Posts Tagged ‘religion’


Monday, March 19th, 2012

Thrifty readers! I’m really happy to report that two of the Turkey-related stories I wrote for the New Yorker are now available for free! Click here to read about Neolithic man, here for restaurant criticism, and here to buy this man a sandwich:


“Information must belong to the people!”


Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Dear readers! I am happy to relate that my article on Göbekli Tepe is on (U.S.) newsstands right now, in the December 19 – 26 issue of the New Yorker.

As a special online supplement, I have decided to share with you today a glimpse into the writer-editor negotiating process (a recurring theme in my life and thoughts). I submit for your consideration an excerpt from an email in which my super-heroic editor was trying to get me to cut some lines that he said were confusing (he was right, they were confusing):

… Do you think you could reconsider on this last matter? I did everything else… and, by way of compromise, restoring the balance back toward subjectivity and misreading, I’ve added back a penis joke elsewhere! The one about the samovar… x L

This kind and tactful message really made me think about how I am perceived as a writer, viz. as someone who is always trying to include more penis jokes. It’s not an unjust perception. My first New Yorker piece this year, a profile of Istanbul football fanatics, referenced a penis-related viral video phenomenon; next I wrote a rather melancholy excursus on birdwatching in Kars, which nonetheless included a lighthearted mention of the duck holding the highest vertebrate penis-to-body-length ratio.



Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Shout-outs to three valued readers:

1. Anya von Bremzen, for her observation that the spectral tarsier basically just is Cheburashka.

02-08SpectacledTarsierBIG ceburaska


2. Carolyn Drake, for more amazing pictures from her Kars trip, which coincided, somewhat-luckily for posterity, with an illegal bear shooting at a garbage dump in Sarıkamış:



3. Bernard Schwartz of the Unterberg Poetry Center, for sending along “Loving a Saint” by Sarah Lindsay – he was reminded of this beautiful poem while reading my article about Kars:



Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

A brief outtake from “Natural Histories” (New Yorker, 24 October 2011):

Although Çağan and I both eventually went to Stanford for grad school, we rarely crossed paths. One day, however, I received an announcement for a lecture he was giving on the wildlife of Sulawesi, Indonesia, where religious warfare had overshadowed the endemic fauna, including “tiny primates that look like gremlins.” As I contemplated the attached image of a spectral tarsier—its enigmatic little face, meek half-smile and gigantic eyes—I was deeply impressed by the range of human and nonhuman endeavor on earth. Right across campus in the literature department, I was studying the mimetic theory of religious and sacrificial violence. Had it ever occurred to me to think of the saucer-eyed creatures living out their parallel existences in the underbrush?

Cover image expansion



Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Eco-conscious readers! I am happy to relate that “Natural Histories,” my profile of conservationist Çağan Şekercioğlu and his badass Kars-based NGO, is on newsstands now in the October 24 issue of the New Yorker, with photography by superstar Carolyn Drake.


I think Çağan was not super-happy with the above photo, because the bird had started to fly away before he had completely released it, and apparently it might look to a bird professional as if he had been holding it wrong. In fact he was holding it fine and nobody’s leg got broken, least of all that of the bird.

The cotton candy didn’t even try to fly away:


Click here for an outtake from the story, plus another very beautiful photograph.