All posts tagged: common knowledge

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Platform Your Enemies – The Atlantic

Platform Your Enemies – The Atlantic

“Never touch your idols,” Flaubert wrote in Madame Bovary, “for the gilding will stick to your fingers.” A few days ago, Roya Hakakian argued in The Atlantic that meeting your enemies is even less hygienic. Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran, “Has Blood on His Hands,” the headline announced. Raisi had been asked to address the Council on Foreign Relations, and Hakakian wrote in a statement that the invitation was “a political baptism” for a depraved man. Previous Iranian presidents have included a Holocaust denier, but Raisi’s depravity crossed a line: Courts had determined that he ran a policy of mass killings of dissidents in the 1980s. “There is an important distinction between [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who denies an evil,” she wrote, “and Raisi, who has committed one.” Roya Hakakian: Ebrahim Raisi has blood on his hands I see things differently: The more odious the geopolitical figure, the more urgent the invitation. Like Hakakian, I am a member of CFR. And yesterday, I, along with a handful of others, attended the Raisi event. The meeting was …