Posts from nybooks.com
The Future of New York: A ConversationWith Molly Crabapple, Deborah Eisenberg, Michael Greenberg, Hari Kunzru, and Jana Prikryl At the close of one of the city’s most challenging years, New York Review contributors Molly Crabapple, Deborah Eisenberg, Michael Greenberg, and Hari Kunzru come together to discuss a future of resilience and renewal for New York. Moderated by Jana Prikryl, a senior […]
Maradona and MeIn January 1986, I became the South American bureau chief for a US magazine. It was not a happy marriage, and from the beginning I showed that I was not up to the job. A few weeks into my assignment, my editor phoned me. "We have a great story for you!" he burbled. I said that was wonderful. "We're going to put you on the cover!" he exclaimed further, and I said that was wonderful too. Bursting with excitement, he said, "It's Maradona!" There was a pause, and then I asked, "Where is that?" The silence that followed between us was to be never ending.
What Thucydides Knew About the US TodayHistorians argue among themselves whether Thucydides is a moralizing philosopher or, in a common phrase, “the first scientific historian.” What is radical about him, and gives him his unerring clear-sightedness, is that he is both. He understands morals, not as a set of arbitrary rules imposed or wished upon reality, but part of the fabric of reality itself, in the same way that Greek philosophy had begun to understand physical laws as inseparable from reality. Thucydides came to the same insight that Ludwig Wittgenstein recorded centuries later when he wrote that ethics “must be a condition of the world like logic.” In the two years since the 2016 US election, it seems ever more clear that Thucydides is the greatest historian not only of empire but also of contemporary politics.4