Kyle Smith Articles

Looking Backward

The gay sensibility in theater confronts success.
Jun 15, 2015

It’s a heady moment for gay Americans. With victory after victory at the state level, public opinion on homosexuality having rapidly progressed from suspicion to grudging acceptance to celebration, and the Supreme Court seemingly on the verge of discovering a constitutional mandate that every state recognize gay marriage, all that really remain are a few mop-up actions. Crush a few evangelical bakeries out of existence and maybe force the Catholic church to conduct gay marriages, and there won’t be much left to quibble about.

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Dark Laughter

Depravity at the heart of contemporary England.
Nov 05, 2012



Despite the inapt “literary bad boy” label that continues to trail along behind Martin Amis like a disappointed autograph seeker, he has never been a shock novelist. Rather, he’s a comic-hyperbole man, forever pushing up into the thin air atop Mt. Absurdity. 

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Lively’s Art

Passion, gentility, manners, and morals.
Mar 26, 2012

To open a Penelope Lively novel is to accept an invitation to the exhilaration of nuance. That is the kind way of putting it. To be less kind would be to point out that, despite Dame Penelope’s interest in the sweep of history, her internationalism, her dramatic twists and emotionally devastating revelations, the final effect tends to be closed, even a little musty. Lively’s novels are filigreed, elegant, and small—tea-cozy literature for women of a certain age. It will be a shame when England stops producing such writers, but the mourning will be, like her books, tastefully muted.

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Man Onstage

The importance (?) of being Stephen Fry.
Jan 23, 2012

What makes Stephen Fry so (his words) “slappable .  .  . odious .  .  . punchable”? Part of it is the smug expression, the striped socks. We may also curse the ubiquity. Here he is on dramatic television (Bones), film (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), hosting documentaries, whipping up novels, sprawling across newsprint. He turns up like the Cheshire Cat—and supplied the voice of that elusive feline in last year’s Alice in Wonderland film.

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