Ticket to the Fair →
by David Foster Wallace Wherein our reporter gorges himself on corn dogs, gapes at terrifying rides, savors the odor of pigs, trades unpleasantries with tattooed carnies, and admires the loveliness of cows.
by Wells Tower (via Mightyflynn) Funny story: My old man gets cancer, survives, vows thenceforth to see as much of the world as he can, drags me all over creation, and leaves mind-bending mishaps in his wake. Our next mission? Tour rapidly defrosting Iceland and Greenland. Bad idea? You could say that.
Getting In →
by Malcolm Gladwell …Yale and Princeton realized that if a definition of merit based on academic prowess was leading to the wrong kind of student, the solution was to change the definition of merit. It was at this moment that the history and nature of the Ivy League took a significant turn…
The Women's Movement →
by Joan Didion The half-truths, repeated, authenticated themselves. The bitter fancies assumed their own logic. To ask the obvious-why she did not get herself another gynecologist, another job, why she did not get out of bed and turn off the television set, or why, the most eccentric detail, she stayed in hotels where only doughnuts could be obtained from room service-was to join this argument...
Israel: The Alternative →
by Tony Judt The Middle East peace process is finished. It did not die: it was killed. On the corpse-strewn landscape of the Fertile Crescent, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, and a handful of terrorists can all claim victory, and they do. Have we reached the end of the road? What is to be done?
The Trendspotting Generation →
by Daniel Radosh In days gone by, big news didn’t indulge our modern concept of social “trends.” There was simply no room or imagination for exposition along the lines of, Lately there is a vague sense that more and more people seem to be doing or thinking or buying something or other that might possibly reflect the mood or psyche or spirit of the nation as a whole. That...
The Rise of the Essay →
by Zadie Smith Why do novelists write essays? Most publishers would rather have a novel. Bookshops don’t know where to put them. It’s a rare reader who seeks them out with any sense of urgency. Still, in recent months Jonathan Safran Foer, Margaret Drabble, Chinua Achebe and Michael Chabon, among others, have published essays, and so this month will I…
Why Men Lie →
by Vince Passaro There are things that everyone always lies about (cheating, stealing, sex), and there are things that women always lie about (food, money, orgasms), and then there’s the rest of life, which generally comprises what men tend to lie about. A female friend says of the men she’s known: “Are its lips moving? Then it’s lying.”
Learning to Smoke →
by Tom Chiarella This story isn’t about quitting smoking. It’s about starting. And starting, for me, included thirty-four different brands of cigarette, eleven lighters, spiritual revelations and moments of clarity, gatherings at alley mouths, unions with strangers on the streets of various cities, huddlings on a ragged porch watching the hand-cupped flare of a match in a snowstorm,...
The Letter of Last Resort →
By Ron Rosenbaum At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the control room of the sub, the Daily Mailreports, “there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander...
Mind vs. Machine →
by Brian Christian (via Zeitvox) In two hours, I will sit down at a computer and have a series of five-minute instant-message chats with several strangers. At the other end of these chats will be a psychologist, a linguist, a computer scientist, and the host of a popular British technology show. Together they form a judging panel, evaluating my ability to do one of the strangest things I’ve...
The King Of The Ferret Leggers →
by Donald Katz Some 11 years ago I first heard of the strange pastime called ferret legging, and for a decade since then I have sought a publication possessed of sufficient intelligence and vision to allow me to travel to northern England in search of the fabled players of the game.
My Father's Fashion Tips →
by Tom Junod First it was Lubriderm, what my father rubbed briskly between his palms and extended in glistening offering. “How about a bit of the Lube?” he’d say when I walked into his bathroom. I was, like, 8 years old, or something, so I had no choice but to put my face in his shiny hands. Then, for a long time, it was Nivea. “How would you like a little…Nivea?” he’d ask, with his brown hands...
The Professional Voice of Law Enforcement →
by Raoul Duke Weapons are my business. You name it and I know it: guns, bombs, gas, fire, knives and everything else. Damn few people in the world know more about weaponry than I do. I’m an expert on demolition, ballistics, blades, motors, animals — anything capable of causing damage to man, beast or structure. This is my profession, my bag, my trade, my thing… my evil specialty. And for...
The Birth of 'The New Journalism'; Eyewitness... →
by Tom Wolfe The original 1972 masterpiece. (Part II unavailable online. Another great Wolfe article from 2008 describes the ‘New Yorker Affair’ and the early days of NY Magazine).
Tibet Through Chinese Eyes →
By Peter Hessler Many Chinese working in Tibet regard themselves as idealistic missionaries of progress, rejecting the Western idea of them as agents of cultural imperialism. In truth, they are inescapably both.
Inhaling the Spore: A Visit to the Museum of... →
by Lawrence Weschler “Well,” Wilson replied coolly that first afternoon, unfazed, from behind his wooden desk (obviously he gets asked this sort of question all the time), “as you can see, we’re a small natural-history museum with an emphasis on curiosities and technological innovation.” He paused before going on: “We’re definitely interested in...
I Want This Apartment →
By Susan Orlean Jill Meilus is a New York City real-estate broker. Like Superman, she can see through walls. Walking down a Manhattan street with her is a paranormal experience. “Nice building,” you might remark as you pass a handsome but unrevealing prewar facade, to which she might respond that the J-line apartment on the third floor has a new kitchen, that the guy in 8-A is being...
The Shipbreakers →
by William Langewiesche At Alang, in India, on a six-mile stretch of oily, smoky beach, 40,000 men tear apart half of the world’s discarded ships, each one a sump of toxic waste. Environmentalists in the West are outraged. The shipbreakers want to be left alone - and maybe they should be.
The String Theory →
By David Foster Wallace What happens when all of a man’s intelligence and athleticism is focused on placing a fuzzy yellow ball where his opponent is not? An obsessive inquiry into the physics and metaphysics of tennis.
Excerpts from I Remember Nothing →
by Nora Ephron The D Word - The most important thing about me, for quite a long chunk of my life, was that I was divorced. Even after I was no longer divorced but remarried, this was true. I have now been married to my third husband for more than twenty years. But when you’ve had children with someone you’re divorced from, divorce defines everything; it’s the lurking fact, a...
Bring Back the Rails! →
By Tony Judt The modern city was born of rail travel. The very possibility of placing millions of people in close proximity with one another, or else transporting them considerable distances from home to work and back, was the achievement of the railways.
Goodbye to All That →
By Joan Didion When I first saw New York I was twenty, and it was summertime, and I got off a DC-7 at the old Idlewild temporary terminal in a new dress which had seemed very smart in Sacramento but seemed less smart already, even in the old Idlewild temporary terminal, and some instinct, programmed by all the movies I had ever seen and all the songs I had ever read about New York, informed me...
Pro-Life Nation →
By Jack Hitt More than a dozen countries have liberalized their abortion laws in recent years, including South Africa, Switzerland, Cambodia and Chad. In a handful of others, including Russia and the United States (or parts of it), the movement has been toward criminalizing more and different types of abortions. In this new movement toward criminalization, El Salvador is in the vanguard.
Space Stasis →
By Neal Stephenson There is no way to guess how rockets might have developed, or failed to, were it not for the fact that, during the 1940s, the world’s most technically sophisticated nation was under the absolute control of a crazy dictator who decreed that vast physical and intellectual resources should be hurled into the project of creating rockets of hitherto unimagined size.
Things We Think We Know →
By Chuck Klosterman We all hate stereotypes. Stereotypes are killing us, and they are killing our children, and they are putting LSD into the water supply. Stereotypes are like rogue elephants with AIDS that have been set on fire by terrorists, except worse. We all hate stereotypes. Seriously. Dude, we fucking hate them… except that we don’t.
Depression Special: great articles about the... →
By Michael Lewis Wall Street on the Tundra Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy - its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance - resulted from a stunning collective madness. What led a tiny fishing nation, population 300,000, to decide, around 2003, to re-invent itself as a...
Is Free the Future? →
By Malcolm Gladwell The digital age, Anderson argues, is exerting an inexorable downward pressure on the prices of all things “made of ideas.”
Doomed Love at the Taco Stand →
By Hunter S. Thompson Going to Hollywood is a dangerous high-pressure gig for most people, under any circumstances. It is like pumping hot steam into thousands of different-size boilers. The laws of physics mandate that some will explode before others—although all of them will explode sooner or later unless somebody cuts off the steam.
Halle Berry's Date with a Perfect Stranger →
By Halle Berry & Tom Chiarella A writer sat across the table from an actress. She told him most writers screw up the story. He told her writing isn’t easy. She asked to give it a shot. This is what happened.
If You Knew Sushi →
By Nick Tosches In the end, it’s one of those choices we have to make in life: icefish and tuna sinew or that new H.D. TV for the next season of American Idol.
Triumph Of The Swoosh →
By Donald Katz With impressive speed Nike has come to signify status, glamour, competitive edge and the myriad intricacies of cool. Especially for the young, Nike shoes conjure up a yearning and fascination that for much of the century has been inspired by cars.
Generation Why? →
By Zadie Smith How long is a generation these days? I must be in Mark Zuckerberg’s generation - there are only nine years between us - but somehow it doesn’t feel that way. This despite the fact that I can say (like everyone else on Harvard’s campus in the fall of 2003) that “I was there” at Facebook’s inception.
Consider the Lobster →
by David Foster Wallace For practical purposes, everyone knows what a lobster is. As usual, though, there’s much more to know than most of us care about—it’s all a matter of what your interests are.
A Fleet of One →
By John McPhee While Ainsworth was outside fuelling the truck, I sat inside in my freedom hat saying “Biscuits and gravy” to a waitress. She went “Oooooo wheeeee” and I thought my cover wasn’t working, but a trucker passing her had slipped his hand between the cheeks of her buttocks, and she did not stop writing.
City of Fear →
By William Langewiesche For seven days last May the city of São Paulo, Brazil, teetered on the edge of a feral zone where governments and countries lose their meaning. That zone is a wilderness inhabited already by large populations worldwide, but officially denied and rarely described.
They Know What Boy's Want →
By Alex Morris It’s 1:32 a.m., and I’m on my computer, clicking through pictures of a young girl named Cristal. There she is lounging on a bed in short shorts, her knees drawn up to show the undersides of her thighs, her hot-pink bra peeking out from behind a low-cut tank top….
The Roots of Muslim Rage →
By Bernard Lewis (From 1990) Nowhere in the Muslim world, in the Middle East or elsewhere, has American policy suffered disasters or encountered problems comparable to those in Southeast Asia or Central America. There is no Cuba, no Vietnam, in the Muslim world, and no place where American forces are involved as combatants or even as “advisers.” But there is a Libya, an Iran, and a...
Being James Brown →
By Jonathan Lethem When James Brown enters the recording studio, the recording studio becomes a stage. It is not merely that attention quickens in any room this human being inhabits. The phenomenon is more akin to a kind of grade-school physics experiment: Lines of force are suddenly visible in the air, rearranged, oriented. The band, the hangers-on, the very oxygen, every trace particle is...
Where's Willy →
By Susan Orlean On the tail of the world’s most pampered whale - It was a hell of a time to be in Iceland, although by most accounts it is always a hell of a time to be in Iceland, where the wind never huffs or puffs but simply blows your house down.
To Have is To Owe →
By David Graeber For thousands of years, the struggle between rich and poor has largely taken the form of conflicts between creditors and debtors; of arguments about the rights and wrongs of interest payments, debt, amnesty, repossession, restitution, the sequestering of sheep, the seizing of vineyards, and the selling of children into slavery.
My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather... →
By Chuck Klosterman This is our collective fear projection: that we will be consumed. Zombies are like the Internet and the media and every conversation we don’t want to have. All of it comes at us endlessly (and thoughtlessly), and — if we surrender — we will be overtaken and absorbed. Yet this war is manageable, if not necessarily winnable. As long we keep deleting whatever’s directly in...
The End of Men →
By Hanna Rosin Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in u.s. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality, but what if equality isn’t the end point? what if modern, postindustrial society is simply...
Bystanders to Genocide →
By Samantha Power Why did the United States not do more for the Rwandans at the time of the killings? Did the President really not know about the genocide, as his marginalia suggested? Who were the people in his Administration who made the life-and-death decisions that dictated U.S. policy? Why did they decide (or decide not to decide) as they did? Were any voices inside or outside the U.S....
Song of the Sausage Creature →
by Hunter S. Thompson There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them - but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous.