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Edward Champion
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Writer, journalist, producer of The Bat Segundo Show
Writer, journalist, producer of The Bat Segundo Show

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G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology was a bleak volume about a mathematician ready to throw in the towel not long after sixty. And yet, as I argued with its ideas about human accomplishment, "trivial" pursuits, and "useful" knowledge, I found myself summoning unexpected hope and positivism that I didn't entirely realize that I possessed, which I chronicle at length in my latest Modern Library essay. If you're feeling down in light of recent events, you may want to pick up this small book and argue with it yourself!
http://www.edrants.com/a-mathematicians-apology-modern-library-nonfiction-87/

My latest Modern Library essay on Richard Feynman's SIX EASY PIECES is up. I was somewhat underwhelmed by this volume, in large part because Feynman's teachings are perhaps better experienced in person or through his YouTube videos. And I question the method of barraging students with relentless information, especially when Feynman was very good (when he wasn't mangling his teaching metaphors) at inspiring humans to feel wonder about how science has altered existence. http://www.edrants.com/six-easy-pieces-modern-library-nonfiction-88/

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My latest Modern Library essay on Annie Dillard's poetic masterpiece Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is now up. I was deeply moved by this book, which follows in Thoreau's noble footsteps and opened up a floodgate of childhood memories in me, demanded that I seek out more wonder and marvel in the universe. If you need a pick-me-up in these dark times, I urge you to read this incredible volume, which is just as beautiful and soul-shifting as it was when it was published in 1974.
http://www.edrants.com/pilgrim-at-tinker-creek-modern-library-89/

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I've looked at the facts and the numbers and there may be a way to create a Senate blockade against Trump. It involves a Louisiana runoff race and wooing a few moderates.
http://www.edrants.com/the-silver-lining-a-potential-bipartisan-senate-blockade-to-stop-trump/

It took me months to read this fascinating thirteen volume set, but I have at long last read James George Frazer's The Golden Bough, which not only changed everything I thought I knew about storytelling and myth, but had me considering how rituals continue to define us even without religion.
http://www.edrants.com/the-golden-bough-modern-library-nonfiction-90/

This is my first radio journalism in many months. Last night, I attended the protests at Trump Tower. I talked with anti-Trump activists, people who voted for Gary Johnson, people who voted for Trump, and people who didn't vote at all. My 32 minute investigation revealed a number of truths that we're very much going to have to take very seriously as a nation.
http://www.edrants.com/loser-a-report-from-the-trump-tower-protests/

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It's been some months since I last published a Modern Library essay, but my latest one on Ralph Ellison's SHADOW AND ACT is now available for your reading pleasure. In addition to diligently tracking down the critic who called INVISIBLE MAN "a literary race riot" (a mystery that has been unsolved for decades; I had generous help from biographer Arnold Rampersad, who is a good guy), I've also offered worked in some strong opinions I have about the recent Lionel Shriver controversy (among others) in my examination as to why Ellison's call for respecting other people's identities is still just as necessary today as it was fifty years ago. I was very much inspired by Ellison this year and read everything by and about him that I could get my hands on. And I hope my essay gets you to read or reread the man too.
http://www.edrants.com/shadow-and-act-modern-library-nonfiction-91/

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This afternoon, I performed a little journalism, conducting a detailed investigation into Jessica Leeds's claim of sexual assault from Donald J. Trump. I contacted Leeds herself, aviation experts, and numerous former employees on the airline she flew on. Leeds's detail about the flexible armrest absolutely checks out. And Katrina Pierson lied through her teeth to Don Lemon.
http://www.edrants.com/exclusive-debunking-trumps-lies-jessica-leedss-flight-had-movable-armrests/

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This is the first in an ongoing series of posts examining dialogue that reveals bad storytelling. In this installment, I tackle "That's interesting," "I hope I'm not interrupting," and "Start from the beginning. Tell us what happened."
http://www.edrants.com/how-to-spot-lines-that-reveal-bad-storytelling-part-one/
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