Tagged: adam gopnik

Australia Going to Hell

When Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister last week she quickly earned international headlines (and a congratulatory call from President Obama). Being a woman was the easy part. Gillard overcame an obstacle far more troublesome than her gender: She doesn’t believe in God.  “No, I don’t,” she told an interviewer at Australia’s national...

The Time to Care About Disaster Victims

President Obama sent us an email a few days ago, and this time it wasn’t to ask for monetary support of his healthcare reform boondoggle. He was asking us (and the millions of others on his OFA database) to help Haitians. He wrote: “Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home,...

Walking NYC

On the annual listings of “Greenest Cities in America,” New York, surprisingly, ranks near the top. A stellar public transportation system and the energy efficiency born of density has a lot to do with it. But maybe the most compelling factor is this: folks walk.  New York City isn’t the Italian Piedmont or French Riviera....

Losing Weight: How I Did It

Folks who haven’t seen me for a long time have been looking at me quizically, slightly startled. One lady who previously had encountered my visage only on an old video archived on the Internet said when she met me, “I didn’t recognize you. I thought you were, you know, a big guy.”  At one point,...

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 Immorality of Discouraging Contraception

You may have noticed that people like to have sex, including countless youngsters whose testosterone levels dramatically exceed their intelligence. Everybody’s conception of permissible activity varies somewhat, based on controlling factors that most of us don’t bother to examine. But whether or not you approve of pre-marital sex, or marital sex, or post-marital sex, whether...

Jazz is Dead

If, like me, you listen frequently to jazz radio, often you hear DJs and other concerned constituents urging folks to “keep jazz alive,” as though it were an invalid on life support. Falling sales, vanishing broadcast formats, venue closures — they all suggest that America’s greatest contribution to the planetary arts is indeed on the...

Baddest of the Badd

This space has previously catalogued a pantheon of Badasses, the bad-to-the-bone boys and girls whose badness makes them (and what they do) impossible to ignore and glorious to witness.  The past two weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing two of the world’s very baddest musicians at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar & Grilll Jazz Club, one...

Asking the Right Question About Lotteries

A nearly destitute rancher, living in one of the ten poorest counties in the United States, in South Dakota, just won $232 million in the inter-state Powerball lottery. He will take home a lump sum of nearly $89 million after taxes.  More important to some — namely, those who market state lotteries and those who...