The Soul of New York City

Kurt Andersen: I think having grown up in Omaha – specifically Nebraska, the Midwest – has shaped me quite a bit. I think going from Omaha essentially to the east – and New York, specifically – made me feel a little bit like a permanent outsider. If not an outsider, at least somebody who could see the strangeness, and magnificence, and ugliness and of New York with a certain amount of awe that hasn’t quite left me.

I think also there is a cliché – but like most clichés a true one – that there’s this thing in the Midwest which amounts to a kind of enforced humility. Sometimes a mock humility, but the nevertheless a sense of you shouldn’t toot your own horn too much. And I think that has stuck with me.

And then of course the particulars of my parents and my family background entirely apart from the Midwest – or Omaha particularly – has had a dramatic influence on my life.

Recorded On: July 5, 2007

An Omahan humility gives Andersen a different perspective on the city.

Why American history lives between the cracks

The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?

Videos
  • History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
  • In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
  • Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap
popular

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
Keep reading Show less