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Dispatches from Denver

When Obama spoke of the debacle of the last eight years of American politics and said "We're better than this," people knew he meant them.

Beijing Games: More Than a Pretty Face

One needed only to have watched a small amount of NBC’s copious coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games to know the importance China places on maintaining face. As was often cited by commentators and news presenters, the Games provided the emerging superpower with its one opportunity to turn the tide of public sentiment its way. And so China had much riding on its 17 days in the world spotlight.

Docs In Sight

Rising Above the Flood: Kimberly Roberts, Scott Roberts, and Carl Deal

While the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina recycles the same distant aerial images of families waving for help from houses submerged in a fetid swamp, Carl Deal and Tia Leeson’s Trouble the Water presents a direct, on-the-ground story of people who were literally at the center of the storm. The film effectively uses home video shot throughout the chaos, footage that illustrates with grueling clarity what it was like for so many people who couldn’t afford to leave yet, through innovation and fortitude, endured nonetheless.

Down and Out in Hollywood

I moved to Los Angeles on a bright November day last year, landing at the Burbank airport almost to the minute when the Writers’ Guild went out on strike. I had come out West planning to set myself up in a secluded bungalow in the sleepy hills of Echo Park or Silverlake.

In Conversation

India: A View from Below Aravind Adiga with Hirsh Sawhney

The homes of middle class and wealthy Indians are staffed by teams of servants who cater to their employers’ every need. Born in poor states like Bihar or countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, these live-in drivers, cooks and cleaners often work twelve-hour days and seven-day weeks.

Not Available at Your Local Bookseller: Edgardo Vega Yunqué’s Latest Novel

Novelist Edgardo Vega Yunqué has donned a myriad of hats. As a teen, he arrived in New York City from Puerto Rico, to live far uptown among the Irish; military service soon sent him into the Cold War world.

Just a Spoonful of Chemicals...

Remember when we, as consumers, were hoodwinked by the insidious marketing techniques of big tobacco? Dubious science, aggressive advertising, and lax regulatory standards clouded our judgment and we puffed away, blissfully oblivious.

The Mind of Torture

When it comes to torture, the American Psychological Association has multiple personality disorder. A troubling ethical question divides its ranks: What role, if any, can psychologists play in war-on-terror interrogations? Officially, the APA says that the presence of good psychologists is critical in places like Guantanamo Bay.

Against the Mush

The title of author and critic Daniel Mendelsohn’s latest book of essays, How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken, is taken from a line of stage direction for The Glass Menagerie—“when you look at a piece of delicately spun glass, you think of two things: how beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.”


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2008

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