What Martin Scorsese's 'The 50 Year Argument' Tells Us About Today

December 8, 2014 10:33 PM

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The 50 Year Argument, a literary documentary on The New York Review of Books directed by Martin Scorsese, available through HBO, is not necessarily the tour de force that only pats the intellectual echelon on its cashmere-and-tweed backs, which some may expect. Amongst the many things glossed about the publication, its business-and-literary-minded beginnings, management and cultural movements it's inspired and helped hold accountable, the literary-documentary captures a reality that people often forget: people who work for "the word," professionally or otherwise, those publicly and privately seized by the sensuousness of ideas in order to "better" the world, are also committed in a quietness that's not often recognized.

Through any medium, it's difficult to demonstrate peoples' interior work because those accomplishments will always be in solitude. As the introduction prefaces, human beings construct narrative as a way to mediate and externalize their interior experiences. The 50 Year Argument gives access to that ...

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