Posts by author: Susan Zakin

As China becomes an industrial power, minds are changing. Three-quarters of people polled in Hong Kong, a major entrepôt for the ivory trade, want to outlaw the sale of ivory. More than half support an outright ban.

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This time of year I feel the urge to watch old black and white movies, preferably starring Jimmy Stewart. This year, It’s a Wonderful Life is too painful, a reminder of what we used to be but aren’t anymore. I prefer screwball comedies like The Philadelphia Story, with its sympathy for alcoholics and philanderers, and …

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                      The day I stopped being an environmental writer, I was on a river in Madagascar. Stop.  I hate reading stories like this: the Patagonia catalog, Barry Lopez-Gretel Erlich School of Upper Middle Class Environmentalists Finding Meaning on a $10,000 Trip to a Place No …

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As I prepared to go to New York after Hurricane Sandy, I looked for a piece I wrote for the LA Weekly when Katrina hit.  I had sworn off journalism, but found myself reading the online bulletin board on the Times-Picayune website and weeping uncontrollably, so I called my editors in Los Angeles, who were …

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Author’s Note:  I thought this oped was the blandest thing I’d ever written, but when it was published in the Arizona Daily Star, it received 90 comments.  Most attacked me because 1) I was in Starbuck’s and therefore “part of the 1 percent” (full disclosure: I had actually come to buy a bagel at Einstein’s, …

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The Way We Live Now

September 6, 2012 by

When I was fourteen, my cousin, who had moved in with us after her mother died, went away to college. I used to sneak her purple and yellow striped rugby shirt from London out of her remaining dresser drawer and wear it sometimes. I always carefully washed it and folded it before I slipped it …

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Don’t Make Me Laugh

September 3, 2012 by

The recent flap over a rather tasteless crack by Yahoo bureau chief David Chalian at the Republican convention instigated a familiar outcry.  Chalian, who was unaware that a mike was in his vicinity, remarked that the Romneys couldn’t care less about the toll of Hurricane Isaac.  “They’re happy to have a party with black people …

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  I am convinced that Ward Just is God: all-seeing, all-knowing, or at least brilliant, not to mention prescient.  Contemporary reverbs galore in A Family Trust, a 1978 novel about the pillaging of small town America by developers and the passing of the newspaper industry. Thinking of the Drudge Report while reading the old man …

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But the art business had come to disgust him. Later he would remember with a shudder “the nervous anxiety of the bidder’s face…

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After spending a restorative but freezing two nights in a friend’s uninsulated cabin in the Chiricauhua Mountains, I wrote to my friend, telling him I’d be back, but not until April, and ended up confiding about problems I’d been having with someone very close to me.  “It will all be better in the spring, one …

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