Anna Quindlen

Stories by Anna Quindlen

  • Journalism 101: Human Nature

    A funny thing happened to me on the way to this column. I endorsed a presidential candidate. For those of you who have spent months looking at the television screen over a slice of pizza and saying, "I don't care if Kevin Costner is the Reform Party candidate, I'm voting for George W.," this may not seem remarkable. But in the journalistic profession it is not at all the done thing, even among opinion columnists. Careful readers may see this as vainglorious. If a list of a dozen columnists were to be drawn up and a four-part grid laid out next to it, not unlike one of those "what do your color choices say about you?" quizzes in lifestyle magazines, many could effortlessly drop the pundit into the appropriate box: liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat. Except for Dave Barry, who I suppose is the Jesse Ventura of columnists.But reporters and editors and even opinion columnists are expected, according to the mostly unwritten rules, to be on the outside looking in, to reflect...
  • The Widows And The Wounded

    In the beginning of this year a Gallup poll asked Americans about the three most important issues facing the country. As has happened so often in the past, guns were scarcely mentioned. But by the time the same question was asked in May, the halls of Columbine High School had become a shooting gallery, and suddenly the laundry list of national ills had changed dramatically. The availability of guns trumped race relations; school violence was mentioned twice as often as Social Security. War and peace abroad was barely a blip on the screen compared with gun control at home. And perhaps, in some small way, that poll marked a moment when the American people began to wake up and smell the cordite.Gun laws are an interesting issue in the never-ending civic debate that is this nation, because there is hardly any true debate about them at all. Polls have long shown that the majority of the American people--even the majority of gun owners--support government efforts to make sure guns are...
  • Sound And Fury, Signifying Zip

    The Brooklyn Museum is closed on Tuesdays. So said the guard at the door. No wonder there were no lines, no protesters, no one handing out airsickness bags and copies of the Hail Mary. Some rather conventional cannas in the forecourt waved in a faint breeze, but otherwise the front entrance was still. Standing on the sidewalk seemed oddly apt. Why sully strong opinions by actually seeing the art that evoked them?Oh, for pity's sake, here we go again. The trial of the director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati (Mapplethorpe photographs) begat the imbroglio over performances of "Corpus Christi" (McNally play) begat the current Sturm und Drang about the work of the British artists that's being shown in Brooklyn, particularly the work of the artist of African descent who ornamented a black Virgin Mary with elephant dung. "Sensation," the show is called, but the overwhelming sensation is deja vu all over again. The same polemics, the same slogans by folks who proudly say that...