that easily done here, since getting to Wal-Mart involves a bus trip (two buses in each direction) and an investment in time of something like two hours. For that and other reasons, including an aversion to Wal-Mart generally, I’m going with a more local choice.

Things I Miss
I kind of miss the light-brown M&Ms. Yesterday, however, I learned one can buy M&Ms in 21 different colors through the M&Ms Brand Store. Twenty-one colors, but still no light brown. The closest a customer can get is “gold.”

Random Thought
Aren’t city nicknames among the most irritating of affectations? Bean Town, ChiTown, Philly, D.C., the Big Apple, the Big Easy, L.A., Frisco, the City by the Bay. Is there even a single one of these you can stand?

[Note: Additional items may be posted to “PP&T” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda. Such items, when posted, are designated by an asterisk.]

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