The Wednesday Curator – 5/20/15

May 20, 2015

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World out there! David Letterman offered his own take on that space for more than 33 years, and will wrap up his run tonight. David Letterman, Prickly Late-Night Innovator, Counts Down to His Exit by John Koblin for the New York Times on May 19 recounts the final days. Bye, bye, Dave!

From the politics desk, here’s Jeb Bush’s Many Problems by David Frum—he who created the term “axis of evil”—for The Atlantic on May 20. Also from The Atlantic, and missed when it came out, there’s The Paranoid Style of Ted Cruz by David Ludwig. And from Slate, here’s Zack Kopplin’s May 19 piece, A Creationist Campaign, subtitled Louisiana students are suffering for Bobby Jindal’s presidential ambitions.

Elizabeth Drew has written an excellent piece, How Money Runs Our Politics, for the June 4 issue of The New York Review of Books. Ms. Drew’s knowledge base allows her to provide insights into what we have become, thanks to Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and other court opinions. Not pretty, but it explains why we have a campaign like the own we can expect in 2016.

I really enjoyed The Engineer’s Lament by Malcom Gladwell, published in the New Yorker’s May 4 issue. The piece focuses on how engineers work and think, but it also provides insights into an anecdotal society, where shock value matters and, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

Also from the social science perspective, there’s Why It Pays to Be a Jerk, written for The Atlantic by Jerry Useem for the magazine’s June 2015 issue. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m not buying its premise. Readers, if any of you read the piece and think I really do need to read it, please let me know. Thanks.

People like lists. Anthony Bourdain wrote 13 Places to Eat Before You Die for Men’s Health in 2011. I first saw the piece on Monday, when I was in line at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. (On the About page there’s some history, which explains the reference to Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue.) Anyway, here’s what we ate, (and it was excellent):


Burnt Ends and Fries

Burnt Ends and Fries

Ribs and Slaw

Ribs and Slaw

Mr. Bourdain’s list is no longer doable, as Hot Doug’s—mentioned recently—closed its doors. I’ve eaten at three of the remaining 12 places—the cheapest three, for sure—but I do have a reference point for the future.


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