Editor’s Note: What follows is composed from features published in The New Yorker between September and December 2010. No alterations beyond rearrangement were made to the texts, excepting those that ensured gender, tense and number agreement.
“This snowfall is my final fantasy. Once America the woman was coming on my dick, her flag pin a pinhole to a world without strife. But then—” he sneezes. “Let me begin again. Terrorism. The weeping willow lowers her hair … Read More
As _Avatar_ gradually accrued its second billion dollars in the last few weeks, coverage of the film itself (rather than its receipts) sank from complacent praise to idle speculation. Was the film racist? Well, accidentally. Is there going to be … Read More
WICKEDEST CENSORS—CNN “Hey, can I call you Joe?” she asked. “[Off-mike],” he responded. BEST MIXED METAPHOR—SARAH PALIN “The barometer there, I think, is going to be resounding that our economy is hurting.” MOST GERUNDS—SARAH PALIN Gerunds are for the weak, … Read More
When browsing classic disco blogs—always maintained by sweaty, foreign men, a tendency I have learned from the pictures of themselves they publish inexplicably—one can only judge the quality of the records by their album covers. There are no band biographies, no album reviews, no other photographs: it is a cultural archive without history or salesmanship. Determining quality with so little information is a delicate but logical process, the mechanics of which can only be explained by example.
The audience for Samantha Power last Friday appeared to be the usual crowd for talks at Princeton: half students interested in the subject matter at hand, and half older townies getting a taste of culture. “War Crimes and Genocide Today: What Can One Person Do?” was hosted by the Woodrow Wilson School, and it showed in the composition of the crowd. The students had a confused, sympathetic mixture of careerism and noblesse oblige; one, after asking what she should do to prepare for her trip to Bosnia this summer (that’s right, she’s going to Bosnia, folks! Sniper fire!), was happily offered a card from the wife of a UN official. The older ones, on the other hand, had the weary, insecure but comfortable look of those inhabiting the many, multiplying rings of power just outside the one that matters. “What can one person do,” of course, is heard by all of these people as “What can I do?”—a question that, in its necessity and its limitations, cuts to the heart of what is both brilliant and unfortunate about Samantha Power.
This past Sunday, three of the Nassau Weekly’s best-trained sabermetricians compiled data from Princeton Facebook in order to rank the graduating class of seniors in an objective and accurate manner according to a single metric: notoriety. This was not hard. No computer programs were required, although they might have helped. All the team had to do was log in to facebook.princeton.edu, run an Advanced Search for the class of 2009, and copy one piece of information from each of the 1,198 profiles: Profile Views.
People change. People estrange. The wear and tear on the asbestos flange took my grandfather at seventy-five. My grandmother is alive, and turning eighty. The moon landing is forty. I am twenty. Ten, five. The moon is a Kennedy penny … Read More