The Snakehead: The criminal odyssey of Chinatown’s... →
Moving people illegally from one country to another requires an extensive network of international contacts and an ability to outwit immigration and law-enforcement officers. With a well-connected family, acute entrepreneurial instincts, and a callous, life-is-cheap attitude toward the poor migrants who were her customers, Sister Ping was well suited to the job. Working with associates in China,...
Proper Spelling? Its Tyme to Let Luce! →
Why receipt but deceit? Water but daughter? Daughter but laughter? What is the logic behind the ough in through, dough, and cough? Instead of trying to get the letters right with imperfect tools, it would be far better to loosen our idea of correct spelling.
Listening to Books →
When a New York Times reporter asked Harold Bloom a couple of years ago what he thought of audio books, the great Yale humanist told her that “deep reading really demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear.” It requires, he continued, the use of “that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.” This sounds to me somewhat peculiar, but a lot of people basically...
How to be a faster writer →
“Professional Writing Expertise,” by Ronald Kellogg, contains enough writerly insight to fuel a thousand Iowa workshops. And the opening words could not be more comforting: “Writing extended texts for publication is a major cognitive challenge, even for professionals who compose for a living.” See, Dad! This is hard work.
Readers' Africa: Back on track →
On January 2 1958, I departed from Cape Town railway station to take up an appointment with the colonial government in what was then Zomba, Nyasaland.
Magic Journalism →
If the work of contemporary Latin American novelists, sprinkled with trees that move and birds that talk, is magic realism, Kapuscinski, a Pole, has created a kind of magic journalism.
What Would the End of Football Look Like?: An... →
People — American people — might actually start calling “soccer” by the moniker of “football.”
Transfer deadline day: Oh what a circus →
The entire day is testimony to Sky’s creativity, a street party in celebration of destabilising uber‑commerce erected on the very fringes of a firewall designed to prevent destabilising uber‑commerce, like cold war Moscow street capitalists doing a roaring black market trade in Red Army bearskin hats.
Story of Langston Hughes Meeting Jacques Roumain →
“I arose from my table on the cargo batch, wiped my hands on my trousers, and was introduced by Roumain as “the greatest Negro poet who had ever come to honor Haitian soil.” Each man bowed gravely. I bowed too.
At Last, The South Loses Well →
So, South Carolina? Make the repetition a memory. Heed the orders of General Lee. On retiring from the field of battle, brave enough to weep in plain view of his men, admitting defeat while somehow maintaining his own indelible sense of human honor, he called back, “Furl the flag, boys.”
Southern food, beyond the butter →
Southern food is a celebration of the people within the community, using the agrarian bounty that is constantly around them. It pays homage to the past but is a constantly evolving, ebbing with the seasons and flowing with the constant progression of the South.
Stumptown Girl: An indie-rock star satirizes... →
Even worse, she said, was “the élitism that passes itself off as inclusiveness.” She went on, “The rules are so esoteric, so hard to follow, that no one else could fit in. And what you’ll never admit to yourself is that you don’t want other people to fit in.” That’s a good summation of what “Portlandia” lampoons.
How to change your view of Africa →
“You are not writing about the white man. That’s not the person you grew up with. This is not the person I have a beef with. The guy I have a beef with is the shebeen owner.” And so he has found African writers, Francophone and Anglophone, still living in Africa, who write mostly about a lower-middle-class Africa that almost never gets described.
How to be a dictator →
It’s much better to decide who gets to eat than to let the people feed themselves. If you lower taxes people will do more work, but then people will get rewards that aren’t coming through you. Everything good must come through you.
His Music Rules in Haiti →
Sitting at the bar at the Spirit, Champagne emphasizes Martelly’s ability to attract fans across the political and social spectrum. “Sweet Micky is the only one who brings everyone together,” he claims. “I don’t care if you are from the slums of Cite Soleil or from Petionville; Sweet Micky brings everyone together in peace and they enjoy his music.”
Africa Cup of Nations 2012: Mali's heroes weep for... →
Often tears on a football pitch feel self-indulgent, the spoiled multimillionaire brat bawling because he’s missed out on yet another medal. Here, though, as the fans who remained gently applauded, it was easy to have sympathy for a man who clearly felt he had let his country down—and a country that will probably never have a better chance to win the Cup of Nations. Who can imagine the...
Football Season is Over →
No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming.
The Pitfalls of Indie Fame: On tUnE-yArDs and the... →
“Hey, remember that one winter when we all thought tUnE-yArDs was supposed to be brilliant? That fucking puppeteer? Were we all high at the same time? What was wrong with us?”
At Lunch With Raoul Peck: Exporting Haitian... →
“It’s important for me to show Haitians as human beings and not just as objects,” he continued. “We have a very heavy legacy in that we are seen as either voodoo followers or AIDS carriers. The least I can do is show people as people and not as marionettes or exotic bodies.”
Football’s best managers: A look into club... →
Football managers are modern celebrities, yet the vast majority appear to add no value to their teams, and could probably be replaced by their secretaries or stuffed teddy bears without anyone noticing.
A Journalist in Mogadishu →
It’s possible to view Abdi’s nonchalance as the epitome of Mogadishu cool. Some of the other journalists employ gunmen who relish the part: Ray-Bans, turbans, cowboy antics (jumping in and out of moving vehicles) and lots of attitude. But Abdi, I tell myself, is the Clint Eastwood of gunmen, ready to blow away the bad guys and go right on munching khat. Whatever doubts I have about...
Riding That Country Wagon →
“It takes a lot for someone with the substance abuse issues I have to stay away from such things,” said Mr. Earle, who added that he was consuming a half-gallon of vodka a day, cocktail by cocktail. “If you hang around the barber shop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.”
The End of the Echo Chamber →
These weak ties “are indispensible” to your network, Bakshy says. “They have access to different websites that you’re not necessarily visiting.”
Grave Inflation: A new report on the Haiti... →
What will happen when the next earthquake devastates a city and the OCHA is called upon to act and mobilize resources? Will Byrs or one of her successors have to claim an even more historic, more unprecedented disaster in order to get the world’s attention?
Stephen Colbert's Real Advantage: Free Air Time →
Colbert’s nightly fake news show, for instance, has done a great deal more to influence American politics than anything his super PAC has achieved. Indeed, the only reason we know about the super PAC — the only reason it exists in the first place — is thanks to Colbert’s media celebrity.
Made in Colombia: In a country desperate to... →
The local entrepreneurs are always young, because only kids dare to invest. While they understand the past—the failed reforms, the failed presidents, the almost-failed state—these optimistic pioneers also imagine progress. They believe, but they are a minority. They need some compadres to join their ranks.
Social Laboratory on a Field: In Haiti, an... →
“Sometimes I was protected by gunmen who were supposed to shoot me. He would know me from the team and say, ‘Don’t go there because I’m supposed to kill you there.’ That showed me how much soccer means to the Haitian people.”
How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work →
“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”
Everyone Is an Immigrant: Poetry and reportage in... →
It’s a spectacular show when the open, wooden boats come in, people huddled against the gunwales. In this human drama, the police are the supporting actors. So are the journalists like me, struggling against the cordon to talk to arrivals. So are the paramedics. We are all waiting for refugees.
Is African football progressing? →
I was having a coffee in a courtyard shaded by mango trees in Benguela, western Angola, talking to a Swiss clown who’d married a Nigerian woman he’d met while touring with his circus. He’s spent much of the past 20 years writing about African football. “It’s all rubbish,” he said. “I hate it now, hate what’s happened. I hate the lies and the false...
Charles Dickens has been ruined by the BBC →
Not only on account of what he wrote, but on account of his bridging the chasm between the serious and the popular, I consider Dickens to be our finest writer after Shakespeare, an example and reproach to every too high-minded stylist and every too low-minded populariser who has come after him.
The Autumn of Joan Didion →
Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them. She was our Hunter Thompson, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem was our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He gave the boys twisted pig-fuckers and quarts of tequila; she gave us quiet days in Malibu and flowers in our hair.
Anthony Bourdain, Just Like Me: Is the Kitchen... →
One of the talks he delivers is called “How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Globalization,” in which he stresses “globalization is inevitable. It’s coming, it’s here — and it’s a good thing. Relax and enjoy.”
Kingsley Amis did not care what people thought of... →
In reviews of other writers, he used such terms as “little twit,” “fucking fool,” “pompous buffoon,” and “that little turd.” Yet he was aware that somewhere along the line he had gone from being an Angry Young Man to become, in his words, a “curmudgeonly old shit.”
Making It in America →
The still-unfolding story of manufacturing’s transformation is, in many respects, that of our economic age. It’s a story with much good news for the nation as a whole. But it’s also one that is decidedly less inclusive than the story of the 20th century, with a less certain role for people like Maddie Parlier, who struggle or are unlucky early in life.
No Worries: Chris Gethard's Awkward Adventure in... →
New Yorkers will be rude, but at least they do so out of the rationale that everyone around them is always slowing them down. Los Angeles, I learned, is a city full of people who have the personality of the coolest pretty boy from your eighth-grade class. But I also met people who were a huge exception to this rule. They were all Mexicans.
Gary Taubes on Dieting →
Then some journalist like me comes along, and says, “What about all the other animals that get fat on grains and vegetable matter?” And the experts look at you and say, “Oh, you’re one of those Atkins people aren’t you?”
Why Authors Tweet →
Of the “I want to be alone!” type, Jennifer Weiner (34,682 followers) says: “I sometimes read about authors who say they require a perfectly silent room maintained at precisely 68 degrees, with trash bags taped over the windows and a white-noise machine in the corner to write, and I think, ‘Who are these people, and do any of them have kids?’”
Do College Sports Affect Students' Grades? A... →
There are plenty of problems with the current system of big-time college athletics, from the devaluing of academics to the plantation mentality that allows universities to make huge profits on the backs of unpaid athletes. But fixing those problems requires thinking creatively about real solutions, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
'If they make me go back, I will be lost' →
“They kept calling Mexico ‘your country.’ They kept saying, ‘You should go back to your country,’ but it’s not my country. I don’t know anyone in Mexico, not a single person.”
Haiti’s Tragic History →
For the better part of two centuries, outsiders have been offering explanations that range from racist to learned-sounding — the supposed inferiority of blacks, the heritage of slavery, overpopulation — for why Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. None of these work.
Muddy Waters and Mozart: on the Late Great Townes... →
He seemed to taunt oblivion, gambling away his last possessions, even his gold teeth, letting himself fall from a fourth-story balcony to see “what it felt like,” and generally until the end of his days, performing myth-making acts of excess in defiance of the human body’s capacity for abuse.
Bad Nights In The NFL →
There was a young millionaire in Denver whose white limousine came under gunfire on a snow-lined boulevard in the dark of a winter morning. When the shooting began he had about one minute to live.
A Drunken Afternoon with Anthony Bourdain →
“I made a number of really important decisions in my life very early on,” he continues. “I didn’t go to France. I didn’t even bang on the doors of the best restaurants in New York, begging for a position. I took the money, I took the girls, I took the drugs. I had a hell of a good time.”
Václav Havel's Funeral: Why Truth Needs Love →
In this universe, it makes complete sense to mix a deep-seated appreciation of free speech, keen interest in far-flung human-rights abuses, literate debate over economic policy, fierce defense of personal freedom, and a well-cultivated taste for life lived interestingly. This will remain one of Havel’s greatest legacies.
The Ghost →
“I got this new song I just wrote. It’s about how much I hate the modern Nashville establishment. It’s called ‘I Put the Dick in Dixie and the Cunt in Country,’ but my label hates that shit. They’ll never let me record it. So fuck them. Fuck them all. They can all go fucking fuck themselves.”
The Zombie Hunters: On the trail of... →
The note was cordial and succinct, written in stilted English. “Hello,” it began. “We attack your servers for some time. If you want save your business, you should pay 10.000$ bank wire to our bank account. When we receive money, we stop attack immediately. If we will not receive money, we will attack your business 1 month.”
Struggling To Survive →
A year after the storm, St. Bernard Parish is struggling to survive. The recovery has gone little better than the initial response. The deluge of water was followed by an alluvium of indecision and a blizzard of red tape.
Preserving the gingerbreads is fraught with obstacles, not the least of which is the dissonance that comes from spending money to improve high-end housing in a city where a half million people lack shelter.
When Irish Eyes Are Crying →
“Irish people actually believe in fairies?,” I ask, straining but failing to catch a glimpse of the typical fairy ring to which Ian has just pointed. “I mean, if you walked right up and asked him to his face, ‘Do you believe in fairies?’ most guys will deny it,” he replies. “But if you ask him to dig out the fairy ring on his property, he won’t do it. To my way of thinking, that’s believing.” And...