Remnick in the U.S.S.R.

David Remnick: It was everything. Living in Russia and working for the [Washington] Post and being utterly absorbed in that story, really the most important story since the end of World War II, it was heaven. It was journalistic heaven.

Even if you were a moron and did nothing but sit on the stoop of your building – in my case near October Square – you could get a couple of stories a day. Seriously. People who hadn’t talked for years, and years, and years suddenly would talk to you and never go away.

And maybe I was even better than that as a reporter and got around and went everywhere.

It was heaven. It was really heaven.

And so when I hear about reporters covering Iraq, yes it’s the most important story of its time conceivably, but it ain't heaven. It’s horrible. It’s unbelievably dangerous, and it’s endlessly depressing.

This was the opposite. It was uplifting. It was filled with human potential and possibility,  most of which had been disappointed or dashed at the moment. But it was. It shaped me a lot.


Recorded on Jan 7, 2008

Remnick remembers the twilight of the Soviet Union.

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

US, Russia, China won't join global initiative to offer fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. Why not?

The U.S., China, and Russia are in a "vaccine race" that treats a global challenge like a winner-take-all game.

  • More than 150 countries have joined an initiative to develop, produce, and fairly distribute an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But China, Russia, and the U.S. have declined to join in a bid to win the vaccine race.
  • The absence of these three economies risks the success of the global initiative and future collaborations.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Study reveals alarming link between binge-drinking and anxiety

    New research conducted on mice suggests repeated heavy drinking causes synaptic dysfunctions that lead to anxiety.

    Credit: Pixabay
    Mind & Brain
    • The study was conducted on mice, who were given the equivalent of five drinks daily for 10 days.
    • Images of the alcoholic mice brains showed synaptic dysfunctions related to microglia (immune cells in the brain).
    • The results suggest that regulating TNF, a signaling protein related to systemic inflammation, may someday play a part in treating alcohol addiction.
    Keep reading Show less

    A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

    Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

    Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
    Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Want students to cheat less? Science says treat them justly

    Students who think the world is just cheat less, but they need to experience justice to feel that way.

    Credit: Roman Pelesh/Shutterstock
    Surprising Science
    • Students in German and Turkish universities who believed the world is just cheated less than their pessimistic peers.
    • The tendency to think the world is just is related to the occurence of experiences of justice.
    • The findings may prove useful in helping students adjust to college life.
    Keep reading Show less