Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Pulitzer at 101 Years

Starz network recently ran the 2017 documentary, The Pulitzer at 100.  Its 90 minutes is made up of asynchronous blocks describing Pulitzer’s immigration to America, yellow journalism vs journalism-as-academic-discipline, winners’ reflections on career effects, and dramatic readings, photos, and musical samplings from past winning works.  The documentary assumes a cursory knowledge of the writing prize, but beyond that does give a sufficient survey of the institution (albeit an over self-congratulatory one).

One non-fiction highlight was the reference to Sheri Fink’s article about the deaths at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Juno Diaz’s commentary was another high point.  This week, he happens to have an arresting essay in the New Yorker about being raped as a child and its effects on his life, relationships, and writing.

In sum, while writing prizes are somewhat arbitrary and limiting by nature of the temporal structure (genius is not meted out equally each year, but prizes are), retrospectives such as this one can be both a reminder of classic works worth a revisit, and as a means of discovering something new.

Kmart, Sears, and the Kidnapping That May Have Sealed Their Fate

This rare profile of Eddie Lampert tracks the the troubles of Kmart, Sears, and their 2005  consolidation.

Despite valuable land holdings and iconic brands, the companies have not been able to find a foothold between Walmart and department stores.  Investments in online sales cannot compete with Amazon.  Sears brands such as Kenmore have been divested in what many see as indication of an imminent bankruptcy.

Before the merger, on January 10, 2003, Mr. Lampert was kidnapped and held for ransom.  There was also a conversation about a mob connection with Kmart’s finances.  To this day, the lead criminal says he wishes he had killed him rather than released him.

Lampert says this event was significant and life-changing.  Professionally, it seems to have made him even more driven, daring, and risk-taking.

In summary, the personal and professional dramas here are Shakespearean and ongoing, and MC will be keeping an eye on how things play out–as they may surely reveal truths about human nature both micro and macro.