Tagged: smart

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...

Size Queens

Despite our vigorous protests to the contrary, what Americans value more than “family” is quantity. We are a nation of super-sized dreck.  As our population eclipses 300 million — bigger and better every day — we are less inclined to appreciate (or even acknowledge) anything that is accomplished on a small scale. “Go big or...

How to Be Happy, in Three Easy Steps

1) Surrender all ambitions to make, do, or build anything truly great. Trying to achieve greatness will lead to certain failure for everyone, except maybe Tiger Woods. The odds are so stacked against you — like, I don’t know, 10,000,000 -to- 1? — that you’re going to fail in this lifetime and probably the next...

Election Day

Millions of Americans go to the polls today, participating in the grand charade that passes as our debased version of democracy. Millions of other Americans won’t go. They’re too lazy, or they’ve convinced themselves that their vote doesn’t matter.  This time, perhaps more than in any other election in my lifetime, everyone’s vote matters. For...

Dissenting Toward the Truth

Thomas Jefferson, for all his indelibly human faults, was a man whose ideas about how a republic ought to be organized have shaped the country we once lived in. The main author of the Declaration of Independence was an 18th Century renaissance man, slave owner, and upper-class elite. He also proposed some of the most...

Department of Predictions: In the Year 2107

From Revelations to Leonardo, Jules Verne to Arthur C. Clarke, mankind has dreamed about what the world will be like dozens or hundreds or thousands of years hence. All of us — well, most of us — wonder what will become of our planet, our culture, our government, our morals when we are no longer...

Five Years Later

All of us remember where we were and what we were doing when news reached us that our country was under attack. (I was playing golf, and my playing partner got an emergency message on his beeper.) The hijacking and murders in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York changed our nation forever. In the weeks...

Keeping Young Minds Pure

As anyone who has attended a scolding church sermon knows, our children — meaning the children of other people, irresponsible guardians who aren’t as good at parenting as they ought to be — are drowning in filth. Their minds are infected with lewd thoughts inspired mostly by female mammaries, and the sludge that spews from...

In Anticipation of Labor Day

Thank you to the Dads and Moms, toiling at home or in an office, on a truck or in a field. Thanks also to the Thais and Turks and Filipinos and Sri Lankans, the Malaysians and the Indonesians, the Bangladeshis and the Vietnamese, and of course the Chinese, who make our clothes and shoes and socks....

Sexless Marriage

According to the bus stop advertisements and billboards around town, another disposable situation comedy is about to make its debut on network television. The conceit of this one, called “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” is that his adorable wife henpecks a regular guy (the aggressively unfunny Brad Garrett) to the point of emasculation. The tag...