Alyssa Rosenberg

Alyssa Rosenberg is a staff correspondent at Government Executive where she covers the federal work force. She writes regularly for National Journal and The New Republic.

Recent Articles

SO NOT READY FOR TAKEOFF.

By Alyssa Rosenberg Sorry for the light posting, ya'll. This was supposed to be a blogger-writes-about-Star-Wars-gets-on-plane-gets-off-plane-writes-more-stuff kinda day, but instead it ended with me spending five and a half hours at the airport, my plane GETTING LOST at Logan, and my flight getting canceled. I've been writing about aviation for a couple of years now, and so it's kind of doubly infuriating to get delayed when you sit there wondering what link in an extremely rotten chain's gone wrong now. It's horribly annoying, but flying these days is intriguing if only because it's one of the few chances you have today to watch an industry actually drive people insane. The folks working the desk were literally numb to the crowd of about a hundred people who started yelling at them, ignoring in particular a weeping woman who was trying to make her flight home to Hungary for a funeral. The customer service manager I called didn't deviate a word from a script she had in front of her...

"YOU'VE TAKEN YOUR FIRST STEP INTO A LARGER WORLD." (OR, OBLIGATORY STAR WARS BLOGGING)

By Alyssa Rosenberg I've been following Ta-Nehisi Coates' plan to get his kid playing Dungeons & Dragons, and I'll admit his efforts were in the back of my mind when my 11-year-old brother and I meandered up to the TV room in our attic on Friday afternoon so I could show him his first Star Wars movie ( A New Hope , of course, and the pre-edited version on VHS with the Lucas interviews before the feature. Like Ross Douthat, the prequels are persona non grata in my family's VCR.) I was about his age when I first watched Episodes IV, V, and VI, and they touched off an incredibly intense passion. I was already a science fiction fan (spent a lot of time in my local library reading the Foundation books on the floor between the shelves), but I just got obsessed. I read a ton of very bad Star Wars novels (we're talking Splinter of the Mind's Eye bad), and some pretty okay ones (Michael Stackpole's X-Wing books rock!), cemented my first good friendship at summer camp over Star Wars fan...

WHAT THEY SOUND LIKE.

By Alyssa Rosenberg Terry Teachout, the drama critic for the Wall Street Journal, had a beautiful piece in the August 2 issue of the paper about the way authors' voices sound, and what it says about the "voice" in their writing. As Ben Yagoda points out in his marvelous book The Sound on the Page , understanding where voice comes from, and developing a voice in your writing is a maddeningly elusive project. It's relatively easy to discern who an author's influences are, what eras they want to evoke, whether they want to sound educated, or authentic, or ethnic, or whatever. But it's much, much more difficult to determine what a writer's work says about who they are, and what part of them remains indelibly embedded in their work. There's no test yet for writing's DNA. Teachout says of Raymond Chandler, who he describes as sounding rather like Elmer Fudd: "Hearing Raymond Chandler's mousy voice left me certain that he created the stalwart yet sensitive Marlowe as an act of wish...

PUTIN IN CHARGE.

By Alyssa Rosenberg First off, huge thanks to Ezra for having me here, and to ya'll for reading. It's an honor. Now, on to the real stuff: Obviously it's really, really not good that Russia is marching into the breakaway republic of South Ossetia in Georgia. But for better or for worse, this incident, and whatever follows from it, seems to settle completely the question of whether President Dmitri Medvedev is exerting any power at all in Russia. Despite the fact that the Russian President is commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces, while the Prime Minister is supposed to act as a diplomatic representative abroad, it was Vladimir Putin who declared that "war has started," and it's not until the 13th paragraph of the Times story that the author notes that Medvedev's spokesman declined to comment on the invasion. I'm not a Russia expert by any means. But it seems to me that if Russia wants to send a message about how disruptive it a) can be and b) wants to be, Putin could hardly...

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