Tagged: lewis lapham

“Facing the Furies”

America’s Essayist Emeritus, Mr. Lewis Lapham, relinquished his monthly column in Harper’s magazine a couple years ago. Thomas Frank and Walter Kirn have made worthy contributions to the national discourse in his absence, and now Rebecca Solnit takes over the “Easy Chair” space, bringing a solidly progressive viewpoint to bear on the issues of the day. This...

Crazy Man on the Bus

One of the many benefits of eschewing automobiles in favor of public transportation is the general absence of murderous sociopaths suffering from “road rage.” The downside is sporadic encounters with people tuned into frequencies only they can hear, folks we commonly call “crazy.” They’re not nearly as dangerous as an angry commuter texting behind the...

Life as a First-Person Shooter

The world didn’t end. We went on. After the last of the murdered children was laid to rest, buried in the Connecticut dirt, it was time for life to get back to normal. To play our “first-person shooter” video games – “Assassin’s Creed” anyone? – and watch our TV programs – Criminal This and Criminal...

This is Democracy?

This Tuesday (October 23) there’ll be a fourth Presidential Debate held at the Chicago Hilton and moderated by wizened celebrity interlocutor Larry King. Didn’t hear about it? That’s because it’s not being broadcast on any television network – the debate is being streamed on the Internet – and neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama will...

Little Lies, Big Lies, and American Lies

Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.) is a member of the House Science, Space and Technology committee, which guides national science policy. His constituents, who elected and re-elected him, are untroubled apparently that Broun rejects science as a legitimate basis for decision-making. Broun has publicly called evolution – and all that we’ve learned about the process –...

No Worries, Bro

You’ve talked to someone thirty-or-younger recently, so you’re aware that we’re presently living in the blissful state of no worries. No worries, bro. The problem for those of us who read newspapers and have some time to think is that there seems to be plenty to worry about — if you’re into that whole caring...

Great Writing

Relatives sometimes discover a book that brings them so much enjoyment that they want to share the experience with everyone they meet. That’s cool. Unfortunately for me, most of the books they like, despite glowing accolades from literary critics such as Oprah Winfrey’s intern and the editors at Vogue, are painfully difficult to read, since I...

Good Writers

Readers of my books often ask me what I like to read when I’m not writing. And whenever I post a Thought lamenting our aesthetic culture’s descent into exalted mediocrity and irrelevance, the email correspondence usually includes queries like, “Well, if you don’t think Dan Brown is a good writer, who is, smarty pants?”  I...

In Praise of Lewis Lapham

The venerable editor of Harper’s magazine, Lewis Lapham, recently announced his semi-retirement. The most alarming consequence of this decision is that he plans on writing his monthly “Notebook” essay only six times a year. This is like saying you will henceforth be limited to every other breath of air. Lapham’s essays aren’t merely good reading....

A Modest Proposal to Solve Our Oil Problem

This morning the DJ on the local jazz station delivered a comic lament on the trauma of paying $3 for a gallon of gasoline. He recalled that a few months ago the price had fallen to nearly $2 per gallon, but in recent weeks it had eclipsed the psychologically troubling threshold of three, and he...