Three Sensible Newspaper Items (On Touchy Topics)

OK, I know, the first part of this headline is in the proud tradition of "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative." But we have so much excitement with the Olympics and so on that I figure we can use a little blanding-down.

From the actual printed newspaper* today:

"Raising Successful Children," in the NYT. Sanity rather than insanity.

"The Gore Vidal You Didn't Know," by Mike Mewshaw in the WaPo. My only glancing in-person encounter with Vidal was via my friend Mewshaw, who saw a lot of Vidal over the years, especially while both were living in Italy. Convincing presentation of what made Vidal attractive and repulsive.

"The British Gift to American Letters," by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, in the NYT. Points that ring so true to me that I wish I'd made them myself. Hmmm, come to think of it....

While I'm at it, a bonus fourth-and-fifth: "oh calm down" essays about perils of the cyber-age, by James Gleick and Daniel Wegner, both in the NYT.
* Actual printed newspaper: always more enjoyable, especially on weekends; necessary on self-defense grounds during the Olympics, to avoid results-spoilers splashed on newspaper home pages; and feasible on the back porch today, since for some odd reason none of the normal neighborhood leaf-blower crews are at work. Maybe the lairds people that hire them decided to spend this weekend in town.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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