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


DEMOCRATS FOR ROMNEY. A few weeks ago, while chatting with Garance at the sort of Beltway cocktail party that is all the sneer in post-blogger America, she confidently asserted that Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee. I scoffed, but now I’m starting to think she may be on to something. A point I made to her at the time was that, even if her prediction came true, I would still be surprised because of the evangelicals' Mormonism issues which, all else equal, should make life tougher for Romney in a primary, where Republicans and conservative Independents have greater proportional sway than in the general election. In case the "Mormon issue" is news to some, check out Amy Sullivan's definitive piece on the matter, which she concludes by saying, "The tragedy--or, depending on your point of view, the irony--is that Mitt Romney may just be the most appealing candidate Republicans can field in 2008…[but] to put it in evangelical terms, it might be easier for a camel to pass through...


THE MYSTERIOUS MUSLIM CREATIONIST SHIPMENT. As Ezra notes , we at TAP were baffled by the dozen or so expensive creationist books that arrived at our office a few weeks ago. The big question is where does the maker of these books, a Turkish guy who goes by the name Harun Yahya , get the money to send out a mailing like this? The Times article doesn't reach any conclusions. But perhaps these books are slightly cheaper to make than it appears. PZ Myers noticed last year that one of Yahya's creationist websites lifted a good portion of its illustrations from an evolutionist site about fossils. So maybe the book is full of stolen art, too. --Ann Friedman


SHORTER THAN IRAQ. I'm a towering 5'7", so perhaps I should be gleeful about news that America, as a whole, is shrinking. But the statistical side of me knows that the fact that America is no longer the tallest country is an indirect, if partial indicator that our collective health is declining. [J]ust as it has in so many other arenas, America's predominance in height has faded. Americans reached a height plateau after World War II, gradually falling behind the rest of the world as it continued growing taller. This list I found online shows America already dropping to 27th in average adult male height by 2006, behind most of Europe and -- get this -- Iraq, which ranks 21st! Of course, with all the discussion of how immigration is adversely affecting the country, I wonder if the new study accounts for the decline in average height attributable to the arrival of millions of Mexicans and other Latin Americans who, on average, are shorter. No Latin American country ranks higher than 37th...


FRED THOMPSON: MITT ROMNEY WITHOUT THE HAIR. Fred Thompson 's nascent presidential campaign has taken a big hit. Last week the Los Angeles Times reported that, in the early 1990s, he lobbied the George H. W. Bush administration -- on behalf of a pro-choice group -- to loosen the "gag rule" that barred federally-funded clinics from discussing abortions with clients. (See Paul Waldman 's take here .) At first, Thompson's response was basically to close his eyes, cover his ears and repeat over and over that, no matter what the organization said, he never worked for them. Since many people from the organization clearly remember him, and his involvement is recorded in the minutes of meetings from the period, this approach just makes him look ridiculous. Perhaps realizing this, Thompson has shifted to an even less promising approach. His campaign now interview with Sean Hannity , he said that "you need to separate a lawyer who is advocating a position from the position itself." Somehow I...


ABSTINENCE-ONLY FUNDING EXTENDED. Back in May I was thrilled to see Democrats pledging to not reauthorize Title V, one of many federal abstinence-only funding streams. Well, surprise surprise, yesterday Congress passed legislation extending Title V funding for abstinence-only sex ed through the end of the fiscal year. While mainstream media outlets were still reporting that Democrats had let the funding expire (or not mentioning it at all), the conservative groups were already busy crowing about the extension -- and rallying the Purity Ballers to ask their legislators to continue the funding past September 30. Ummm... so if Rep. John Dingell , who heads the committee with jurisdiction over Title V funding, realizes that abstinence-only has been "a colossal failure," what happened? Where were the Democrats on this? If anyone needs to re-read the Waxman report on the failures of abstinence-only sex ed, I'm happy to send them a copy... --Ann Friedman