Tagged: new yorker

Heidi Julavits

We like our humor dark. We like our writers smart. So we’re fans of Heidi Julavits. With her husband Ben Marcus, himself another excellent writer, Julavits edits the literary-minded magazine and Website “The Believer,” where she’s published several sensational manifestos and mordantly funny stories. Among some of her brave stances: a call for the elimination...

Sam Lipsyte

Lovable losers. Pathetic bumblers. Lost souls who haven’t yet given up, even when abdication looks like the best move. These are the inhabitants of Sam Lipsyte’s comic imagination. To say the novelist and short-story author is funny would be obvious and true, but a disservice to his talent. Lipsyte is a brilliant prose stylist who exhibits...

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...

Cages

After reading Adam Gopnik’s masterful examination of the American prison system in a recent issue of the New Yorker, in which he examines our fetishistic compulsion to warehouse millions of errant citizens in prisons, it’s easy to conclude that our conception of “cruel and unusual punishment” needs reconsideration. Gopnik burrows through the rotten veneer of...

Tom Sawyer Syndrome

Marx famously thought that religion was the opiate of the masses. If he were around today he could safely add sports and every other form of entertainment to the societal apothecary. We pay burly fellows like Albert Pujols more than $25 million a year to hit baseballs and petite ones like Tom Cruise about the...

Blame the Poor

COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY of “THE WAR ON POVERTY.” At 25 of the 100 largest U.S. Corporations, at places like Ebay, Boeing, and Verizon, the chief executive earns more than the entire company pays in federal income taxes. These patriotic chaps, who, in their defense, are merely competing in the Financial Olympics according to the...

Recommended Reading

What do writers read when they’re not writing?  Good writing. Great writing. Stuff that earns professional admiration and profound consideration. Thoughtful poetry. Arguments constructed elegantly. Wit. Lately I’ve found myself increasingly turning to the work of three writers, all different, all ingenious in their own way. If you’re a regular reader of this space, you’ll...

Defining Cowardice

The new book I’ve just completed writing attempts to examine several Big Ideas through the prism of a fable. One recurring theme is cowardice.  Our common conception of this repulsive quality is that it is simply a manifestation of outsized fear. (A soldier sees his city being overrun by intruders; instead of upholding his duty...

The Artist as Saint

His nickname among musicians was “Prince of Darkness.” According to many who claim to have known him well, and according to an accrued reputation bordering on myth, Miles Davis was a jerk.  Based on evidence available for review on YouTube, as well as eyewitness accounts shared anecdotally and personally, Keith Jarrett can be insufferably obnoxious....

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...