Ann Friedman

Ann Friedman is a columnist for New York magazine's website and for the Columbia Journalism Review. She also makes pie charts for The Hairpin and Los Angeles magazine. Her work has appeared in ELLE, Esquire, Newsweek, The Observer, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. She lives in Los Angeles, but travels so often the best place to find her is online at

Recent Articles


Back in 1991, nearly a decade before the Enron scandal broke, Kenneth Lay donated $1.1 million to his (and my) alma mater, the University of Missouri, to endow a chair in economics in his name. After many years and a legal battle (in which he tried to get the money back to pay his legal fees), the university has finally found a professor to fill the Kenneth Lay Chair in Economics. Professor Emeritus Haskell Hinnant was one of the faculty members to speak out [against the chair] , but now thinks that Lay’s stigma is fading with time and the greater issue is MU’s difficulty filling the position. “It’s a little embarrassing that they weren’t able to fill it with an outside person,” Hinnant said. “But the university has other embarrassments, too.” I'd say. --Ann Friedman


Just to clarify, I don't agree with Douthat that Aliza Shvarts 's kinda-hoaxy abortion art project raises uncomfortable questions for pro-choicers. Scott makes a good point that this art project should raise the question of whether anti-choicers believe a woman should be punished, along with her doctor, for obtaining an abortion, but I just don't believe that's going to come into play. Pro-choicers are going to stop talking about this in a few days, or a few weeks at most. Anti-choicers will dredge it up for a lifetime as "evidence" that women have abortions for frivolous reasons. --Ann Friedman

Listening to Iraq

The news coverage of the Iraq War almost always ignores the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis. Seeking out those personal stories could help us understand the war's human cost.

Recently I heard Haifa Zangana, a novelist and former prisoner of Saddam Hussein's regime, give a speech in Boston in which she urged anti-war activists around the world to work in solidarity with -- not for -- Iraqis to achieve peace. It was a simple yet profound request. But how can Americans who oppose the war work with Iraqis as equals when, to many of us, they are nameless, faceless, and voiceless? It's the details that humanize, that enable us to understand people as individuals. And as the war drags on, we get increasingly fewer details about what life is really like in Iraq, making it difficult for even the best-intentioned anti-war American to see Iraqis as partners, rather than as a political project. The news outlets that still report from Iraq rarely publish accounts of daily life there. Rarer still are narratives from outside the confines of the Green Zone. Sure, we get snippets of information from Iraqi reporters working with Western journalists, but most of the time,...


To add to Dana 's post on "Choose Life" license plates, it's also interesting that in Florida, the money raised can only go toward women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term and give up the child for adoption. And because most women faced with an unplanned pregnancy choose to either have an abortion or to raise the child themselves, much of Florida's license-plate money is going unused. That's better than spending all the money on crisis-pregnancy centers, I suppose. But perhaps it would be more accurate for the Florida plates to say "Choose Adoption." --Ann Friedman


To jump into the conversation Dana started about male contraception, I have to echo what she says (in response to Matt ) about female hormonal contraception being no picnic in the park, either. Awhile ago, over at Feministing, I wrote a post responding to a Gizmodo writer who was freaked out by the idea of a male contraceptive implant. His concerns: Scientists in Australia are developing a radio-controlled contraceptive implant that would control the flow of a man's sperm at the flick of a switch. The valve would be "push-fit" inside the vas deferens (duct that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis) and could be opened or closed remotely depending on the baby making needs of the user. This is making me a bit nauseous, but I will forge ahead... But what if your doctor is an asshole? You know, the kind of guy that will mess with his patient's junk from afar? Or what if the controls were stolen? It would be worrisome to say the least. That, and the very real possibility that the...