Quick question for you all reading. I’m trying to think of current, living, vital writers, thinkers, public figures, artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, etc., who are uncommonly sensitive to the deep zeitgeist of American life, able to communicate easily and powerfully to wide audiences, and particularly able to capture the richness and zest of American society and history in its ambiguity and uncertainties without being polemical. I’m looking for people who have their finger on the pulse of American society. Sense of humor and ability to not take oneself overly seriously is helpful but not necessary.
To give you some examples, some people I thought fit the bill, more or less, were:
Suggestions? I’ll settle also for independent, contrarian thinkers who arguably could have that kind of sharply observed perspective on American social and political life, even if they largely write about other things, like George Packer.
Update: Gary Farber and Patrick Nielsen Hayden correct my spelling. And I reveal something of what I had in mind in asking this question, all below in the comments. Plus many cool suggestions, some of whom were on my own long list, some of whom were not.