Culture

Sunday Studying: A Cultural Evaluation of the Aughts

Within the fall of 1999, The New Yorker revealed a quick piece a couple of twenty-three-year-old author who had simply launched her first novel, in England. Zadie Smith’s “White Tooth” was attributable to be revealed within the U.S. within the spring of 2000—kicking off the millennium with a bang. “ ‘White Tooth,’ a delicate satire of migration and cultural identification, issues, amongst different issues, Nazi eugenics packages, the eschatology of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the DNA of mice, and a militant group known as Keepers of the Everlasting and Victorious Islamic Nation, or KEVIN,” the piece, by Kevin Jackson, observes. “Smith writes like an outdated hand, and, typically, like a dream.” It may be immensely pleasurable, years later, to revisit the preliminary discovery of latest abilities and artworks, the folks and tasks that gave a decade its personal taste and Zeitgeist.

Extra from the Archive

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This week, we’re bringing you a choice of items—a tradition overview, of kinds—that seize the inventive pulse of the early two-thousands. In “Don’t Look Again” and “New Frontiers,” Anthony Lane explores the mind-bending machinations of Michel Gondry’s “Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Thoughts” and the spare poignancy of Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain.” (“ ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ which started as an Annie Proulx story in these pages, comes absolutely alive as the possibility for happiness dies. Its magnificence wells from its sorrow.”) In “Flesh on Flesh,” John Updike critiques “Atonement,” Ian McEwan’s majestic novel of unfulfilled love. (“The frail, moist flesh, mutilated in battle, corseted and shamed in peacetime, and topic, within the lengthy view, to swift decay, provides this intricately composed narrative its mournful, surging life.”) In “Dwelling Pains,” Sasha Frere-Jones considers Mary J. Blige’s completed profession as she releases her eighth studio album. In “Below the Spell” and “Counterlives,” Joan Acocella delves into the phenomenon of the Harry Potter sequence and analyzes the far-reaching themes of Philip Roth’s “The Plot Towards America.” (“In an eerie conversion, ‘The Plot Towards America’ transforms the piety-spouting, finger-shaking elders of the Roth oeuvre into prophets.”) In “Sympathy for the Satan,” Kelefa Sanneh research the shifting musical kinds of the rapper Eminem. Lastly, in “Heartbreak Accommodations,” David Denby examines how Sofia Coppola captures the loneliness and humor of Invoice Murray’s light movie-star character in “Misplaced in Translation.” “Coppola doesn’t punch up her scenes; she’s not curious about pressure resulting in a climax however in moods and states of being,” Denby writes. “Not a lot occurs, however Coppola is so light and witty an observer that the film casts a spell.”

Erin Overbey, archive editor


An illustrative sketch of Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan’s semi-Austenesque novel, “Atonement.”

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A portrait of Zadie Smith wearing a pink bandana and a choker necklace

At twenty-three, the creator has had the nerve to disregard her misgivings and produce her début novel, “White Tooth.”

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A photograph of Philip Roth

Philip Roth’s “The Plot Towards America.”

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An illustration of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal wrapped loosely together in rope

“Brokeback Mountain” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

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A collage-like illustration of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson

“Misplaced in Translation” and “Soiled Fairly Issues.”

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A cartoon-like illustration of Eminem performing on a yellow-lit stage

Eminem pleads his case.

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An illustration of Harry Potter being chased by young fans

Harry Potter defined.

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An illustration of a frightened Jim Carrey with a piece of technology hovering above his head

“Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Thoughts.”

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A black-and-white portrait of Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige’s persistent brilliance.

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