Archive

Chad Harbach

It’s time to do away with this distinction between the MFAs and the non-MFAs, the unfree and the free, the caged and the wild. Once we do, perhaps we can venture a new, less normative distinction, based not on the writer’s educational background but on the system within which she earns (or aspires to earn) her living: MFA or NYC. More…

31 October 2012

Now we’ve burned half the available oil, or close to it, and burning it (along with so much coal) has altered the earth’s equilibrium. Our future, like our past, may be virtually free of oil, and global culture, and many of the social safeguards we enjoy. Thus the novel of future catastrophe threatens to become a version of the historical novel. More…

Originally published in Issue 6: Mainstream

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4 May 2011

After Steve Nash edged out Shaquille O’Neal, also known as the Big Aristotle, for this season’s MVP award, the media briefly engaged the typically hush-hush question of race, as several columnists and even an on-air TV analyst (Rex Chapman) wondered aloud whether Nash’s whiteness might not have had something to do with his defeat of Shaq. More…

5 April 2010

The best thing about forcing yourself to watch the endless fourth and fifth games of the Red Sox-Yankees series—eleven hours, twenty-six innings, and 887 pitches worth of baseball within a day’s time—was the way that fatigue so visibly reduced great athletes to human beings. So these guys were not assembled in factories. More…

4 December 2007

We must reject the coercive rhetoric of constant growth, and stop thinking of our way of life (which is so anomalous in the history of the world, and even in the world today) as immutable. This is not a moral challenge, but a practical and philosophical one. Can we think of ourselves sufficiently differently to save ourselves? More…

Originally published in Issue 6: Mainstream

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9 January 2007

When I was in elementary school, we used to play a game that was called “Would you prefer to be frozen or burned alive?” At the time, I always chose frozen. It seemed like it would be possible to just curl up in the snow and die, which I had read about in White Fang. Whereas with burning, what I really imagined was boiling—in a big pot. More…

22 July 2004

Where to go after Infinite Jest? David Foster Wallace’s 1996 opus now looks like the central American novel of the past thirty years, a dense star for lesser work to orbit. More than that: even the writers from whom he borrowed and stole are coming to seem like satellites. More…

Originally published in Issue 1: Negation

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