Monthly Archives: April 2011

State of Journalism and The Atlantic Monthly


‘”The American public used to gather before the electronic hearth every evening”,’ Ted Koppel said in a commentary on journalism’s decline, according to an article in April’s Atlantic Monthly.
The article starts in a way that made me think its author, James Fallows, is going to burst into literary tears about the demise of yesteryear’s journalism. Then, not too far in, Fallows seems to accept journalism’s changes, including what he calls ‘infotainment.’
The Internet may have all but killed print newspapers, but it’s also caused them to be (I would think) more widely read. Now we can obtain information momentarily via mobile, blogs, emails, and even by simply refreshing our iPad pages. Therefore I think journalism has expanded. It has expanded in all forms. There may indeed be more infotainment than ever before, yet there is also more serious (credible) news than ever before.
The more I read The Atlantic lately the more I wonder if it’s this magazine which has dampened its progressive stance, or if it’s I who’s outgrown it. The magazine did recently, after all, publish a piece by Edward Glaeser, a shining example of capitalist fundamentalism and quashing the voices of denizens.
Lighten up, accept change, and evolve. Remaining suspended in homeostasis makes one curmudgeonly and conservative. Then again, I must admit to wanting that every news source to be beautifully liberal as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow or Harper’s magazine or to mitigate reportage on bonehead megalomaniacs such as Donald Trump or Sarah Palin.

Vitriolic Travel Writers Who Don’t Travel There


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Lakshmi found her way to me two days ago when a friend and I popped into the library to return my Annie Dillard book and get him a library card (library membership is contagious). I browsed through the travel guide section for a few authorities on Peru when I stumbled on a book called Don’t Go There: The Travel Detective’s Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World.

Listen to a him on a podcast.

There are thoughts that start entering your mind as if you’re a bona fide author (though for sure I’m not yet there). The title alone and a quite cursory glance through the book caused me initially to assume that it would be full of vitriol and vinegar. Much as China and I didn’t agree, I refuse to attack it in a manner I assumed the author, Peter Greenberg, the travel editor for the Today Show put into his book. I won’t put that much bite into my writing; it’d be so much easier to write straight from the gut like so but it takes more heart and brains to control that tempest. Those of you who know me are well aware of that fact that vitriol may leave my mouth, yet I still believe that some things don’t deserve to be in print– at least not under my name or even under my pseudonym.

In the end, I found the book refreshing and comical and very well researched. It may have had some plucky lines in it for sure, everyone on earth has something to say about some place they’ve been. But instead of saying something asanine like, ‘I wasn’t impressed,’ which is a factor I’m writing about in my book’s current chapter, he sets up the book into chapters that we might title our own conversations: when not to visit places such as DisneyWorld, what’s the stinkiest place on earth, where are the worst roads, what’s the dirtiest locale? He covers disease capitals, worst airports, dangerous places, and even the element of human rights amongst various cultures. Yes, therefore, it is not the sandpaper pen I expected. In fact it brings more humor and ‘wow!’s than offense.

I suggest anyone to read it. It’s a bit contrarian, but that’s why it’s just as useful as a Fodor’s or Lonely Planet guide. It’s also full of trivia that blessedly evokes conversation at dinner parties.

Writing for Blogs: Interior Design posts


Some new work came my way this week. I’m now writing for I’ll have a post every weekday. Check in and discover things about unique staircases that conjure images of both the Yellow Brick Road and Mexican architecture Luis Barragan.
The site also has a page on Facebook.

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