David Rieff

David Rieff an editor at the publishing house of Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York, is writing a book about Miami.

As read by Ronald Reagan

David Rieff, 3 September 1987

Twenty years ago, there was a fairly well-known English monk at the Hinayana Buddhist Centre in London who liked to cap the account he gave visitors of why he had rejected the West by pointing one slim, denunciatory finger at that most improbable of culprits, the Ealing comedies. ‘How can one possibly defend,’ he would ask rhetorically, ‘a civilisation that considers a film like Kind Hearts and Coronets funny? Think about it for a moment: it’s a comedy about eight separate acts of premeditated murder.’ The monk was in no sense either a stupid man or a naive one; he simply could not track the joke. At the time, while I believed I understood something of what he felt, I couldn’t imagine myself reacting so humourlessly to an entertainment. Time bears its little surprises. After reading the hugely successful war novel Red Storm Rising, I think I begin to see what the monk was going on about. This is a book that makes you want to weep.

Diary: Cuban Miami

David Rieff, 5 February 1987

In most parts of the United States, even those voters who could be numbered among Ronald Reagan’s most enthusiastic supporters removed the ‘Reagan-Bush ’84’ bumper-stickers from their cars fairly soon after the 1984 Election was safely in the bag. No one thought the things were supposed to adorn the family automobile in perpetuity in the way that Saint Christopher medals adorned the dashboards of Catholic drivers all over America in the simpler days before Vatican II. Things are different in Miami, though. There, almost three years after the Reagan victory, a significant number of cars in the Cuban-American sections of Dade County (and to refer to ‘Cuban’ Miami is, in 1987, all but redundant – the city proper is well over 70 per cent Cuban, while the rest of the county teeters around the 50 per cent mark) seem to sport at least one of these iconic references.’

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Susan Sontag intended something like the book which is now published as At the Same Time to be her final collection of essays. After that, says her son, David Rieff, in his foreword, she intended...

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Miami Twice

Edward Said, 10 December 1987

Despite the media’s unending stream of patriotic talk about ‘America’, one occasionally has a sense of the country’s disunity, its unmanageable extremes, the foreignness...

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