New York City

The PICTURE: Unrealities
June 23, 2010

In recent months, a friend and I have found that nearly all our conversations about the goings-on in the cultural universe, whether the art world or the publishing world, conclude with one of us muttering, “You just can’t make this stuff up.” That is the first thing to be said about “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist,” the new show on Bravo which fits the art-world rat race into the reality-TV format, complete with judges, contestants, challenges, petty bickering, and public mortification. You just can’t make this stuff up. But of course this is reality TV, so nobody has made anything up.

This American Shortfall
June 21, 2010

 This past weekend’s “This American Life” had a powerful report out of Albany on New York state’s budget crisis. It featured a lengthy interview with Lieutenant Gov. Richard Ravitch, a veteran of the state’s, and New York City’s, budget morass of the 1970s. Also featured is a surprisingly sympathetic Gov.

Easy Rider
June 16, 2010

I bought a folding bicycle earlier this year in the hope that it would help me solve an embarrassing personal problem. I live in New York City, but, though I love the people I live among, I just don’t like the place. I’m loath to move out, because I only recently moved in. I left a house and a yard in Westchester for an apartment in Morningside Heights, near Columbia University, where my husband works and where life seemed likely to be more lively. But then, I got here and realized that I hated the noise and the filth and the smell.

Easy Target
June 14, 2010

In the past year, terrorists have planned to blow up the New York City subway system, an airplane over Detroit, and Times Square. These high-profile plots have reminded us that terrorists are as determined as ever to strike within the United States. They have also left an impression, pushed heavily in the media, that the next attack will be a massive explosion.

A Meditation on Loyalty
June 09, 2010

Zachary Roth and Luke Dempsey's eloquent and honest posts about the USA-England match raise interesting questions about the roles of identity, citizenship, and fandom. Loyalties are strange things. Driving to play in a charity “World Cup” event over the weekend with a friend from Liverpool, he casually mentioned he was having trouble fully giving himself over to Wazza & Co. Why? There are no Evertonians in the squad.

My Heart vs. My Bones
June 06, 2010

The last time I deliberately didn’t watch a big soccer match was just over a quarter of a century ago—May 18, 1985. That day, in the living room of our house in England, Dad sat on the edge of his seat as Kevin Moran became the first player in the history of FA Cup finals to be sent off. Manchester United, his (and my) beloved team, were doomed, surely…. Then, in extra time, Norman Whiteside, a Wayne Rooney of his day who had just turned 20, scored a magnificent solo goal in extra time to give United the trophy. Me? I was in my bedroom, listening to “Hearts and Bones,” by Paul Simon.

Welcome Back
June 05, 2010

I suppose I should justify the existence of this blog on our site. If I were to make an insincere effort to do so, I would argue this: Writing about culture is a very sizable portion of our ambit and this is the single greatest cultural spectacle of them all—a window, therefore, into nationalism, global capitalism, our notions of leisure, and other very worthy topics.

Life in a Glass House
May 28, 2010

There she was for the whole world to see and hear: a young woman sobbing uncontrollably, completely vulnerable, screaming at her interlocutor on a cell phone, broadcasting the most intimate particulars of her private life on a crowded street in Greenwich Village on a bright Friday afternoon.

China Journal: Can 1,300 Coal Plants Be Wrong?
May 25, 2010

Shanghai, China—This week, I'm traveling around China trying to get a better sense for the country's energy and environmental policies (the trip is being sponsored by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation). On a very broad level, there are two big, contradictory facts about the country to consider. One is that China is working far more frantically than we are to rein in its greenhouse-gas pollution and promote cleaner energy sources.

Toward an Accurate Portrayal of American Poverty
May 14, 2010

There’s been a lot of talk lately on the ins and outs of a new supplemental poverty measure being developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. As named, this new measure will not replace the official measure, but will supplement it by offering more information on people’s economic wellbeing. Nancy Folbre’s recent Economix post gives a good round up of why this new measure matters, but here’s the upshot.

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