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In the green room of 92Y before Malcolm Gladwell’s recent talk here, we asked him for his thoughts on the current government shutdown.

“All I will say this is,” he told us. “There’s a wonderful word in Hindi, called Tamasha. And Tamasha is a situation that is deadly serious to those intimately involved, and farcical and ridiculous to those on the outside. And I think it’s a beautiful word to describe what’s happening now in Washington.”