Category: Words

A Meeting of Minds

We all make mistakes. No matter how well trained, smart, or astute we are, faulty reasoning marks our thinking and leads us astray. The psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman showed us just ...

Public Picks 2017

Each year around this time we try to send our readers into summer with a thoughtfully curated list of the books that wowed, charmed, and provoked us most over the past 12 months. For this, the fifth ...

Brazil’s Malaise

A whiff of the apocalyptic surrounds the compounding crises currently afflicting Brazil. A surge in violent crime unfolds alongside a new and dangerous illness; a financial crisis begets a political ...

Presidential Comics: Part 1

The vitriol of modern elections is nothing new. Indeed, it is relatively tame compared to earlier generations. Ever since the emergence of the party system in ...

Athlete Activists

In fall 2016, Colin Kaepernick shook the sports world. A quarterback on the San Francisco 49ers football team, Kaepernick kneeled in silence during the national anthem …

The World in a Blot of Ink

What might this be? A moth, a bat, a winged musical conductor, a spaceship? Whatever you may see, you are also looking at Card I of the Rorschach test ...

Procedural Racism

Every detective story relays at least two narratives: the story of the crime and the story of the investigation. In a police procedural, the story of the investigation has police officers discover ...

Audio Companions

Some years back, the cultural critic Stephen Metcalf noted, in a smart review of a new essay collection by David Sedaris, that we turn to radio for companionship. Companionship might appear to be ...

Picturing Freedom

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan enriches a fragmentary archive by tapping into something we know for sure about the enslaved but seldom allow ourselves to explore ...

What Next for Detroit?

One of the most important urban photographers of our time, Camilo José Vergara arrived in the United States in the midst of the “urban crisis,” as great American cities struggled with massive ...

The Great LOLCat Massacre

Recently, for work, I read through 10 years’ worth of the New York Times best-seller list and noticed a strange phenomenon. Since December 17 ...