I'm an adviser to John McCain's campaign. 1 Siri calls me “Funk Deity.” 2 Aside from lessons in pole dancing—another fad workout sweeping Southern California—this may be the least macho exercise of all time. 3
I am not a cat person. 4 My mother was one for many years. 5 I am a professor of Shakespeare, among other subjects, at UCLA, and this has never happened to me. 6
I am a sucker for the man-befriends-nonhuman-creature genre of sitcoms. 7 I have no complaints about how much I make. 8
When the New America Foundation moves its offices in D.C., next week, Foreign Policy will become our tenants, but [...]
Twitter greeted last week's "Law & Order: SVU" with mostly unbridled glee. "#SVU with the victim from New Canaan… REPRESENT!!" cheered @TotesMagotesMG3. "Law+order Svu episode about new Canaan kids yoloing and havin to go to rikers for pullin down their friends shirt made my night," confessed @BernbabyBern268. "Damn these rich little high school students from New Canaan CT are going to Rykers," observed @EyezWydeShut. Alas, sighed @bginns: "Not a good night for New Canaan."
Last week, David Grann and I met in his office at The New Yorker, in midtown Manhattan. It is a glorious fire hazard because he doesn't throw anything away. Grann has been a staff writer at the magazine since 2003 and published two books, the enthralling The Lost City of Z, and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, a collection of his reportage. Stacks of papers related to finished stories ("That's Z, that's Cuba, that's Willingham…") line the walls, while the floor is devoted to a book-in-progress, as yet untitled, on the Osage Indian murders and the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
For fans, a new [...]
For the systems integrators.5
For a number of Federal court judges, As I am sure there will be for Members of Congress.6 For non-disabled drivers who sport a handicapped placard on the dash And park free all day at a downtown metered spot.7
• From Shulamith Firestone’s obituary: "The family Americanized its surname to Firestone when Shulamith was a child; Ms. Firestone pronounced her first name shoo-LAH-mith but was familiarly known as Shuley or Shulie."
• From Paul Roche’s obituary: "The author of several well-received volumes of poetry, Mr. Roche (pronounced 'rawsh') taught over the years at colleges and universities throughout the United States, among them Smith College; the University of Notre Dame; Centenary College in New Jersey; and Emory & Henry College in Virginia, where, his family said in a statement, 'He used to wander stark naked through the woods carpeted with violets.'"
• From Giorgio Tozzi’s obituary: "At his [...]
It sounds preposterous, and it is. But the story of Esquire's grand plan to shoot a bevy of distinguished men and women in the altogether is, so far as I know, true. Here's the first paragraph of the unbylined, unheadlined story from the February 1970 edition of The Los Angeles Advocate:
Amazing! But how is it possible there is no record of these scandalous plans, save for a microfilm'd squib in a West Coast gay rag? (Go ahead and look. You will find nothing.) Before consigning this to the realm of the urban legend—albeit a legend that no one seems to know—I ran it by Gerald Clarke, Capote's [...]
In my case, this year's Internet experience didn't suck, exactly, but it was—at least in the precincts I frequent—drearily focused on the predictive. Ninety percent of what I read, excluding pornography, maybe, was either authored by, a celebration of, or a brief against Nate Silver. And that's nice! On balance, that a smart, gay adopted son of Brooklyn is a big deal is a good thing. But oh, how I wish we purveyors and consumers of the written word would spend a bit less time quantifying the probability of future events and a bit more [...]
• Sei Shōnagon, b. 966: "Her writings were eventually collected and published in The Pillow Book (public library) in 1002. An archive of pictures and illustrations, records of interesting events in court, and daily personal thoughts, many in list-form, this was arguably the world’s first 'blog' by conceptual format and Shōnagon the world's first blogger."
• Michel de Montaigne, b. 1533: "It's been said—by Bakewell, with reservations, and others—that Montaigne was the first blogger. His favorite subject, as he often remarked, was himself ('I would rather be an expert on me than on Cicero'), and he meant to leave nothing out ('I am loath even [...]
It’s easy to look at our media industrial complex and forget that its members were once young and hungry, that they had to hustle, grease sources and report stories within an inch of life. One can imagine these scrappers delirious just to see a byline buried on B4 or, God forbid, a sidebar. They sammy glicked their way through the newsroom. No one exited the womb a star.
Even so, these people seem to exist only in the ever-present. We see Juan Williams as Hannity’s graying foil—who sold out for the change in Roger Ailes' pocket—but not the guy who, in 1987, churned out a gorgeous profile of a [...]
The New Yorker’s fact-checking department is singular. Unlike the few similar departments of other magazines, it’s got a bit of glam. People actually aspire to work there. And why not? How many fact-checking departments can claim to have been chronicled in the magazine’s own pages by John McPhee or depicted—for better or worse—in Bright Lights, Big City? It’s been at the top of the fact heap for years, at least in part for its absurd levels of rigor. As an editor noted not long ago, “Every quote, every detail, every attribution, every everything is checked for accuracy”—including the cartoons.
This obsessiveness, I can tell you from personal experience, extends [...]
Since its founding, The New Republic has been issuing opinions about when and where the United States should go to war. What follows is a survey of some of the positions taken by the magazine's editors and columnists on a number of military interventions, stretching from World War I through this week's Leon Wieseltier piece on Syria. (Note: This history is admittedly incomplete, with gaps where archives weren't available online.)
WORLD WAR I Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann, founding editors, initially maintained an isolationist stance. But things got a bit wobbly after the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania, which occurred six months after the publication of the magazine’s [...]
Opposition research—political Dumpster diving perfected by Lee Atwater and Roger Stone—has been a part of American politics for nearly 200 years. Your familiarity with Willie Horton, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and John Edwards' $400 haircut is a tribute to its irritating persistence as a campaign tool. What follows is oppo research, but we do not aim to inflict damage. In fact, The Awl's effort, a collection of early media mentions of the Republican candidates (sometimes appearing under their given names), may actually endear these Presidential hopefuls to you. Or am I the only one charmed by 11-year-old zoo booster Newton Gingrich?
MITT ROMNEY New York Times —February 28, 1960