| Jun 29, 2008
I had been trying to learn Mandarin at Beijing Language and Culture University and still had about 3,500 Chinese characters to memorize with two months left in the semester. It was going slowly and, often, not well. So, taking a note...
| Apr 26, 2008
Not long after he became the presumed Republican nominee, John McCain flew to New Orleans to face a skeptical audience -- conservative leaders of the Council for National Policy.
A questioner zeroed in on a topic McCain rarely addresses on the campaign...
| Apr 13, 2008
HELMUT Lachenmann's work is very strange, even by contemporary standards. This preeminent German composer shapes what are essentially noises -- taps, scrapes and rustlings, though made largely by conventional instruments -- into beautiful, even spiritual,...
| Sep 26, 2008
After John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee last month, Steve Cosson, the 40-year-old artistic director of the New York-based theatrical troupe the Civilians, was intrigued by some of the explosive commentary revolving around...
| Sep 30, 2008
When a trendy young theater company announces that its next subject is going to be the explosion of the evangelical Christian movement, snarky parody is a natural expectation. What's surprising about "This Beautiful City," a diverting if curiously earnest...
| Jan 14, 2009
At some point, there's a large and interesting essay to be written on why so much of the most interesting new English-language fiction comes to us from Indian and Irish writers.
When it is, there ought to be a substantial section devoted to Patrick...
| Apr 12, 2009
This is going to date me, but it's true: When I was young, most black ladies wore hats to church. Easter was the true beginning of spring, the day when hats in spring colors blossomed throughout the congregation: yellow, peach, mint, lilac, pink. Even...
| Aug 31, 2009
As reported in several articles in The Times, including the Aug. 21 story, " Obama tries to 'cut through the noise' on healthcare," the president has been forced to address claims from those who oppose his healthcare reform proposal on the grounds that it...
| Aug 19, 2009
When an author with Christopher Caldwell's impeccable conservative credentials glosses Edmund Burke in his book's title, it's a safe bet that he's engaged a question whose implications he believes are absolutely fundamental.
Burke's great masterpiece...
| Jul 29, 2009
| 12:12 PM
Today's topic: Some have made the argument that President Obama's nomination of Francis Collins, a born-again Christian geneticist, to head the National Institutes of Health is a disservice to the science community because it promotes someone who is known...
| Nov 17, 2009
A particularly shrewd political analyst once remarked that Ronald Reagan's great strength as a candidate was that he was "a sincere phony." In the world of electoral realpolitik, that's a compliment.
What the analyst meant was that Reagan had the ability...