I’ve sort of been an anthropologist of modern America, in a non-academic way. Whether it’s Marines or Tupperware salesladies, high end audiophiles or bike couriers, I’m fascinated by the hallmarks of the American tribe.
I’m not a Man U fan at all, but I can’t get enough of Rooney. What a joy to watch!
Probably the biggest influence on my career was the late John Hersey, who, while he was at ‘The New Yorker,’ wrote one of the masterpieces of narrative non-fiction, ‘Hiroshima.’ Hersey was a teacher of mine at Yale, and a friend. He got me to see the possibility of journalism not just as a business but as an art form.
The Tea Party has very close affinities with independent third-party movements like the George Wallace movement. The Tea Party is still inchoate, still trying to figure out what it’s going to become.
I love Memphis, I guess you could say, in the way that you love a brother even if he does sometimes puzzle and sadden and frustrate you. Say what you want about it, it’s an authentic place. I was born and raised in Memphis, and no matter where I go, Memphis belongs to me, and I to it.
Sometimes it takes a brush with eternity – a crash, an illness, some shock to the system – to get you really thinking about what you want to do with your limited time here, and why you’re living on this wobbling dirt clod in the first place.
I find there’s a thin, permeable membrane between journalism and history, and though some academic historians take a dim view of it, I gather a lot of strength and professional inspiration from passing back and forth across it.
I’m not a huge soccer fan, but I follow the sport. I played in high school, a little bit in college, played on various club teams most of my life, and all three of my sons are competitive soccer players and far better than I ever was.
I am not one of those people who believe that MLK achieved more in martyrdom than he could have if he’d lived: imagine what a guiding influence he could have on the world were he still among us.
America is an archipelago of tribes, a land where people form national families of kindred spirits.