The New York Times Magazine

Men Behaving Badly

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation
October 13, 2002 |

When you work at a car dealership, you spend a lot of time standing around, but that does not mean you relax. How can you, with the manager constantly hovering over you and the strains of "We Will Rock You" or some other sales-meeting anthem ricocheting around your brain? You've got to be on, you've got to be pumped, you've got to be ready to pursue a car that noses into the lot, and then be standing right there, hand extended, when the wary customer steps out. Body language is vital.

The Young and The Restless

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation

I've always been fond of the movie "A Summer Place," one of those late-50's Technicolor melodramas that can barely contain the enormous and genuine emotions it evokes. Its subject is the dangers for teenagers of sexual repression, and the dangers for their parents of lying to them about it -- quite a radical subject when you think about it, though sometimes it's hard to with the made-for-Muzak theme song swelling on the soundtrack.

Hysteria Hysteria

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation

Last fall, something peculiar began to happen at more than two dozen elementary and middle schools scattered across the country. Suddenly, groups of children started breaking out with itchy red rashes that seemed to fade away when the children went home -- and to pop up again when they returned to school. Frustratingly for the federal, state and county health officials who were working to explain this ailment, it did not conform to any known patterns of viral or bacterial illness.

Girls Just Want to Be Mean

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation
February 24, 2002 |

Today is Apologies Day in Rosalind Wiseman's class -- so, naturally, when class lets out, the girls are crying. Not all 12 of them, but a good half. They stand around in the corridor, snuffling quietly but persistently, interrogating one another. "Why didn't you apologize to me?" one girl demands. "Are you stressed right now?" says another.

Order of Magnitude

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation
December 30, 2001 |

It took awhile to unlearn the number 6,000. Though the estimated death toll at the World Trade Center has been falling steadily since early October -- and has by now shrunk by half -- the smaller number proved hard to absorb. As late as Thanksgiving, the larger figure was still being cited by disc jockeys and pundits, by Northern Alliance fighters and admirers of Osama bin Laden. Maybe even now it remains embedded in the minds of Americans who have been paying less avid attention to the news than they did in September.

The Year in Ideas: A TO Z. Communal Bereavement & False-Identification Prevention

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation
December 9, 2001 |

Communal Bereavement

Other Woes

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation
November 18, 2001 |

I've been wondering lately what multiculturalism was. I remember, of course, that it was a cause celebre of the 80's and 90's, a big deal on campus, a hot ticket at the Modern Language Association. I remember all the talk about overthrowing the "dead white males" of the old canon and opening it up to the "subaltern" and the "displaced" and the "other." And I figure that along the way it got some good writers included on reading lists, where they should have been in the first place, and some good writers dropped too.

What My Son Wants to Know

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation
September 23, 2001 |

Because airline travel has become a matter of tedium or fear for adults, it is easy to forget that for children, it was something magical. For them, it was friendly visits to the cockpit, stick-on wings and half-forbidden sodas given to them by flight attendants, cotton-candy clouds outside and a toy world below. National Airport is one of the few in the country you can fly into and know you are not gliding over some anonymous landscape but are nearly home, if home it is.

Generations

  • By
  • Debra Dickerson,
  • New America Foundation
September 9, 2001 |

Founded in 1881 in an Atlanta church basement by two Yankee missionaries, Spelman College is America's oldest school for black women. For decades, it turned out a steady stream of Latin-quoting teachers to staff America's segregated classrooms. In the parlance of the day, Spelman women were a credit to their race, lifting as they climbed. But like that of the larger African-American community it served, its vision grew grander over time. By the 1990's, Spelman was rated one of the best liberal arts colleges in the South and among the top 10 colleges for blacks.

The Shyness Syndrome

  • By
  • Margaret Talbot,
  • New America Foundation

In the social evolution of a new psychological syndrome, there may be no moment more important than the appearance of its first celebrity victims.

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