Michael Patrick Brady



“When a city starts out fairly small and specialized, over a long period there will be a substantial chance that it will lose enough coin flips that it effectively loses any reason to exist.”


“But as more companies have outsourced more functions over more time, a strong body of evidence is emerging that it’s not just about efficiency.”


“If ‘the left’ insists on reducing these individuals down to these unflattering characteristics and refuses to see them in full, then they’re going to invite a well-deserved backlash.”


“Many men in America right now have little to offer women. They do not live up to either to the old, chauvinistic standards for adult men or the new, egalitarian ones… They think they’d be better off under a return to high-school norms.”


“Robert Kedzie had delivered his own verdict: arsenical wallpapers must be eliminated from the state. In 1874 he collected numerous wallpaper samples… and had them bound into 100 books…”


“How can a great and wise civilization have destroyed itself so completely?”

“Perhaps,” said Apollo, “by being materially great and materially wise, and nothing else.”


Movie Review


Movie Review
Star Wars: The Force Awakens


“Clinton, like Obama before her, isn’t carrying just her own baggage, but will stand in as the symbolic target for those whose fury at increased female autonomy has been building.”


Recommended: “Murmurings,” a short story by Jane Buchbinder in Post Road.



“The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.”


“However much Americans ‘support’ and ‘respect’ their troops, they are not involved with them, and that disengagement inevitably leads to dangerous decisions the public barely notices.”


“The supervisor handbook for American Airlines stated, ‘A stewardess must be attractive. We can sometimes pretend a person is attractive, if we admire them for some other reason. This should be avoided.'”


“The same people who had tried to disenfranchise the city’s black population… were suddenly behaving as if Barry had invented ethnic patronage, as if it hadn’t been a way of life for whites in ethnic enclaves in big cities…”


“I don’t know why they hate us so much,” he said. “It seems like police are about to go to war with the people.”


“These top-down assaults serve a political purpose. If poor people have made themselves poor, then economic inequality and the dismantling of the welfare state are justified.”


“According to one multicity study, in a single week, nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers had, on average, 15 percent of their pay stolen by their employers.”


Who Tweets? “Brands, and people who believe themselves to be brands.”


Hey, so Liars released a new album today, and it’s made all other music, past, present, and future, irrelevant. Listen!


Joan Silber’s Fools was named as a finalist for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. And they were nice enough to blurb my review in the announcement.


“The problem with Christie isn’t merely that he is a bully. It’s that his political career is built on a rotten foundation.”


“You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”


It’s long and unwieldy, but Tom Scocca’s “On Smarm” does a fairly good job of dissecting the insidious way substantive criticism is dismissed in the name of “civility.”


“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that … a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world… This opinion expresses a crude and naïve trust in … the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” Pope Francis puts capitalism on blast.

It’s both hilarious and strangely appropriate that Morrissey got Penguin to give the Penguin Classics cover treatment.


“A study published in the journal PLOS Medicine estimated that 461,000 Iraqis died directly and indirectly from the war during 2003-2011.”


Spotted on the train: a woman using a paper Wall Street Journal to prop up her iPad, on which she is reading the Wall Street Journal #printisdead


“In the recent history of management ideas, few have had a more profound — or pernicious — effect than the one that says corporations should be run in a manner that ‘maximizes shareholder value.'”


“Somewhere in your home there is button which could erase civilization. And then you come to this place and find yourself disarmed.”


“If you treat consumers with respect and treat employees with respect, good things are going to happen to you.” The CostCo model.


It’s a 401(k) world, and it sucks.


Philip Roth: Unmasked

My job is what Chekov said that the job of an artist was, which is ‘the proper presentation of the problem.’

The obligation of the writer is not to provide the solution to a problem. That’s the job of a legislator, a leader, a crusader, a revloutionary, a warrior, and so on.


The animated headline infographic HuffPo ran yesterday to depict the gun deaths since Newtown is stunning, and an example of how print media doesn’t stand a chance.


“The world is changing in ways that make Republicans’ platform of smaller government and lower taxes less desirable and therefore less saleable.”


The Way We Live. Striking aerial photos of neighborhood development patterns.


Pretty striking to hear references to Seneca Falls and Stonewall in an inaugural address.


“It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that a low-income student, no matter how intrinsically bright, moves up the socioeconomic ladder.” The growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions.


68 Blocks. The Globe chronicles a year in Dorchester’s Geneva-Bowdoin neighborhood.


If you couldn’t stay up to 2 a.m. for the President’s acceptance speech, I encourage you to watch it now. Possibly one of the greatest political speeches ever given.


It’s election day! #swag


Movie Review:


“White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being.”


Rick Perlstein reveals the history of the marketing con game embedded in modern conservatism’s DNA.


New DNC ad brings the heat


What’s the truth behind Mitt Romney’s 47% figure?

(NYT) Mr. Romney’s figure of 47 percent may come from the Tax Policy Center, which found that 46.4 percent of households paid no federal income tax in 2011. But most households did pay payroll taxes. Of the 18.1 percent of households that paid neither income taxes nor payroll taxes, the center found that more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had incomes under $20,000.

(Ezra Klein) Here’s the policy two-step behind Romney’s remarks: Republicans have spent years cutting income taxes and increasing things like the Child tax Credit. This means fewer people pay income taxes. So whenever you hear a stat like “47% don’t pay income taxes,” remember: Reagan and Bush helped build that. These tax cuts for the poor were partly in order to make further tax cuts for the rich political palatable. But now that fewer people pay income taxes as a result of GOP policies, they’re being called lazy and dependent. And thus the GOP’s tax cuts are being used to make a case that the rich are overtaxed and that the less-rich are becoming dependent. Which thus leads to a policy agenda of tax cuts for the rich and cuts to social services for the non-rich.


Pretty much sums it up.

(Atrios): Post-9/11 the worst people in the world, the worst most incompetent people in the world, were hailed as the strong daddies who kept us safe. After they let 9/11 happen due to gross incompetence and stupidity, and after they set in motion a chain of events which killed hundreds of thousands of people.

More: The Deafness Before the Storm (NYT)


The church is tired.” Jesuit cardinal calls for radical change in posthumous interview.




Michael Chabon follows James Joyce to “the end of English” through Finnegans Wake.


Cocteau Twins vocals + Duty-Now era Devo beats = Grimes. Check out the video for “Oblivion.”


“He believes that fairness is defined by market outcomes. To the extent that unfairness exists, it is solely the doing of government: clean energy, laws permitting union dues, overpaid government employees, and so on.” Romney’s perverse ‘fairness.’


“‘Socialism for the rich’ was supposed to be a joke. The truth is that it is now genuinely the way the global economy is working.” Marx at 193.


The new Old Colony housing project was completed Monday, and it’s beautiful. A wonderful upgrade for the residents and the neighborhood.


The White House released a huge infographic detailing how gas prices work and what the administration’s energy policy is. Great stuff.


Pretty obsessed with the Beach Boys’ “Surf’s Up” these days.


“A strategic document from [his] 2007 campaign lists “perfect hair” among [his] flaws.” And 98 other fun Romney facts from ThinkProgress.


I’ve been blurbed on the back of of Amir Alexander’s Duel at Dawn


Movie Review:


“We may still celebrate Labor Day, but our culture has given up on honoring workers as the real creators of wealth and their honest toil as worthy of genuine respect”


“Liberal critics of Obama generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. “


“Republicans [have] moved to a mental Shangri-La, where unwanted problems can be wished away, prejudice trumps fact, expertise is evidence of error, and reality itself comes to be regarded as some kind of elitist plot.”


Apparently nobody uses AIM anymore. This article actually made me sad. I still remember the panic and anxiety that gripped BC during the Great Three-Day AIM Blackout of 2002.


Obama is a pragmatist.


Jimmy Carter interview on Real Time. Great president? Or greatest president?


The new ALARM Magazine website is live, and it looks awesome. Stay tuned for my features on Matmos and Liars.


FEED Magazine, which I credit as an inspiration, closed in 2001. They just put their archives back online.


Just received my copy of the new Menomena record, Mines. Had a great time interviewing them for ALARM when their last album came out.


Happy International Worker’s Day!


John Tesh is a pretty cool dude.


Chris Ware’s rejected Fortune 500 cover. I love micro-detailed drawings like this.


“It’s a conundrum. But Jesus was resurrected after three days, and you can visit Muhammad’s grave.” William Langewiesche talks to a military sniper.


Kelefa Sanneh on the protean nature of white culture and identity.


“The Federal Republic is not the place for an urban guerrilla movement in the Latin American style. The country offers, at most, suitable conditions for a gangster drama.”


Through the Sparks has a new album coming out March 23rd: Worm Moon Waining. They’re offering three new singles, plus all their previous material, including the excellent Lazarus Beach as free downloads at their website.


Papyrus is the new Comic Sans.


Whit Stillman talks to Charlie Rose about writing, making films, and how Americans misunderstand what’s great about Paris.


“This is just entry level to what’s coming. Just the appalling volume of artifacts will erase all meaning that they could ever possibly have. But we probably won’t get that far anyway.” Cormac McCarthy in the WSJ.


Pictures like this make me glad they fixed the Hubble.


“Don’t waste time bandying words with philistines and crackpots.” — Marcus Aurelius


This site is now running on Bluehost, as I’ve finally gotten fed up with Yahoo! Web Hosting.


“Being an English major prepares you for impersonating authority” —Garrison Keillor


Not surprised to see the Jesuits raising this issue. Good for them.


Richard Wagner – Vorspiel


Mike Rowe on the importance of hard work.


It’s unfortunate that Malia has to use a Kodak camera simply because it’s American made. Their cameras are poorly made and prone to failure.


Theater Review:


Movie Review:


New William Langewiesche article on the mid-air collision of a Boeing 737 and a private jet over Brazil in 2006, at Vanity Fair.


Movie Review:


The perils of popular young-adult lit.


Prescience in Satire:

The OnionJanuary 17th, 2001 | Bush also promised… that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years… Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession… a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs…


Powerful photos of Barack Obama on the campaign trail.


Hodgman on Writing:

…to become that might be thrown your way, from hot dogs to hangover cures, the cellular process of aging, and to present yourself as such an authority with utter fraudulency and a completely straight face. And then to dump all that information out of your brain and start again…


Movie Review:
Burn After Reading
4 Stars


Sad: they’ve retired the Stealth Fighter. Seeing it fly at the Hanscom Air Show in 1997 was a real thrill.


Why I Love Massachusetts:

[Democratic State Senate candidate] Chang-Di­az will face a little-known Socialist Workers Party candidate, William Theodore Leonard, in the Nov. 4 general election. There is no Republican candidate.


Movie Review:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
1 Star


The New Yorker has a thing for self-harming psychiatric disorders:
The Itch. Lesch-Nyhan.


Mad Men returns on July 27th, looking to inherit the title of best cable drama now that The Wire is finished. This NYT profile of its creator is a nice aperitif.


If only the Bible were as well written as Paradise Lost. It’s… inspired.


“I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” It’s Bloomsday.


“Measured against the problem we face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know…”


Q: What do the Daytona 500, Britney Spears, great sandwiches, and I have in common?

A: Yahoo thinks we’re important.

Yahoo Serious