A Raised Fist Can Pack a Punch

    First, an admission: in the immediate wake of the shooting at the Trump rally, I watched the video of Donald Trump raising his fist and blurted, “Fuck.” A grudging admission that the man, even shoeless, is a consummate showman. That he knows, instinctively, how to galvanize a crowd. That his chutzpah is undeniable, […]

The Purpose of Your Life Is to Change How Others Feel

    “It is so hard to make someone else feel anything other than pain,” Nilay Patel remarked. “Christ,” Ezra Klein exclaimed. “That’s the darkest thing I’ve ever heard you say.” Patel, co-founder and editor in chief of the tech news site The Verge, had been chatting breezily with him about AI and the internet. […]

Matching Style for Style in Politics

    After the American presidential debate aired last week, a woman in Switzerland, a Facebook friend I know nothing about, said the USA is doomed either way. Fair enough. The debate reflected very badly on everyone including the moderators. The golf sequence alone should bring us shame before the Swiss. I will not add […]

Invent a New Kind of Femininity

    There is an article in The New Yorker about Miranda July, whom I have never read. She sounds interesting, so I zip along, half-skimming—then skid to a stop. She is reading the notes she wrote for her new novel, All Fours, to the reporter. Here is one from 2018: “Thinking about what aging […]

The Biggest Push Yet to Make the U.S. a Theocracy

    Last week, Christians flooded D.C. The Faith & Family Coalition was hosting its annual Road to Majority Policy conference, the nation’s largest public policy gathering of conservative Christian activists. One stump speech after another urged them to vote, evangelize, and pass out some of the $62 million worth of political literature designed to […]

Bob Woodward and the Stories We Tell

      Bob Woodward, often praised with superlatives such as “the best reporter of our time [and maybe] the best reporter of all time,” has 24 short videos on investigative journalism on the site MasterClass. These are from 2017, but I only just watched the material and found it interesting, informative, and inspirational. As always, […]

Why Women Are Drawn to “Bad Boys”

    “Why do women always go for the arrogant jerks?” Implicit in my husband’s exasperated question: Why is steady virtue not sexy? I shrug, as though this propensity is just as odd and puzzling to me, and point out that his steady virtue has delighted me for thirty years now. I do not mention […]

Do We Have to Monetize Everything?

    It is the nicest apology I have ever received. “Babe,” my husband says, “I am so sorry. I watched you paint and said, ‘You could sell these!’ But last night I heard somebody on the radio saying that nobody can just have a relaxing hobby anymore because if you’re any good, people start […]

Marriage is an Institution for the Rich

  When people talk about large-scale social crisis in the United States the topic eventually gravitates straight toward marriage. Or more precisely, the current lack of it. If children are in crisis it is because marriage is in crisis. If loneliness is epidemic it is because marriage is in decline. And if people are poor […]

Should Emotional Labor Be Reimbursed?

    The phrase “emotional labor” was new to me, but its practice is not. Emotional labor is that extra layer of effort expended to please, soothe, and accommodate others. Tacitly women’s work, it is the nine-to-five equivalent of dishes, dusting, childcare, eldercare, and, in traditional marriages, husband-coddling. Emotional labor is tossing aloe-softened tissues and […]