Moby’s vast domicile of loneliness

by David Alm April 29, 2011

It’s safe to say that Moby is pretty damn famous. While his popul arity m ay have peaked in the late 1990s, with the release of Play, that album nevertheless secured Moby a spot in the pantheon of techno gods. He has made millions in album sales, licensing contracts, vegan cuisine, and bottled teas. His […]

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The Technicolor world of Swahili riddles (Kitendawili?! Tega!)

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 28, 2011

Swapping Swahili riddles in Zanzibar is like tying a literary bow around a friendship and pulling tight until the two of you are bound up together in giggles and amazement. Maybe riddles have lost their literary panache in America, but here, there’s something electric and utterly vivid about riddles. Calling out the word kitendawili (riddle) […]

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Soylent Yellow is Peeps! and other Easter confections

by Angela Argentati April 24, 2011

Of all the holidays, it seems that we revel in Easter’s confectionery bounty the most. Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps and jelly beans nestled atop lavender grass elicit far m ore unadulterated excitement than say candy corn or conversation hearts. One might make the case that the sweet fare of Halloween and Valentine’s Day finds nobler […]

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A mind/body identity crisis

by David Alm April 20, 2011

Growing up, I developed a prejudice against athletes. I saw them as arrogant, cliquey, boneheaded jerks. Not my kind of people. I preferred the kids who knew how to draw, who made bold, original points in class (even as 8th graders) and who had large vocabularies. I never felt as smart as my closest friends, […]

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Steve Mitchell honored in Million Writers Awards

by Contrary Magazine April 19, 2011

Steve Mitchell’s “Above the Rooftop” has been named a 2010 Notable Story in StorySouth’s Million Writers Award competition. This puts Steve’s story in the running for the top ten—which will be announced May 20—and then a public vote for best story of the year. A quick excerpt from “Above the Rooftop”— Sometimes, I place my […]

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Flies and Floods: a Jewish passover in Zanzibar

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 19, 2011

Mah Nishtana Halailah Hazeh? Why is this night different from all other nights? Maybe because I was celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover on the predominantly Muslim island of Zanzibar. As far as I can tell, I am the only Jew around, at least who’s willing to admit it. I myself have always grappled with […]

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A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan wins Pulitzer

by Cynthia Newberry Martin April 18, 2011

The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was awarded today to A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, “an inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed.” For more about A Visit From the Goon Squad on Contrary Blog: Dear LATimes, This […]

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The Robin Hood Party

by Rebecca Lehmann April 17, 2011

After watching the Tea Party rallies which took place over the weekend in places like Florida and Madison, Wisconsin, held by reality-TV show star Donald Trump and reality-TV show star/former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, I began to think that those of us Democrats who believe in fiscal responsibility via raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans […]

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Things we think with

by Cynthia Newberry Martin April 17, 2011

Sherry Turkle asked scientists, humanists, artists, and designers to “trace the power of objects in their lives, objects that connect them to ideas and people.” In Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, published in 2007 by the MIT Press, you’ll find thirty-four essays on objects such as a rolling pin, a yellow raincoat, an axe head, a suitcase, […]

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National Book Critics Circle Features Contrary’s Review Editor

by Contrary Magazine April 13, 2011

Cynthia Newberry Martin is most recently famous as the Contrary blogger who set the internet afire when she challenged the LA Times coverage of the National Book Critics Circle awards. But Cynthia excels at many things. She has written some of the most powerful and most popular fiction we’ve published. This story made people cry. […]

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Who should run our schools?

by David Alm April 13, 2011

In New York City, where I live, the public school system has long been a logistical quagmire. It’s the largest in the country, attempting to educate 1.1 million kids at 1,700 different schools with an $80 billion budget. (All facts are from the Department of Education’s website.) It also has a pretty high dropout rate: […]

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Interference–A glimpse inside the ecstatic cult house of Kibuki spirits

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 13, 2011

Do you believe in devils? Spirits? Possessions? Exorcisms? Or are spirits in any society simply the bio-chemical reality of hypnosis, revelation through sound, pitch and tone? An anthropological need for the occasional freak-out, fulfilled? I was skeptical of all things spirits until recently, when I stepped into a Kibuki cult spirit possession ceremony. There, in […]

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An academic, a journalist, and a copywriter met on a sidewalk…

by David Alm April 12, 2011

Just about every time I have a conversation with anyone about his or her career, I get an earful of doubts, misgivings, annoyances, and, oftentimes, a nagging sense of futility about the entire enterprise. (And bear with me, the photo to your right will make sense soon enough.) Case in point: yesterday I ran into […]

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The Marlboro Manifesto: Life, liberty and the pursuit of leisure in Denver, Colorado

by Angela Argentati April 7, 2011
South Denver, by Angela Argentati

PREAMBLE: We the people of Denver, Colorado (and the metro-area suburbs, from which our homogenized city is indistinguishable) pledge allegiance to Leisure, to God and to our SUVs. This official document sets forth the tenets by which we shall collectively conduct ourselves to promote a just and peaceful existence in this, our Republic. Herein, “God” […]

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Cash-sash and other culture jams: (No I’m not married, I don’t have a baby)

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 5, 2011

You heard me. No, I’m not married. No, I don’t have a baby. These are the two of the most potent culture-bombs I drop on unsuspecting Zanzibar citizens on a near-daily basis. The reaction hints at devastation for some, others are just confused. You’re thirty-five and you don’t have children? Never been married? In my […]

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