All posts filed under: Simple Pleasures

The Podcaster Who (Single-handledly) Made Me Love History

This is an instalment of Simple Pleasures, an occasional Quillette series about some of the new joys that our writers have discovered as a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Writers interested in contributing may contact Quillette at pitch@quillette.com. My law-school years were humbling ones. I’d been admitted to a highly touted American program based pretty much entirely on my ability to ace standardized tests. This skill didn’t signify any actual knowledge, however. And once on campus, I found myself surrounded by people who were much smarter and more accomplished. But one positive thing about being the runt of the intellectual litter is that you learn to jump higher for scraps—and the experience set me on an intellectual-improvement kick that persists to this day. Coming into law school, my own background was in engineering, while most of my classmates were products of elite programs in history, political science, and philosophy. As such, they tended to casually throw around adjectives such as “Rawlsian” and “Hegelian.” I had no idea who Rawls or Hegel …

Man vs. Wall: Solitary Sport and Surviving the Pandemic

This is the second instalment in Simple Pleasures, an occasional Quillette series about some of the new joys that our writers have discovered as a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Writers interested in contributing may contact Quillette at pitch@quillette.com. The benefits of exercising with friends are compelling. For instance, people who make a habit of social sports like tennis and golf seem to live longer than those who don’t. Such findings have influenced me over the years, reinforcing lots of participation in my local tennis league. Then, COVID-19. Back in March, many of my hitting partners went on hiatus from the sport, honestly admitting their fears of getting sick, or blaming close family—they were the ones who were worried, refusing to let them play. Others rediscovered their inner teenage rebel. I heard about and saw esteemed members of the professional class—doctors and lawyers—ripping red tape, cutting locks, scaling fences, and squeezing through service gates to access public courts closed by the government. I was invited on these excursions but chose to …

At One With the Disc: How the Pandemic Taught Me to Love (Real) Golf’s Casual Cousin

This is the first instalment in Simple Pleasures, an occasional Quillette series about some of the new joys that our writers have discovered as a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Writers interested in contributing may contact Quillette at pitch@quillette.com. The fourth (and final) season of NBC’s cosmic comedy The Good Place, which became available for Netflix binge-watching in late 2020, was hit-and-miss. But it delivered enough quality lines and subplots to keep many of us watching until the tear-jerker conclusion. These included a multi-episode arc centered on Brent Norwalk, a one-time privileged Princeton graduate (as he keeps reminding everyone) who demonstrates his peevish, self-absorbed nature through a bratty shtick on a celestial golf course. Golf also figures in the novel that Norwalk authors, Six Feet Under Par: A Chip Driver Mystery, which he describes as “half spy novel, half murder mystery… half submarine adventure, half erotic memoir, and half political thriller. It’s also half golf tutorial, and half commentary on society.” But there’s another golf motif in the show—this one involving …