Meditation for Strivers

Published in
The New Yorker
July 10, 2014

One might fault Harris for not having moved to the Himalayas to become a monk (or to the outer boroughs to become a social worker). This failure of commitment is what Slavoj Žižek means, in part, when he calls Buddhism a Western “fetish,” and yet to expect it to be otherwise seems to me either to overstate the power of meditation or to understate that of capitalist ideology. It burdens the possibly helpful with having to be a spiritual or political panacea. 

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Apocalypse Now and Forever

Published in
New York Magazine
July 10, 2011

If Vonnegut speaks to the eternal adolescent mind, it’s because he so ably inhabits its favorite moods: hellacious pessimism and utopian love. How he balances the two—if he balances them, really—is an open question, and part of the wonder. His work relates fundamental horror in a tone that’s zesty, warm, and somehow consoling. One finishes a Vonnegut book weirdly buoyed by the prospect of apocalypse.

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