Scott Stossel

Scott Stossel is Culture Editor of The American Prospect.

Scott Stossel joined The American Prospect as associate editor in early
1996, helping to preside over its first transformation from quarterly to
bimonthly, and served as the magazine's executive editor from 1997 to 2001.
As executive editor, Stossel helped found and run the Prospect's writing
fellows program, oversaw the magazine's second transformation from a
bimonthly to a biweekly publication, and brought a number of exciting new
writers into the magazine.

Stossel has written for the Prospect on such diverse issues as TV imagery,
race and sports, the 2000 election, and literary critic Edmund Wilson.
Stossel's articles and essays on culture and society also appear regularly
in such publications as The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Atlantic
and The Boston Phoenix. He is currently working on a book about
Sargent Shriver (founder of the Peace Corps, the War on Poverty, and the
Special Olympics, as well as the brother-in-law of John F. Kennedy).

Stossel came to The American Prospect from The Atlantic Monthly, where he spent
one year editing the Arts & Entertainment Preview and four years as both a staff
editor and editorial director for new media.

An avid sports fan, he plays tennis, squash, and soccer regularly. He considers
the United States's victory in the 1999 Women's World Cup one of the best things
to happen to the country in recent years. One of his biggest heroes is the soccer
player Mia Hamm. Since 1999, he has been a visiting lecturer in American Studies
at Trinity College, where he teaches a graduate seminar on sports and culture.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Stossel graduated from Harvard University in
1991 and presently lives in Cambridge with (in the order in which they moved in)
a cat, Atalanta; a wife, Susanna; a dog, Honey Bear; and another cat, Lil' Sage.
He believes himself to have the largest collection of oversized- superballs-
with- strange- objects- inside- them of any magazine editor in the country.

Recent Articles

Kerrey's Quagmire

On the afternoon of Friday, March 15, the last day before spring break, New School University President Bob Kerrey made one of his periodic star turns on the Tishman Auditorium' stage in lower Manhattan. In his last such appearance, in April of 2001, Kerrey had answered questions about The New York Times Magazine 's revelation that a platoon of soldiers, under his nighttime command, had slaughtered civilians in the village of Thanh Phong during the Vietnam War. On that occasion Kerrey had played, if not quite the villain, then the tortured antihero, wrestling with his conscience while attacking his critics. In his more recent appearance, however, there was no such ambiguity: Kerrey was the bad guy. As a packed auditorium of New School faculty and students peppered him with hostile questions about his governance of the university, the normally cool former senator began to redden and splutter. What brought Kerrey to this unhappy pass was that, 10 days earlier, Kenneth Prewitt -- Kerrey'...

The Sexual Counterrevolution

The sexual revolution brought excess as well as progress. In the aftermath of AIDS, a new puritanism threatens to repeal both.

WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS ESSAY Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (Warner Books, 1995). John Heidenry, What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 1997). Samuel Janus and Cynthia Janus, The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior (John Wiley & Sons, 1993). Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (W.B. Saunders, 1948). Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann, and Gina Kolata, Sex in America: A Definitive Survey (Little, Brown, 1994). The National Survey of Family Growth, Cycle Five (National Center for Health Statistics, 1997). Katie Roiphe, Last Night in Paradise: Sex and Morals at the Century's End (Little, Brown, 1997). Gabriel Rotello, Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men (Dutton, 1997). D uring the 1984 primary season, Ronald Reagan worried publicly that Americans were having too much sex. Promiscuity, he lamented, had become "acceptable, even...

Born-Again Bipartisanship

Here's a dictionary entry straight out of Ambrose Bierce: bipartisan politician --a Democrat who's afraid of being indicted. Stirrings in the Justice Department have led some observers to predict that indictments are forthcoming against two 18-year Democratic veterans of Congress. In the Senate, New Jersey's Robert Torricelli has reportedly been under scrutiny for possible fundraising improprieties during his 1996 election campaign [see Art Levine, " The Amazing Adventures of Money Man ," TAP, April 24, 2000]. And in the House of Representatives, the inimitable Jim Traficant of Youngstown, Ohio, may have to answer to a litany of charges ranging from tax evasion to bribery and racketeering. This puts the recent behavior of these two legislators in an interesting light. Traficant, who has adopted a "go-ahead-and-indict-me" stance (he long ago endeared himself to conservatives by calling Attorney General Janet Reno a "traitor" and implying that she is a lesbian drunk) made an egregious...

Echo Chamber of Horrors

Let's get one thing straight right from the get-go. We would rather be last in reporting returns than be wrong... . If we say somebody has carried a state, you can pretty much take it to the bank, book it that that's true. --Dan Rather, CBS News, early evening, November 7 We've always said, you know, this is not an exact science. It's an imperfect art at best. And one of the things I think we could do better is to underscore more often with people that while we believe we were right in making these calls ... they can be wrong. --Dan Rather on CNN's Reliable Sources , November 11 I t is not long past 4:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, on the morning of November 8, and Brit Hume and the rest of the Fox News commentators have lapsed into silence for what seems like a full 20 seconds, an eternity in television time. A quiet moment of contrition, perhaps, for the series of prognosticatory debacles that has preceded? A humble recognition of the fact that by this point--with the presidency...

State of the Debate: Who's Afraid of Michael Jordan?

There's no denying that blacks dominate basketball and other professional sports. But have whites rationalized black physical prowess only by equating it with mental deficiency?

WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS ESSAY John Hoberman, Darwin's Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race (Houghton Mifflin, 1997). Dennis Rodman (with Tim Keown), Bad As I Wanna Be (Delacorte Press, 1996). Kenneth L. Shropshire, In Black and White: Race and Sports in America (New York University Press, 1996). O ne of the blackest players ever to play professional basketball was white. "Even though he wasn't fast and he didn't go for fancy dunks or anything like that," Dennis Rodman writes in Bad As I Wanna Be , "[Boston Celtic Larry] Bird was one of the few white guys who could play what people call the 'Black Game.'" Rodman, who is black, here puts the lie to the sometimes invidious distinction between "black" and "white" basketball. According to this classification scheme, the quintessence of black playing style is Michael Jordan: spectacularly athletic, highly kinetic, and perhaps above all, very vertical. No white man can fly like Air Jordan. The...