Ten years ago, the squeaky-clean wunderkind pundit Jedediah Purdy learned a valuable lesson: Don’t mess with Jerry Seinfeld. His first book, For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today, partly blamed society’s ills on the seemingly harmless jokester (whom he called “irony incarnate”). While the book received much praise, it also made the young author, then 24, the butt of jokes galore, from a parody in McSweeney’s to Seinfeld himself playing “Dr. Jedediah Purdy” on Saturday Night Live. While this might have made a less strong person want to crawl in a hole and die, Purdy soldiered on, writing Being America: Liberty, Commerce, and Violence in an American World in 2003 and now A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom. Tonight, the much older and wiser Purdy (currently an associate law professor at Duke University) talks about his new book as well as politics, culture, and the age of Obama with the always delightful n+1 editor Mark Greif and DJ /rupture.
Thu., March 12, 7 p.m., 2009