The Importance of Being Earnest
July 28, 2011

The Pale King By David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown, 548 pp., $27.99) Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will By David Foster Wallace (Columbia University Press, 252 pp., $19.95) Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace By David Lipsky (Broadway Books, 320 pp., $16.99) I. Today we think of the 1920s as a golden age of American fiction. But to Edmund Wilson, looking back in 1944, the most striking thing about this modern generation, which he did more than any critic to foster, was its failure to reach full development.

Albany: The Surprising Clean Economy Capital
July 19, 2011

What major metropolitan area hosts the greatest concentration of “clean” or “green” jobs in the country? Is it Boston? San Francisco? Denver? Nope. It’s Albany, N.Y. This is one of the many sometimes surprising but rich and fun findings that emerges from the Metro Program’s new report, “Sizing the Clean Economy,” which endeavors to count the number of jobs in the clean economy establishment by establishment and metro area by metro area. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

Artist John Storrs's Gentle, Dreamy Take on Machine-Age Modernity
July 06, 2011

Is quality a question of character? The thought has occurred to me in the past few days, precipitated by the work of the sculptor John Storrs, the subject of a small retrospective closing at the Grey Art Gallery in New York at the end of the week. Storrs—who although he died in 1956 is best known for work evoking machine-age forms mostly done by the end of the 1920s—is an artist whose achievement is so much more than the sum of its formal powers that I find myself somewhat mystified.

PSAs on Daytime Television, Ads in Magazines, and More: Meet the FBI’s P.R. Shop
July 02, 2011

When I was in high school, a certain former president moved to town, along with his ambitious wife, eager to establish herself as a bona fide—if recent—New York transplant. Select excursions into the quiet downtown, a few lunches at the local diner, and a visit or two to the public schools followed their arrival. Increased security became commonplace, but I was still surprised one day to see burly men in jackets emblazoned with “FBI” prowling the school grounds.

Whitey Bulger: Why Bostonians Are So Obsessed With Him
June 29, 2011

I doubt the rest of the country is as preoccupied with all things Bulger as we are here in Boston. After several days, still the chit chat—everywhere—is about getting Whitey. (Do you think the FBI wanted him not to be found?

Franklin: When Will Gay Marriage’s Time Come in Literature?
June 28, 2011

It is a truth now occasionally, if not yet universally, acknowledged: that a single man, whether or not he possesses a good fortune, could be in want of not a wife, but a husband. The passage last weekend of New York’s historic same-sex marriage bill, which made the state the largest to join the gathering movement, was thrilling to all supporters of equal rights.

Government Jobs and the Economic Recovery in Metropolitan America (Updated June 24, 2011)
June 27, 2011

The current edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor shows that government job growth is associated with the economic performance of America’s metropolitan areas since the beginning of the recession. Among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the 20 that have done the best since the recession started (taking into account recovery of jobs, output, unemployment rates, and house prices) are Augusta, Austin, Boston,   Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, El Paso, Honolulu, Jackson, Knoxville, Little Rock, Madison, McAllen, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Antonio, and Washington. Of th

"The Departed," Whitey Bulger, and America's Most Wanted
June 23, 2011

There was more good news about the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list today: Just seven weeks after being able to mark "DECEASED" over Osama bin Laden's photo, the bureau can now mark "CAPTURED" over the picture of James "Whitey" Bulger, the South Boston mob boss wanted for 19 murders, not to mention racketeering, narcotics distribution, and extortion.

Government Jobs and the Economic Recovery in Metropolitan America
June 22, 2011

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Metropolitan Boston ... #winning
June 17, 2011

with Carey Anne Nadeau With the Bruins’ defeat of riot-prone Canucks (who’d have thought?) Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston area has now laid claim to a championship in each major American sports league (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB) within the last seven years. The New England Patriots won their last Super Bowl in 2005; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2007; and the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008.  Our analysis confirms that, indeed, Boston is the first metro area to achieve the distinction of having held all four major sports titles within such a sho