March 11, 1999 |
It has been nearly 2,000 years since the sober men in togas came together in Rome, coaching one another to put aside worldly wants and walk a straight and moral path. But now--in a time of presidential hanky-panky, 24-hour entertainment and murky social values--their ancient creed is being resurrected.
August 22, 2012 |
"For the next few weeks, there will be no political discussions in America: we have entered the Season of Platitudes," Ayn Rand wrote in October 1962, a month or so before the midterm congressional elections. " … All issues, principles and definitions vanish during an election campaign. They dissolve into a fog of rubber terms that can mean anything to anyone - while the candidates compete for how to be misunderstood in the greatest number of ways by the greatest number of people. " Rand's observation opens a column, "Absurd Chatter of Candidates Reflects Voters," that the novelist and essayist wrote during a six-month stint as a Sunday editorial contributor to the Los Angeles Times.
April 18, 2000 |
Nerissa Rosete fell in love with a pricey South Orange County home, especially its impressive view of the mountains. She entered escrow, putting $20,000 down. But she walked away from the deal, losing half her down payment, after a consultant noted the way the backyard steeply dropped off to meet Interstate 5. It was, he warned her, bad feng shui: The receding yard would prompt energy to rush out of the home.
November 20, 2013 |
The very best piece of writing I've encountered on Twitter comes from a feed called NeinQuarterly . Here it is: “At Starbucks I order under the name Godot. Then leave.” That's an almost perfect use of Twitter as a platform: Aphoristic, and yet hinting at a depth of knowledge underneath. It's a joke, but one you have to know something to get. The same is true of much of what appears at NeinQuarterly, which bills itself as a “Compendium of Utopian Negation,” but is really more a labor of love.
March 1, 2013 |
The precept was simple enough: buy soccer teams on both sides of the border, give them the same name and similar uniforms, and manage them with the same philosophy, creating a synergy that would benefit both clubs. But it hasn't worked out that way for Mexican businessman Jorge Vergara, owner of Chivas de Guadalajara of the Mexico League and a co-founder of Major League Soccer's Chivas USA. So with his U.S. team stumbling toward its third consecutive losing season last summer, Vergara and his wife bought out their partners and decided to start over.
December 6, 2013
I met Nelson Mandela not long after he stepped down as president of South Africa. He was visiting the Gates Foundation in Seattle, and I was part of a group of journalists lucky enough to get the chance to interview him for an hour. Now, with the news of his death at 95, Mandela is being lauded as the greatest, most charismatic leader of our times and I might be expected to say how amazing it was to be in the man's presence. But on that day in Seattle, he seemed no more extraordinary than many other people I have met. He had a graceful dignity about him and a humility learned over a lifetime, but he was not physically imposing or remarkably eloquent.
December 27, 1987 |
"Art and Philosophy often are in strife,/though meant each other's aid, like man and wife." This rewrite of Pope's famous couplet about wit and judgment captures the major problem of leading Michel Tournier's most recent philosophical novel. The philosophical novel is a particularly difficult genre because of the built-in tension between philosophy and art.
August 12, 2012 |
Back in 2005, an up-and-coming lawmaker named Paul Ryan credited the polemical novelist and libertarian Ayn Rand as a central inspiration for his entry into public life. Ryan toiled in those days in relative obscurity, a well-respected but low-profile member of the House of Representatives. By the spring of 2012, the boyish congressman had become a Republican star, widely named as a possible vice presidential pick. He also had become considerably less comfortable being linked to the controversial Rand, an atheist with a tartly Darwinian world view.
February 21, 2011 |
Of all the mischaracterizations of social conservatives, none is more stubborn and pernicious than the notion (promulgated by liberals and eagerly snatched up by credulous media voices) that groups and politicians that espouse a "values" philosophy seek to impose a draconian moral code on a dissenting populace. This notion not only demonstrates a lack of understanding of conservatism and its self-imposed limits, but it also betrays a refusal to face the fact that nanny-state preoccupations are the province of the American left.
February 12, 2010 |
A self-inflicted case of Botulism has claimed a prominent victim: the debonair, silver-coiffed French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. Known here simply as BHL, Levy is a veritable rock star of philosophy in a nation where the covers of weekly glossies have posed leading thinkers in superhero, v-line formation, looking as if they are ready to attack or to take flight. Levy usually leads this pack in terms of media attention, in part for his controversial political views and in part for his looks.