Some Parental Wisdom, Easily Dispensed

I’ve been a parent now for some 1281 days. In that time, I’ve learned a few things and been disabused of many misconceptions. Here is a potted summary: Parents are important, but they aren’t the only game in town. Your child is being exposed to a great deal else: other children (the dread ‘peer group’);Continue reading “Some Parental Wisdom, Easily Dispensed”

Punjab, Palestine, Israel: Refugee Resonances

The way I first heard the story of the Jews from my mother it was about refugees, endlessly wandering from expulsion to expulsion, who had finally found a home. The first history of the creation of Israel I read introduced me to the Palestinians; they were refugees too. And I had learned, long before, thatContinue reading “Punjab, Palestine, Israel: Refugee Resonances”

Margaret Sullivan Won’t Miss Five Things About The NYT; Here Are Two More

Margaret Sullivan–“the media columnist for The Washington Post….former Public Editor of The New York Times“–lists the five things she won’t miss about the New York Times: 1. The inherent tension of the job. The whole concept of coming to work every day to handle complaints, and maybe to criticize work done at the next deskContinue reading “Margaret Sullivan Won’t Miss Five Things About The NYT; Here Are Two More”

Neera Tanden And A Cultural ‘Obsession With Hierarchy’

Over at his blog, Corey Robin details an interesting Twitter spat with Neera Tanden–“the person who many think will be Hillary Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff….the head of the Center for American Progress, the Democratic Party think tank that works closely with the Clintons.” Tanden is an arch-defender of Hillary Clinton–which is unsurprising given the passions political allegiances canContinue reading “Neera Tanden And A Cultural ‘Obsession With Hierarchy’”

Brexit, Shmexit: Schadenfreude And How The Old Eat The Young

Old habits die hard. I like watching England lose: in soccer and in cricket mainly, but I’ll admit to cheering for Napoleon too. (I morbidly continue to study the Battle of Waterloo, hoping again and again that that damn fool Grouchy will show up.) English self-destructiveness–think David Beckham during the 1998 World Cup, and theContinue reading “Brexit, Shmexit: Schadenfreude And How The Old Eat The Young”

Hiking The Devil’s Path In One Day: Because It’s There

The Catskills’ Devil’s Path is considered one of the Northeast’s toughest hiking trails–thanks to its 24.2 mile end-to-end length, elevation gain of nine thousand feet, its steep sections which require scrambling up rocks and tree trunks, and in the summer, its devilish lack of water.  Hiking it it one-day remains a serious challenge; yesterday myContinue reading “Hiking The Devil’s Path In One Day: Because It’s There”

Tony Judt On A Pair Of Intellectual Sins

In The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and The French Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1998, p. 121), Tony Judt writes of Albert Camus: One of the things that he had to come to dislike the most about Parisian intellectuals was their conviction that they had something to say about everything, and that everythingContinue reading “Tony Judt On A Pair Of Intellectual Sins”

The Battle Of Winterfell And The Napoleonic Wars

The prelude to the Battle of Winterfell looked familiar: two armies arrayed at dawn, glaring suspiciously at each other across a patch of land soon to be called a battlefield, horses nervously and impatiently pawing at the ground in front of them, weary soldiers waiting for the slaughter and carnage that has always been theContinue reading “The Battle Of Winterfell And The Napoleonic Wars”

The Most Valuable Philosophical Lesson Of All

I’m often asked–by non-academics, natch–if anything in my philosophical education has been of value to me in the conduct of my lived life. I have found this question hard to answer in the terms my interlocutors demand, largely because is because posed to me in what I call ‘lock-key’ form: is there a lock youContinue reading “The Most Valuable Philosophical Lesson Of All”

My First Phone Number

I grew up–till the age of eleven–without a telephone in my household. A phone line was a rarity–expensive, hard to obtain with a long waiting line–even for the Indian middle-class, and in any case my family lived for the most part on air force stations. But even when we lived in the city, we madeContinue reading “My First Phone Number”