Tag Archives: The New Yorker

What American Christians Hear at Church | The New Yorker

Drawing on newly ubiquitous online services, Pew has tried to catalogue the subject matter of contemporary sermons.

By Casey Cep, October 7, 2021

Illustration by Daniel Liévano

“Now that I have preached about a dozen sermons I find I am repeating myself,” a young minister wrote despairingly in his diary in 1915.

He was barely out of school and only a few months into his first call, at Bethel Evangelical Church in Detroit. “The few ideas that I had worked into sermons at the seminary have all been used, and now what?”

It would be fourteen years before anyone else read those words, published under the title “Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic.”

It would take even longer for their author, Reinhold Niebuhr, to become one of the best-known theologians in the country, famous for works such as “The Irony of American History” and “The Nature and Destiny of Man.”

Source: What American Christians Hear at Church | The New Yorker

An App Called Libby and the Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books | The New Yorker

Increasingly, books are something that libraries do not own but borrow from the corporations that do.

By Daniel A. Gross, September 2, 2021

Illustration by Seba Cestaro

Steve Potash, the bearded and bespectacled president and C.E.O. of OverDrive, spent the second week of March, 2020, on a business trip to New York City.

OverDrive distributes e-books and audiobooks—i.e., “digital content.” In New York, Potash met with two clients: the New York Public Library and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

By then, Potash had already heard what he described to me recently as “heart-wrenching stories” from colleagues in China, about neighborhoods that were shut down owing to the coronavirus. He had an inkling that his business might be in for big changes when, toward the end of the week, on March 13th, the N.Y.P.L. closed down and issued a statement: “The responsible thing to do—and the best way to serve our patrons right now—is to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

The library added, “We will continue to offer access to e-books.”

Source: An App Called Libby and the Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books | The New Yorker

Why Are So Many Knowledge Workers Quitting? | The New Yorker

The coronavirus pandemic threw everyone into Walden Pond.

By Cal Newport, August 16, 2021

An empty desk and chair in a sparse room.
During the pandemic, many knowledge workers have been embracing career downsizing, voluntarily reducing their work hours to emphasize other aspects of life.Photograph from Getty

Last spring, a friend of mine, a writer and executive coach named Brad Stulberg, received a troubling call from one of his clients. The client, an executive, had suddenly started losing many of his best employees, and he couldn’t really explain why. “This was the canary in the coal mine,” Stulberg said.

In the weeks that followed, more clients began sharing stories of unusually high staff attrition. “They were asking me, ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ ” Stulberg was especially well suited to help the executives he advises grasp the mind-set of their exiting employees.

Before the pandemic, Stulberg had been working on a book, “The Practice of Groundedness,” which argues for a values-based approach to defining and pursuing success. The research process led him to question his own professional situation. He lived with his wife and their young son in an apartment in Oakland, California.

He was on staff as an internal coach for Kaiser Permanente, a health-care company. He also ran his own small, community-based coaching practice, wrote books and freelance magazine articles, and delivered paid lectures. His new book emphasized the imperatives of presence and developing community ties, but Stulberg didn’t have the time to act on these principles, as he felt that he had to work constantly to keep up with the high cost of living in Oakland. “The laptop was always out,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…

Source: Why Are So Many Knowledge Workers Quitting? | The New Yorker

How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity | The New Yorker

A brave band of scholars set out to save us from racism and sexism. What happened?

By Louis Menand, August 19, 2019

The celebrated cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, photographed in 1930.Photograph from Irving Browning / The New-York Historical Society / Getty

Editor’s note: Includes audio of article…

Not that long ago, Margaret Mead was one of the most widely known intellectuals in America.

Her first book, “Coming of Age in Samoa,” published in 1928, when she was twenty-six, was a best-seller, and for the next fifty years she was a progressive voice in national debates about everything from sex and gender to nuclear policy, the environment, and the legalization of marijuana. (She was in favor—and this was in 1969.)

She had a monthly column in Redbook that ran for sixteen years and was read by millions. She advised government agencies, testified before Congress, and lectured on all kinds of subjects to all kinds of audiences.

She was Johnny Carson’s guest on the “Tonight Show.” Time called her “Mother to the World.” In 1979, the year after she died, President Jimmy Carter awarded her the Medal of Freedom.

Source: How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity | The New Yorker

How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously | The New Yorker

For decades, flying saucers were a punch line. Then the U.S. government got over the taboo

By Gideon Lewis-Kraus, April 30, 2021

In the past three years, high-level officials have publicly conceded their bewilderment about unidentified aerial phenomena. Above: Four mysterious objects spotted in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1952.Photo illustration by Paul Sahre

On May 9, 2001, Steven M. Greer took the lectern at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of the truth about unidentified flying objects.

Greer, an emergency-room physician in Virginia and an outspoken ufologist, believed that the government had long withheld from the American people its familiarity with alien visitations. He had founded the Disclosure Project in 1993 in an attempt to penetrate the sanctums of conspiracy.

Greer’s reckoning that day featured some twenty speakers. He provided, in support of his claims, a four-hundred-and-ninety-two-page dossier called the “Disclosure Project Briefing Document.” For public officials too busy to absorb such a vast tract of suppressed knowledge, Greer had prepared a ninety-five-page “Executive Summary of the Disclosure Project Briefing Document.”

After some throat-clearing, the “Executive Summary” began with “A Brief Summary,” which included a series of bullet points outlining what amounted to the greatest secret in human history.

Source: How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously | The New Yorker

“Exterminate All the Brutes,” Reviewed: A Vast, Agonizing History of White Supremacy | The New Yorker

Raoul Peck’s four-hour documentary on HBO Max reveals the racist underpinnings of American national mythology and European society.

Drawing on archival material and the work of historians, the film distills the legacies of colonialism and racism.Photograph courtesy HBO

By Richard Brody, April 9, 2021

The new four-part series by Raoul Peck, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” that’s streaming on HBO Max belongs to an exceptional genre: it is, in effect, an illustrated lecture, or a cinematic podcast.

Which is to say that it’s an essay-film, a film of ideas, that are for the most part expressed by Peck himself, in his own voice-over, which nearly fills the movie’s soundtrack from start to finish.

The four-hour film is in the vein of Peck’s previous essay-film, “I Am Not Your Negro,” which focuses on James Baldwin’s work. “Exterminate All the Brutes” is similarly an intellectual effort.

And, like “I Am Not Your Negro,” it introduces and distills, from Peck’s own perspective, extant writings, this time by three historians who study colonialism and racism. Unlike the earlier film, though, the new one doesn’t offer much in the way of film clips from the writers themselves, and doesn’t (at least, doesn’t claim to) quote directly from their work. It is literally a film in Peck’s voice, and that strength, and that audacity, also gives rise to its artistic peculiarities.

Source: “Exterminate All the Brutes,” Reviewed: A Vast, Agonizing History of White Supremacy | The New Yorker