Who are you?
Since taking the helm of The New Yorker in 1998, David Remnick has returned the magazine to its profitable glory days. A graduate of Princeton University, he began his journalistic career as a night police reporter at the Washington Post in 1982, becoming the paper's Moscow correspondent in 1988. His coverage of the Soviet Union's collapse led to his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1993 book "Lenin's Tomb." His latest book "The Bridge," is a biography of President Barack Obama. He lives in New York with his wife, Esther Fein, and their three children.
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
Looking across the river.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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