Catherine Tumber

  • Urban Outfitters

    Quick: When you think of inner-city poverty, urban blight, gang violence, and steep high school dropout rates among chronically unemployed minorities, what American cities come to mind? Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Chicago, maybe Saint Louis? Yet recent studies show that smaller cities, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, are plagued by the same problems—indeed, to a worse degree. Small-to-midsize older industrial cities didn’t experience the “comeback” secured via globalization and high-tech development that helped lift bigger metropolises out of the doldrums over the past two decades.


    For all the wild exertions of fundamentalist and atheist chest beaters the world over, God seems to be on hold for much of the West. As religion threatens to plunge the twenty-first century into a reprisal of the seventeenth century’s Thirty Years’ War, it is tempting to smite the thing altogether, as many intellectuals sought to during the Enlightenment. But where would that leave us, not only culturally but in terms of “truthiness”? That recently coined term reveals much about our uneasiness and the gallows humor that helps conceal it during these unmoored times.

    We could turn to Denmark,