Arts and Culture

A new movie from director Spike Lee has a premise that's almost impossible to believe.

It's 1978 and a black police detective in Colorado Springs, Colo., manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. He not only gets a membership card straight from Grand Wizard David Duke, but he's also asked to lead a local chapter because he's everything they are looking for — loyal, smart and a true believer.

He establishes a relationship with David Duke over the phone. And for meetings in person, he recruits a white co-worker to go in his place.

First, Nell Stevens wrote Bleaker House, a memoir about failing to write a novel. Now, in The Victorian and the Romantic, she has written a memoir about struggling to write her doctoral dissertation.

Writing about how writing is hard tends to be solipsistic and dreary, but these procrastination-born books have, instead, a kind of truant charm — like they know they should really be the other, more serious thing, the great work, but we're all here now so we may as well go get a drink.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week we recorded our show in Chicago's Millennium Park, and invited Illinois native Jeff Tweedy to play our quiz. As a kid Tweedy lied about knowing how to play the guitar, but he must have figured it out eventually because he went on to form the bands Uncle Tupelo and Wilco.

Tweedy will play a game called "A Yankee, a hotel, and a foxtrot" — three questions about the namesakes of one of Wilco's most beloved albums.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

Graceful 'Court Dancer' Can't Escape Her Sorrows

Aug 11, 2018

When we first meet Yi Jin, the lithe heroine of Kyung-Sook Shin's atmospheric, tragic novel The Court Dancer, she stands at a ship's helm beside "a tall Frenchman, his pale face covered in a mustache," while she holds "a hat embroidered with roses and a coat to wear later when the wind blew," with a "light blue dress that rustled like lapping waves." That last image is appropriate, since Jin is gazing out on the ocean for the first time.

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