New York City
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.
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.
THE PICTURE: Picasso ♥ New York City
May 12, 2010
“Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” is wretchedly installed. I cannot imagine what Gary Tinterow, the curator at the museum who organized the show, thought he was doing. Tinterow has crammed so many paintings, drawings, and prints so close together that it is virtually impossible to see anything on its own terms or to make distinctions between major and minor works. In this absurdly overcrowded hanging, key paintings—Gertrude Stein (1905-06), Woman in White (1923), Dora Maar in an Arm Chair (1939)—are treated like straphangers in a rush-hour subway.
The Boss Hogg Backlash Begins
May 07, 2010
For months I've been referring to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour as "Boss Hogg," in what I concede is a fairly juvenile shtick. Keep that in mind as you watch this ad by Massachusetts governor candidate Tim Cahill: The soundtrack, of course, is the theme to "The Dukes Of Hazzard," the 80's show that featured Boss Hogg.
The Reverse Katrina
May 06, 2010
WASHINGTON—Ever heard the one about the guy who hated government until a deregulated Wall Street crashed, an oil spill devastated the Gulf of Mexico, a coal mine collapsed, and some good police work stopped a terrorist attack? Rarely has the news of the day run so counter to the spin on the news of the day. It's hard to argue that the difficulties we confront were caused by an excessively powerful "big" government. Rather, most of them arose from the government's failure to do its job in the first place.
Was New York City Lucky?
May 03, 2010
Michael Bloomberg said of the aborted terrorist strike in New York City, "We are very lucky." Lucky, sure. But very lucky? The last two attempted mass-casualty terror attacks failed largely because the terrorists were incompetent. The New York City terrorist, among other things, seems to have used non-explosive fertilizer for his bomb. Obviously terrorism remains a danger, and we can be fairly sure that various levels of counter-terrorism have spared us from numerous attacks. That said, I think Americans have a general tendency to overstate the capabilities of terrorists.