Katharine Whittmore

Katharine Whittemore has written for The New York Times Book Review and Lingua Franca, among other publications.

Recent Articles

The Working Life

I once got a postcard from a friend traveling--and reveling--in sunny France. "You really have to admire a people," she wrote, "who have such disdain for hard work." Affectionate slur aside, I think of her bon mot whenever evidence surfaces, which it does with frightening regularity, of our culture's relentless emphasis on relentless work. You have your own examples, no? Here are mine: discovering that the Boston-New York Delta shuttle seats are now fitted with stock tickers; watching the fax-- at a rented vacation cottage--daily scroll out hundreds of pages for my lawyer brother-in-law; and reading a certain New York Times article. It ran on a slow news day this February. "U.S. Productivity Rose at 5% Rate in 2nd Half of '99," intoned the headline. The Times grayly con-ceded productivity was an "arcane statistic." But, the article added, it "nevertheless explains--more than any other statistic--how the economy can grow as strongly as it has the last four years without generating more...