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


GUT NUMBERS. I’m a sucker for numbers, and using numbers to make an argument. In Iowa this week, Barack Obama and his campaign were using a new tactic for persuading Democratic caucus voters: Contrasting his position on Iraq in 2002 with Hillary Clinton’s vote that autumn by hanging some numbers on the decision to invade and the war that has ensued. “It will be enormously difficult to invest in jobs and opportunity until we stop spending $275 million a day on this war in Iraq,” Obama said. His campaign put out a press release -- relying on this clever little website -- that added the following, Iowa-specific context for Obama’s general argument about the opportunity costs of the war: For those living in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Des Moines, the cost of the war in Iraq will be $756.6 million through 2007. This total is equivalent to providing health care for 238,693 adults and 339,808 children; equipping 851,323 homes with renewable electricity; hiring 17,489...


HELLO, MACACA ? A new website lets users submit political ringtones for anyone to download to their mobile phones. From a press release: lets someone in Utah turn a political gaffe or gem into an original ringtone that someone in Manhattan can broadcast every time their cell phone rings - in the subway, at their office, in the mall," said Jo Lee , co-conspirator at " leverages the viral quality of digital media to push user-generated content into real world venues. My guess is that hearing George Allen's voice every time my mom calls would lead to an intense Pavlovian desire never to speak with her again. --Roger Yamada


REPORT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, RISK DEPORTATION? Salon's Broadsheet has the unfortunate news that an amendment may be tacked on to the immigration bill that would make women's immigration status known to federal authorities if they report domestic violence to local police. Currently the Violence Against Women Act protects women who call the cops on their abusers by preventing local law enforcement from disclosing their immigration status to the feds. But this amendment would essentially junk that portion of VAWA in the name of facilitating "information sharing between federal and local law enforcement officials," as the amendment's authors, Republican Senators Norm Coleman and Pete Domenici , put it. Immigrant women are more likely to face additional language and cultural barriers to reporting domestic violence and accessing services. They are more likely to be isolated and abused economically, and many of their abusers use deportation as a threat. So without the special protections in...


JUDICIAL ACTIVISM. The Roberts Court handed down a set of pro-big business, anti-free speech, anti-environment decisions today. The court ruled taxpayers can't challenge the federal government's funding of faith-based organizations. Businesses don't have to worry much about the Endangered Species Act. Schools can punish students for speech with a perceived "pro-drug" message. And interest groups can run TV and radio ads endorsing a candidate, right up until the election. As Brad points out , four of the five majority opinions were penned by Alito or Roberts , with the four liberal-leaning justices dissenting. Might be a good time to re-read Simon Lazarus 's piece on how disastrous the Robert court is -- and will continue to be. --Ann Friedman


WHY "HEY BABY!" IS A BIG DEAL. D.C.'s alt-weekly, the City Paper has a package of stories this week on street harassment. One, a catcall diary a woman kept for a year. Two, a very poorly-written essay by that same woman about how now she's a racist because of all the harassment she gets from Latino men. And three, a piece by some dude who was apparently totally unaware that your average woman experiences street harassment on a daily basis. It also has a companion video , in which exactly two people (a male harasser and a female harass-ee) are interviewed. Taken as a package, it's a real trainwreck. [Warning, massive post to follow.] What I found most remarkable about the catcall diary is that she is careful to record what she's wearing when she's harassed on the street. While it's true that short skirts can sometimes bring a different type of harassment, I find that I get unwelcome attention even if I'm wearing dirty jeans and a bulky winter coat. But I suppose it's nice for those who...