Going off the grid has always been an American aspiration. From the Quakers who fled English persecution, to David Koresh, who vainly hoped to build his own world in Waco, Texas, to that earlier generation of Texans who with the help of the US Army tore themselves away from the feeble Mexican grid,
The more nonfiction you read, and from further back in time, the harder it gets to pronounce the word "new" in New Journalism with a straight face. I'm thinking partly here of pieces like Ned Ward's "Trip to Jamaica," 1698—Edward Ward, seminal Grub Street hack, writing sarcastically and in a detail-studded first-person prose, a reportorial style that pointed forward to Defoe while listening to Bunyan, about an actual trip he'd made to Jamaica with other prospective settlers. Sixteen ninety-eight—that's early.
In Just Kids Patti Smith explains how, in the late 1960s, she and Robert Mapplethorpe met in New York, where they were both determined to become artists (were pretty convinced, actually, that they already were artists) even though they hadn’t a clue about what kind of art they might create. Mike
The argument of Surfaces and Essences may be stated fairly simply: When we as subjects attempt to make sense of any phenomenal experience in the world, which we do at every waking moment, we do so through a kind of quick cognitive shorthand, forging analogies between the unknown and past experience, both consciously and unconsciously.
The war on terror was sold as a war scarier than all the rest. Even now, it’s tempting to see America’s foreign-policy blunders in the early twenty-first century as aberrations born of panic, fear, and ignorance. The shock of September 11, the emergence of mysterious antagonists, and the Bush
The day after the Newtown, I wrote a blog post titled "Dumb Fucking Gun Nuts." It began by noting that I'm a gun owner myself. It's a .22 semiautomatic rifle that an old girlfriend, raised in a gun family, bought me years ago. The rifle's been sitting in a black vinyl zip-up bag I left in my father's
AS THE HORRORS OF THE SCHOOL MASSACRE IN NEWTOWN, Connecticut, had begun to sink in, and nestle their way into the broken anatomy of the American body politic, another shooting incident took place, this time in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Webster, on Christmas Eve. The gunmen in both incidents
<strong style="font-size: 10pt;">DURING THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN</strong>, every Republican candidate but one—Jon Huntsman—questioned, denied, or, in the case of Mitt Romney, openly mocked climate change and its consequences. “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and
Renata Adler's newly reissued novels, Speedboat (1976) and Pitch Dark (1983), consist of anecdotes, vignettes, jokes, aphorisms, epigrammatic asides, and longer passages of prose—eclectic inventories of consciousness. Their immediate effect is that of a flea market in Samarqand or Ouagadougou, where the items on display are fractionally different enough, in style and provenance, from their cousins at the local swap meet to look like artifacts of an alternate universe. Adler's eye and ear for the peculiar are unmatched in American letters.