Political Prose
The End of the Road

The End of the Road

Hitchhiking has become an anachronism in many parts of the world, along with the trust of strangers that makes it possible, but in The Road Less Traveled, Lita Wong hitches her way through rural Cuba and finds herself relying in unexpected ways on the kindness and decency of the people she meets on the road. Also check out Havel: An Authentic Life, Jan Vihan's essay on the plays of Vaclav Havel, the Czech statesman, revolutionary, and writer who died at the end of last year.

A Dog's Life

A Dog’s Life

A new year is a time for new beginnings, and in Girl's Best Friend, Rebecca Leisher describes how friendship helped her to overcome a self-destructive lifestyle and learn to face life with an authentic confidence. (In Rebecca's case, her friends were dogs.)

‘Only Love Can Make Us Listen to the Truth of Another Person’

‘Only Love Can Make Us Listen to the Truth of Another Person’

Here are words worth pondering from the recent funeral service for Czech president Václav Havel. "Truth, seen in a narrow, self-centered way as the one and only truth, is the cause of discord and intolerance. That is why he took “Truth and Love” as his motto, as only love can make us listen to the truth of another person, to the truth of others. Such love teaches us to be humble, and Václav Havel had more humility than we all do. This is the deep meaning of the motto “Truth and Love," a motto for which he was sometimes ridiculed and so much criticized. And yet, it expresses the very substance of human struggle."

Cheating Death

Cheating Death

Ben Breedlove died on Christmas. The Austin teen suffered from a heart condition that brought him to the verge of death multiple times over his eighteen years. He described his near-death experiences in this two-part video, posted a week before the heart attack that killed him. In the video he doesn't speak, but tells his story with note cards, from time to time flashing a smile that hints at the things his scribbled words leave out. In Ben's telling, what he felt as he drew close to death was an overwhelming feeling of peace. "I had no worries at all, like nothing else in the world mattered," he wrote of a near-death experience when he was four. "I can't even describe the peace, how peaceful it was."

In The Fray 2.0

In The Fray 2.0

Welcome to the new In The Fray.

We've been on hiatus for a while, and we've used that time to update the site, our editorial approach, and our nonprofit organization. We hope you'll enjoy reading the new magazine. Ever since we founded ITF ten years ago, we've published stories that help readers understand other people and empathize with their struggles and triumphs. This will continue, but we've streamlined both the look and content of the magazine in ways that make our mission clearer and our work more compelling.

It all goes back to Enron

Here's a fascinating piece from 60 Minutes that links last year's disastrous surge in oil prices to rampant speculation made possible by deregulation — the very kind of deregulation that Enron, at its peak, lobbied aggressively for, and that other firms and investors took full advantage of, securing handsome profits before the bubble burst.

Blogging Hope and Peace in Gaza

NPR recently aired a segment on two bloggers from Gaza and Israel. The Israeli calls himself Hope Man, the Palestinian calls himself Peace Man, and together they write the blog Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot.

CIA pot calls kettle black

You can't make this stuff up. Check out this Washington Post story about criticism of Obama's choice of Leon Panetta as CIA director.

The Missing Class now out in paperback

My book, The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America, has been released in paperback. You can find it at your bookstore, or order it on Amazon or Powells.com. (Use these links and a portion of the sale price goes to InTheFray.)

Obamanomics for the Missing Class

Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, and the Democrats have broadened their majorities in Congress, the picture looks a little less bleak for the country's poor and near poor families.

Obama’s Reagan moment in Denver

The stadium-sized acceptance speech that Barack Obama gave tonight has been compared to those of FDR and JFK, but the note he struck by the speech's end reminded me of a Republican: Ronald Reagan.

Hershey’s not-so-pure chocolate

Pringles are not potatoes. And now Hershey's Kissables are no longer "candy coated milk chocolate," but "chocolate candy."