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Andrew Sean Greer: How This Age Will Be Remembered
Andrew Sean Greer is an American novelist and short-story writer. The New York Times called his 2008 novel The Story of a Marriage “lyrical” and “inspired.” His first novel, 2001’s The Path of Minor Planets, was well received, and his second, 2004’s The Confessions of Max Tivoli, earned him comparisons to Proust and Nabokov from critic John Updike. His stories have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and other national publications. Born in Washington, D.C., Greer received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his master’s degree from the University of Montana. He currently resides in San Francisco. Greer was so well received as an undergrad that his classmates elected him the commencement speaker, for his own graduation.
Andrew Sean Greer: I think it will be seen as part of a cycle. I think it will seem like it did, in a way, in the early ‘50s of anxiety and repression and fear and then I have a sense maybe it will open up into a new sort of ‘60s. Those things seem to go in waves like that, so I have that hope, but for sure it will be seen as, I think, an oddly dark time in American history, I really do. When, for one moment, America ruled the world and then it was the tipping point where we lost it forever. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we shouldn’t have ruled the world.
Question: How did you feel after 9/11?
Andrew Sean Greer: Well, I was in a weird place. I was at McDowell colony in New Hampshire, so I was in a strange world apart, sort of childlike place and where it’s full of New Yorkers who are all trying to call home and my brother lived in New York at the time and cell phones didn’t work. There were two pay phones. And we had a lot of foreign artists there as well, so it was very confusing because we were in rural New Hampshire. People were flying giant American flags on their trucks and at the same time the foreign artists were saying to us America has brought this on itself. So we told them I don’t want to have this conversation right now. I will have this conversation with you in six months. I know what you’re talking about, but I can’t talk with you about it and they’d say America needs to talk about it and it was a tough talk to have. And on the other hand, we were in a place that had become that true kind of patriotic America that we all saw that I also was not comfortable with and I thought here it comes, people are going to start beating up the Arabs. I know it. And at the same time, I’m starting to feel, you know, bound to my country and of course, we squandered that feeling entirely and we did kind of beat up the Arabs and I mean, I just couldn’t believe what happened after that. It could’ve gone so many ways. I guess I didn’t mention how I felt. Still hard to get at, but it was otherworldly to watch that on the TV. Being drawn out of the narcissism of writing your novel, writing Max Tivoli and having someone knock on your door and at that colony you’re not allowed to knock on anyone’s door ever. It was the first time it had ever happened and said you have to come and watch it. So I saw the second tower fall and suddenly no one wanted to write their work. You know, my novel felt like the stupidest thing in the world. I had a novel coming out two days later, I was supposed to start a book tour. No one cared about that. It was hard to care myself, you know, it seemed like there was other stuff at stake and novels didn’t seem like where it was at. Now I believe the opposite. Now I think, like, fiction has a place to understand those things that are hardest to understand that non-fiction can’t ever get at.
A place of fiction at a moment when American ruled the world.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Paul Krugman on the Virtues of Selfishness<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7ZtAkm6C" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="828936bf6953080e9018307354c0c02b"> <div id="botr_7ZtAkm6C_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7ZtAkm6C-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> The Nobel Prize-winning economist on the virtues of selfishness.
Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking ...<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cyeqmYCb" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="6c5efecb56456e9acc25cf36935b1826"> <div id="botr_cyeqmYCb_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cyeqmYCb-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.
- Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
- "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
- In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.