If you’ve been watching NBC in prime time the past few nights, you’ve probably...– A Message from NBC About Its Olympics Coverage : The New Yorker
To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island. Gentlemen, While I...– Letter to Touro Synagogue, 1790. Emphasis added. Two years ago, during the controversy about the so-called Ground Zero mosque, I suggested that people, like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrinch, who wanted the government to intervene to prevent the creation of a mosque in lower Manhattan ought to read...
We are especially nostalgic for the mechanical. We miss the weight of objects,...– Has Nostalgia Become a Toxic Force in Design?
If the language of war tends to centralize power, does the rhetoric of “culture...– Culture War No More | Front Porch Republic
A few years ago, newspapers and nonprofits set up fact-checking squads, rating...– David Brooks
a small thought about Jonah Lehrer
If things go a certain way, this fall from grace could be the best thing that ever happened to Jonah Lehrer. In spending the past decade striving to be The Next Malcolm Gladwell, he has fallen victim to Gladwell’s besetting sin, which is glibness. In the Gladwellian intellectual cosmos, immensely complex ideas and experiences get boiled down to simplistic binary oppositions or are run...
The point at issue—whether homosexuality, capitalism, colonial slavery, or...– That’s Oliver O’Donovan, quoted in a detailed, illuminating, and thoughtful review-essay by Christopher Benson, “A Better Conversation about Homosexuality.”
Are you one of those English professors who writes garbage in his books but just...– Response to my most recent post at the Atlantic. This is why blog comments are the great genre of our time.
The good news for [Jonah] Lehrer is that rehabilitation isn’t far off....– Resenting Jonah Lehrer - Robert Wright - The Atlantic. Re: that last sentence, that all depends on what the sin is. The American public certainly doesn’t take plagiarism seriously.
There is neither a first nor a last word and there are no limits to the dialogic...– Mikhail Bakhtin, from his late notes “Toward a Methodology of the Human Sciences.” Words that changed my professional life, and to some extent the rest of my life as well. Subject for a later, longer post, perhaps… .
a publishing story
This may be of no interest to anyone, but it involves a key moment in my own career, and I’ve never mentioned it in print before, so… . Like many academics, I had a hard time finding a publisher for my first book, which was on W. H. Auden. (It was not my dissertation, by the way; my dissertation was too weird ever to be published.) I probably sent it to twenty-five or thirty academic...
When people ask, “How are you not exploding with stress with everything on...– What My Son’s Disabilities Taught Me About ‘Having It All’ - Marie Myung-Ok Lee - The Atlantic
Such was the case with Daniels, the Massachusetts gentleman — his pet spaniel...– Mad science - The Daily
If digital cryptography isn’t enough to hide a book for ever, physical...– Ebooks: do we really want our literature to last for ever? | Books | The Observer. But a “yellowed” heritage is still a legible one. This is the key difference between analog and digital reproduction, right? — that with the digital, as a general rule, you either have it or you...
It may seem strange that anyone could look around the pornography-saturated,...– Defining Religious Liberty Down - NYTimes.com. This is Ross Douthat, people, not some flame-thrower. When someone as temperamentally irenic as Ross gets to this point, America, we have issues. I’m genuinely worried about this. There are few things that I despise more than culture wars, but I...
Oh, what the hell. Let’s go for it. Let us speak about great writing — not...– How to Write Great - NYTimes.com. Answer: lots of different things, actually.
One fine summer night in June 1933 I was sitting on a lawn after dinner with...– W. H. Auden, from his “Introduction” to The Protestant Mystics, edited by Anne Freemantle.
Rule No. 4: Never use three words when one will do. Be concise. Don’t fall in...– Colson Whitehead’s Rules for Writing
Finally this uncertainty drives Kandel, no less than Boyd and Pagel, back to the...– Art Over Biology
Yesterday 2 lectures, re-drafting findings of Committee on Emergency Exams...– J. R. R. Tolkien, letter to his son Chriistopher, 24 November 1944
Is fantasy intrinsically hostile to technology? That is, was Tolkien simply...– Fall, Mortality, and the Machine: Tolkien and Technology - Alan Jacobs - The Atlantic
What I think we lack sometimes is confidence that in the long run of things, a...– Don’t Bring Policy to a Culture Fight | Easily Distracted. An absolutely fantastic, necessary essay by Tim Burke. Certainly something I needed to hear.
The structure here is not easy for the lay viewer to decode. [Rhythmic...– Brian Phillips on Olympic rhythmic gymnastics - Grantland
The market economy must find its place in a higher order of things which is not...– Wilhelm Roepke, the great free-market economist, quoted here.
Chick-fil-A should not be prevented from opening business because of the views...– Adam Serwer
Some people — in comments, on Twitter and elsewhere — are defending what Emanuel...– Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
But liberals should recognize the parallels between even this stronger argument...– On Gun Control and Prohibition - NYTimes.com
A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish...– Pop music too loud and all sounds the same: official | Reuters
But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the...– Sir Thomas Browne, from Hydriotaphia, or Urn-Burial
I could never divide myself from any man upon the difference of an opinion, or...– Sir Thomas Browne, from Religio Medici
‘I don’t teach writing classes anymore,’ says Le Guin, ‘and...– Ursula K. Le Guin: Still Battling the Powers That Be | Underwire | Wired.com
The museum has not been redefined so much as it has been disassembled, its...– A Los Angeles Art Museum Commits Suicide
One result of the crisis, then, is the catastrophic weakening of the nation’s...– Philip Jenkins reflects (The Cost of the Abuse Scandal)
SIR – You mentioned research which revealed that shoppers often prefer “50%...– Letters: On bankers and LIBOR, Libya, rationality, charter schools, world leaders, James Bond | The Economist. Via @reihan
New Penn State trustee Anthony Lubrano said he was ”deeply...– Penn State sanctions echo through community - Yahoo! Sports. This is like a convict saying that he’s deeply disappointed that he was not allowed to determine his own sentence.
A writer like Stephen King, in contrast, is less interested in illuminating the...– A Defense of Stephen King, Master of the Decisive Moment - Alan Jacobs - The Atlantic
These killers are primarily the product of psychological derangements, not...– More Treatment Programs - NYTimes.com
on the Cappadocian church
When I think about what the Christian church can be at its very best, I think back to Cappadocia in late Roman times. The central figure in that world was Basil of Caesarea, later St. Basil the Great. And he was great: no Christian that I know of has ever been greater. He preached the Trinitarian Gospel fearlessly and in the face of Imperial opposition, defended the use of pagan literary texts in...
People at the extremes are happier than political moderates. Correcting for...– Conservatives Are Happier, and Extremists Are Happiest of All - NYTimes.com. There’s a reason why moderates are the unhappiest: they — we, I think it’s fair to say, though my politics tends to be an aggregation of liberal and conservative positions rather than a consistently...
Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous...– The American Scholar: Joyas Volardores - Brian Doyle. Several times over the years I have come across hummingbirds lying in the leaves or on the grass, perfectly formed, beautiful as creatures can be, not a mark on them, and stone-dead.