Unscrambling the White House’s Photo of Osama bin Laden’s Compound

1. Osama bin Laden compound.

2. D.B. Cooper townhouse.

3. James J. “Whitey” Bulger apartment.

4. Thomas Pynchon bungalow.

5. Kebab stand belonging to “real killers” of Nicole Brown Simpson.

6. Amelia Earhart memorial roundabout.

7. Abbottabad municipal cricket stadium (suspected Jimmy Hoffa burial site).

The Chris Brown Incident: A Noir Retelling

Steno in hand, fedora pulled down, we ventured to the site of Good Morning America earlier today to see what Chris Brown hath wrought. We took this photo. We now recount our adventures, in the manner of Raymond Chandler.

“The High Window,” by Juli Weiner.

“The window was pretty damaged,” the gruff man in the too-big suit said. He stood around with his hands in his pockets. I knew, though, that whatever he was looking for, he wasn’t going to find it in there.

Back then, I knew him as Suity, named for that too-big suit. He worked as an engineer in the ABC building where Good Morning America is filmed. The studio, a glass joint on 43rd Street, rose up from the slick and concrete like a fortress of dirt and glass. Earlier that morning, Chris Brown, a troubled kid from Virginia with a gift for pop, tried to toss a chair out the window. He had run, shirtless, from the scene of the crime. He wasn’t running from that window, I thought. He was running from his past.

I buttoned my coat. It was freezing even with a shirt on.


Photograph by Justin Bishop/Vanity Fair.

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Quiz: White House Pool Report or Don DeLillo’s “White Noise”?

Today’s White House pool report, about Obama’s visit to a General Electric plant, is—not to oversell it—a work of heart-wrenching and haunting postmodern genius. See if you can tell the difference between today’s report, by Kathleen Moore of the Daily Gazette, and lines from Don DeLillo’s National Book Award–winning novel, White Noise.

A. “A great echoing din, as of the extinction of a species of beast, filled the vast space.”

B. “They all moved quietly from room to room, watching him distantly, with sneaky and respectful looks.”

C. “Yellow tape marked the paths amid the generators. We passed at least four, and we were only in a small segment of the long, echoing, warehouse-like building.”

D. “He spoke to them for more than a minute, and shook their hands, but that was all that could be heard.”

E. “With the sound down low we couldn’t hear what she was saying. But no one bothered to adjust the volume. It was the picture that mattered, the face in black and white, animated but also flat, distanced, sealed off, timeless.”

F. “He pointed out a steam turbine made of rippled metal. [Redacted] touched it, then squeezed it as the manager explained it (inaudibly, sadly).”

G. “It was a period of looks and glances, teeming interactions, part of the sensory array I ordinarily cherish. Heat, noise, lights, looks, words, gestures, personalities, appliances.”

[For answers, and more stirring prose.]