We've spent more than 60 years dissecting Willy Loman, the character artfully sketched by Arthur Miller in "Death of a Salesman." Willy is, perhaps, America's consummate loser, a failure to his family. But if you can bear with me for one moment, imagine he lived in current times, not amid the postwar prosperity of 1949.
Vanity Fair's profile of the ex-governor reminds us that even when it seems we've accepted that a woman can have a job and still love her children, some people still think it's fair to judge a female public figure on the basis of what kind of parent—and wife—she is.
Blacks are still not as happy, overall, as whites, but in seminal new research, economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers found that the gap between black and white happiness has declined by about 40 percent. Wolfers said: "It is the largest and most important change in happiness for any population I have ever seen."
The fact that Sarah Palin wants to call herself a feminist is astonishing. It's not that she is conservative—there have been plenty of conservative, eccentric, and outlier feminists in history. It's that it has been such an unloved, if proud, term for so long that it is odd to watch it being fought over.
It was hard to believe BP when it announced oil had stopped gushing into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, July 15. It had taken 87 days. There was relief but little jubilation: it will take many years to clean the shores and the birds, and for the sea to begin to repair itself from the onslaught of poisonous oil. Surely we can no longer call it a "spill"—it seems too light and trite a word.
Something pretty creepy has been happening to conservative women lately. There seems to be an insistent, increasingly excitable focus on the supposed hotness of Republican women in the public eye, like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, and Nikki Haley—not to mention veterans like Ann Coulter. The sexual references are pervasive: they come from left, right, and center, and range from gushing to highly offensive.
Australia has a mottled history of hyping, then savaging, women who are touted as potential leaders of national parties. With the Labor Party coup by Julia Gillard—who ousted a sitting prime minister and got her the job—the nation has finally moved on.
A global movement for Internet freedom sprang from the Iranian protests. A BBC poll found four in five people around the globe think access to the Internet is a fundamental right. We should target the "dirty dozen" countries that have Internet-access restrictions in place.
And why nations with more progressive attitudes about homosexuality are happier and healthier.