I sometimes get more pleasure from learning a thing’s name than from learning about the thing itself. When, a few years ago, my then girlfriend offered me a potato pancake, I wasn’t impressed, even though she told me about the …


While I was reading Simon Reynolds’s latest book, Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, I found myself thinking of the hours I spent as a teenager listening to grunge rock in my best friend’s bedroom. This would have …


In the New Republic yesterday, Isaac Chotiner expressed relief that Sunday night’s episode of True Detective had returned to its roots as a “police procedural,” praising one scene in Episode 7 by comparing it to a “great scene between Kevin …


The night my wife met Brendon Small, he was master of ceremonies at a Guitar Hero contest in San Francisco. This was an entirely appropriate thing to be doing, since he’s achieved a not-insignificant amount of fame via his creation …

Activists Rally In Favor Of Same Sex Marriage In Chicago

There are two “right answers” to the question of marriage on the American left today. Let’s call the people who give these answers the Joiners and the Quitters. (The conservative right would be the Keep-Outers.) In many ways, the split …

Current Issue

Symposium: What is Marriage for?

The problem with marriage, we all know, is the endlessness of it. Plenty of things we do will have long-term repercussions, but in what other situation do you promise to do something for the rest of your life? Not when you choose a college. Not when you take a job. Not when you buy a house. Once you’re married, it suddenly makes your life feel shorter—like now there’s a direct line between you and your own death. You’ve just gotten on a train and you won’t get off until the very end of the track.

In this Issue:

From the Archives

| Spring, 2012

Bill Ayers was a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago until 2010, and he has published several books on pedagogy, including Teaching Toward Freedom (2010) and To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (2001). Before becoming …

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| Fall, 2010

If you have spent any significant amount of time in some kind of creative endeavor you have probably also spent a lot of time being bored. Your day tends to be unstructured and open, leaving room to do nothing that …

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| Spring, 2012
Franzen Wallace3

Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace, the two most important American writers of their era, both grew up in the Midwest. Franzen describes his childhood in Webster Groves, Missouri as having unfolded “in the middle of the middle [where] there …

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