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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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David Remnick: David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker. 

I’m from Jersey, and I would say that the town I grew up in is about halfway along the ride that Tony Soprano takes from the Lincoln Tunnel to his suburban ________ in North _________. Where I grew up Hillsdale, New Jersey is about halfway.

How did it shape me? I think growing up where I did and wanting to do certain things, and write, and all those kinds of things, I had my eyes firmly fixed on the horizon toward Manhattan; kind of the opposite of the Steinberg New Yorker cover. I really wanted to cross that bridge as, as odd as that sounds. 

What was it like growing up in the shadow of New York? You had a sense that everything was there. I was about half an hour from the city, and there’s the sense that all activity, all mind, all social life, all that is great, and good, and real, and intelligent, and exalted is across the river; which of course only means that you’re ignoring what’s in front of your face, and it’s one more form of adolescent stupidity. 

Question: What did you think you’d be doing professionally? 

David Remnick: I only had my eyes fixed on one thing and that was writing. I think by the time I was 13 or 14; all I wanted to do was write. That’s it. And to this day, writing and reading is most everything that I think about.

 

Recorded on Jan 7, 2008

 

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