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Sean Carman
Sean Carman writes occasionally for McSweeney's, the Rumpus, and other publications. He is a contributor to the anthology The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Entries by Sean Carman

Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon on the Comedy of Office Life

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 1:36 PM

The fascinating and terrible thing about office culture is it's constructed representation of life itself. The search for meaning, the competition for social standing, the possibility of love -- they're all there, but in a confined, artificial space. And just like life itself, there doesn't seem to be any possibility...

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Angry Birds

(2) Comments | Posted April 11, 2015 | 5:18 PM


Last week, Jonathan Franzen published a thoughtful personal essay in the New Yorker about the role of wildlife conservation in the era of climate change. Although it does his essay a disservice to reduce it to a bullet point, one of...

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Last Week's Internet Singularity

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 8:35 AM

Last week, the world was drawn together, into a single consciousness, to experience a collective moment of transcendence that culminated in a Revelation of Ultimate Truth delivered by the True Prophet of our Age. And we have the Federal Communications Commission to thank.

Thursday morning, the FCC voted...

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Amazon Unhinged

(32) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 8:06 PM

Amazon's e-book pricing dispute with Hachette raises a myriad of fascinating issues. These include important questions, such as, "Should retailers be able to dictate suicidal business terms to their suppliers?" and "Now that Amazon is retaliating against Hachette by threatening authors' livelihoods, how is it any different from a crime...

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Will Snowden Be Declared a National Hero? (Helpful Q & A)

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 10:20 PM

Nine months after Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing that the NSA was collecting cell phone metadata on millions of Americans in bulk, President Obama has proposed legislation to rein in the rogue spy agency.

Now that Snowden's courageous whistleblowing has single-handedly prompted important government reforms, will President Obama declare Snowden...

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The Hipster Brooklyn of Old Japan

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2013 | 9:31 AM

Hand-Held: Gerhard Pulverer's Japanese Illustrated Books, on view at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery until August 11, presents a collection of beautiful hand-made books from 18th and 19th century Japan illustrated with wood-block prints that are as stylish and imaginative as today's best graphic novels. Not only are the...

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Yet Another Year-End List

(2) Comments | Posted December 30, 2012 | 7:59 PM

David Gutowski, the writer and editor of Largehearted Boy, annually compiles a list of all of the lists of the best books of the year. As of this writing, Gutowski's list of lists includes 60 lists starting with the letter "A." Assuming the same number of lists start...

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A Melodrama of Our Own Making

(21) Comments | Posted December 27, 2012 | 8:32 PM

How can we expect Congress to solve a problem if it can't even describe the problem with an accurate metaphor?

That is the question I've been asking myself these last few days.

I'm talking, of course, about the fiscal cliff. You know, the steep drop-off we are rapidly approaching,...

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Exploding Modern Chinese Art!

(2) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 10:54 AM

This week at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery you can experience some of the coolest modern and ancient Chinese art you are likely to see for a long time.

On Friday at 3 p.m., to the north of the gallery on the National Mall, in what promises to...

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Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

(492) Comments | Posted September 1, 2012 | 2:25 PM

All week, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party sought to convince us that Romney is a wise decision-maker and a good manager, and that Paul Ryan is someone we can trust.

But two unlikely events in the past week revealed the truths behind the Romney campaign's carefully constructed narrative.


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Cheney's Change of Heart

(7) Comments | Posted July 30, 2012 | 10:22 AM

From the New York Times we learn that, in an interview to be broadcast Monday by ABC news, Dick Cheney says that Sarah Palin was not qualified to run for Vice President in 2008, and that John McCain's nomination of her was "a mistake."

Woah, stop the film!...

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Crossing the Gulf: Tania James' Aerogrammes

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2012 | 12:17 PM

The stories in Tania James's new collection Aerogrammes are about characters longing to cross impassable divides.

There are Gama and Imam, for example, two Punjabi wrestlers in London in search of challengers and a shot at the world championship. "NO ONE BARRED!! ALL CHAMPIONS CORDIALLY INVITED!!" their...

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A Magical Evening: Etgar Keret at the JCC

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2012 | 5:46 PM

I'm a big fan of Etgar Keret, and I missed his reading last year at the 6th and I Street Synagogue, so when I see he's going to do a reading at the Jewish Community Center, I ask a friend if she wants to go.

And she says, Who?...

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The Passions of Mike Daisey

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2012 | 1:56 PM

The Mike Daisey Rehabilitation Tour came to Washington's Woolly Mammoth Theater on Tuesday, in the form of an audience Q and A at Woolly's Melton Rehearsal Hall led by the theater's Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz and its Managing Director Jeff Herrmann.

The evening also featured a repentant Mike Daisey,...

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The Highballers Hit Their Prime

(2) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 10:16 AM

As we waited on Monday night to order beers at the Club Iota bar, I asked my friend Kendall Jackson, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the Highballers, to explain the D.C. rockabilly band's recent run of success.

"It's Tara," he...

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The Lizard King

(5) Comments | Posted January 28, 2012 | 1:52 PM

In the year 2012
The much assailed electorate
Decided that it wanted
A charlatan for president.

Grown weary and suspicious of
The man who dreamed and dared,
It threw its weight instead behind
A man of craven cares.

A man who studied...

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(More) Top Books from the Past Year (or So) by (Mostly) Local Authors

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2012 | 12:17 PM

Welcome to the second entry in my series of posts on the best books from 2011 (or 2010) from local(ish) authors, some of whom are friends of mine. Read the first entry here.

I Was the Jukebox
Poems by Sandra Beasley
2010 by Norton / 2011...

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Top Books From the Past Year (or So) by (Mostly) Local Authors

(4) Comments | Posted December 24, 2011 | 11:12 AM

Shortly after I finished Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner's brilliant novel about the promise and the impossibility of salvation in the experience of art, and one of the best books I've read in years, the Sunday New York Times Book Review arrived, with its annual list of the Top...

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Saint Christopher

(3) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 10:55 AM

Everyone, it seems, has a Christopher Hitchens story.

And why shouldn't they? The iconic journalist was outspoken, recognizable, and he traveled everywhere. He was the kind of person you remembered, like a literary character brought to life, refined but vaguely disheveled, perpetually slumped and tired. He often seemed slightly...

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Live From Tahrir Square

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2011 | 9:18 AM

CNN Anchor Gloria Borger: And now we go live to Tahrir Square, where our correspondent Sean Carman is standing by. Sean, what's the mood down there?

Sean: Utter jubilation.

Gloria: It looks like quite a party down there.

Sean: Gloria, it's the biggest party I've ever seen. Fireworks. Dancing. Muslims...

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