Magazine May 25, 2009, Issue

The Bent Pin

Pleasantly Peasantry

The sudden transformation of the American consumer from drunken sailor to Silas Marner is the talk of the economic meltdown. After barely a year of hard times, we have turned into a nation of newly minted pennypinchers.

Many of the commentators are plainly nonplused in the head-shaking, who’d-a-thunk-it fashion. Other reactions have been more sonorous, like Time’s cover story “The New Frugality,” which muses over what it all says about the direction of the national character. Will we, they ask, revert to our spendthrift ways when the economy improves, telling ourselves as we have in the past that our spending

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Socialized Failure

The health-care systems of all developed countries face three unrelenting problems: rising costs, inadequate quality, and incomplete access to care. A slew of recent articles, published mainly in medical journals, ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Diagnosis

We are bombarded with messages about the need for health-care reform. But we are not always clear about the problem we are trying to solve. Most Americans are satisfied with ...
Politics & Policy

Placebo

The key congressional committees have yet to introduce the legislation that will carry Democrats’ hopes for “universal coverage” — i.e., a government guarantee that all Americans will have health insurance, ...
Politics & Policy

Prescription

The most powerful constituency in the debate over the future of health care in the United States comprises those families enrolled in stable, employer-based health plans run by large and ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Hinge of History

In this important debut book, Michael Kimmage — a young scholar who promises to become one of America’s preeminent intellectual historians — addresses himself to the journeys of two Columbia ...
Politics & Policy

Four Nights

Salzburg, Austria The summer festival that takes place here in this fair city is a very big deal: probably the most prominent music festival in the world. It stretches for ...
Politics & Policy

A Strange Voyage

Across more than 40 years of Star Trek — the five television incarnations, the eleven motion pictures, the galaxy knows how many novels — there have been few sequences as ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ In a recent press conference, a New York Times reporter asked President Obama what had “enchanted” him the most during his first 100 days as president. Obama might have ...
The Bent Pin

The Bent Pin

Pleasantly Peasantry The sudden transformation of the American consumer from drunken sailor to Silas Marner is the talk of the economic meltdown. After barely a year of hard times, we have ...
The Long View

The Long View

The Literary Arlen Specter From the Oresteia of Aeschylus, trans. Arlen Specter: [Enter Chorus of Argive elders, very old men who carry staves to help them stand up. As they speak, servants ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE INHERITANCE Blond, you favored your mother, But named John, after your dad, You inherited all he had: A farm in debt, an old hound, Long-horns and Rhode Island Reds, Guinea and pea fowl, A family of ...
Happy Warrior

Happy Warrior

I was in one of those hotels where they give you the New York Times whether you want it or not. And, even if you leave it in the corridor, ...

Most Popular

Film & TV

Bowing Down to Obama

‘How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” political podcaster Yvette Carnell joked two years ago when Barack Obama began his comeback tour by making sideline pronouncements about the state of the nation after his brief retirement. Now the comeback is official, with two new Kool-Aid-drinker Obama ... Read More
Film & TV

Bowing Down to Obama

‘How can we miss you when you won’t go away?” political podcaster Yvette Carnell joked two years ago when Barack Obama began his comeback tour by making sideline pronouncements about the state of the nation after his brief retirement. Now the comeback is official, with two new Kool-Aid-drinker Obama ... Read More
Media

Wajahat Ali, Ctd.

I gather he didn’t like my comment on his New York Times op-ed on the folly of reaching out to Trump supporters. He snipes, “I await The National Review’s piece on reaching out to Biden voters and reading about their ‘elegy’ and understanding their ‘economic anxiety.’” After the 2016 election, ... Read More
Media

Wajahat Ali, Ctd.

I gather he didn’t like my comment on his New York Times op-ed on the folly of reaching out to Trump supporters. He snipes, “I await The National Review’s piece on reaching out to Biden voters and reading about their ‘elegy’ and understanding their ‘economic anxiety.’” After the 2016 election, ... Read More
Books

Three Cheers for the Quiet Ones

People often dismiss shy, quiet characters in literature. Readers prefer to identify with Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, or Anne Shirley -- those delightful, bold, and charming characters who made a deep impression on us when we first encountered them. While there’s nothing wrong with emulating or admiring these ... Read More
Books

Three Cheers for the Quiet Ones

People often dismiss shy, quiet characters in literature. Readers prefer to identify with Jo March, Elizabeth Bennett, or Anne Shirley -- those delightful, bold, and charming characters who made a deep impression on us when we first encountered them. While there’s nothing wrong with emulating or admiring these ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More
Economy & Business

Shopping Superstitions

It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses. This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ... Read More