Tagged: malcolm gladwell

Judging Athletics

Let us consider the absurdity of judged sports now, before the inevitable scandal sure to arise sometime before the current installment of the Olympic Games have concluded, before nationalist passions and hometown prejudices cloud the discussion, and before headline writers ask “Was She Robbed?” Let cool heads prevail. Diving, gymnastics, and figure skating are athletic...

Waiting as a Social Bond

The great rock band The Sex Pistols had a song back in the 1970s that railed — railing being the primary function of all Sex Pistol songs — against their former record company, EMI. Watching a massive queue the other day outside a neighborhood hotdog stand brought back memories of John Lydon (aka “Johnny Rotten”)...

A Complicated Case of Religious Stupidity

In the past week, angry Muslims have stormed embassies, smashed windows and called for the death of infidels. Business as usual — except that the object of the rioting acolytes of Islam for once isn’t imperialist America, it’s Denmark. The Danes, who usually behave themselves civilly, are now the target of Muslim scorn because one...

The Rolling Stones: I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

The 40th Super Bowl was held this weekend, in case you’ve been in Antarctica and were successfully shielded by the foghorns of mass culture blaring the news at you from every possible media outlet. There was, as usual, a not very compelling football game, expensive advertising, and a gala entertainment spectacle before during and after...

The Prize Industry

Our friend Tierney Sutton’s latest album, “I’m With the Band,” has been nominated for a Grammy award in the category of vocal jazz. Although she probably won’t win, simply being recognized by the recording industry has been (and will continue for some time to be) a boon to her career. It’s effective shorthand: Grammy nomination...

To Kill a Mockingbird, Revisited

The plot of Harper Lee’s book about racism, childhood, and paternal love revolves around the rape trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, defended by a white lawyer, played in the movie version with transcendent nobleness by Gregory Peck. In both the novel and the movie, the evidence strongly suggests that Robinson is innocent and...

The Beauty of Municipal Bonds

Setting aside the fact that the Stock Market’s valuations often have no connection to anything resembling reality; and notwithstanding the fact that interest rates paid on cash deposits barely cover the cost of driving to the bank to make them; and forgetting for a moment that the southern Californian real estate market may or may...

Iconoclasts

On billboards all around Los Angeles, mysterious outsiders, people who refused to conform to society’s rigid standards of propriety, are finally getting the recognition and respect they deserve. We’ve learned that creative mavericks like Renee Zellwegger, Brian Grazer, and Sumner Redstone (CEO of Viacom) are mold-breaking, rubric-smashing, trail-blazing innovators who go it their own way,...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abide a transparently unjust law, and she was...

Do We Really Believe in Education?

Aside from the concept of family, few pursuits are more important to Americans than education. Our politicians return to the theme as insistently as the repeating leitmotif of a pop song: We must invest in our future; we must spend more, do more, care more so that the quality of education improves — and, the...