All entries by this author

Dyslexic, Perhaps?

May 26th, 2003 12:22 am | By

But then, the person who wrote that article concluded it with this bit of wisdom by way of her nomination for the 100 Worst Books list:

To kick off, mine is Wuthering Heights – it has all the emotional depth of sixth-form poetry and I feel an intense desire to give all the characters a good slap and tell them to stop being so self-indulgent. Mysteriously, it’s considered a landmark of English literature by many people whose judgment I usually admire.

So clearly I shouldn’t be surprised if she uses words in a silly way. In fact I should be surprised that she’s writing for a major newspaper, that’s what I should be surprised at.… Read the rest

What Overtones?

May 25th, 2003 11:46 pm | By

All right. Clearly one of these days I’m just going to have to drop everything and make a real effort to figure out what in hell people are talking about when they call someone or something ‘elitist.’ I’ve said it before but I’m afraid I’m just going to have to say it again, and no doubt I’ll have to say it many more times in the future, because it just keeps on happening – people use it for anything and everything! Snob, clever clogs, intellectual, nerd, bookish person, someone who thinks some things are better than other things, conceited person, anything and everything within a fifty mile radius of either Cambridge or Oxford, quiche-eater, in the UK. In the US … Read the rest

Mound of Feel-good Styrofoam Peanuts *

May 25th, 2003 | Filed by

Marketing sappy techno-utopian ‘revolution lite’ via PageRank™.… Read the rest

Now It Can Be Told! *

May 25th, 2003 | Filed by

Women talk, men sit and stare. Stone the crows.… Read the rest

Yes, Hip Cool Sexy People Are Phobic Too *

May 24th, 2003 | Filed by

They just hide it better, says Julie Burchill.… Read the rest

Orwell Could Be Such a Misery *

May 23rd, 2003 | Filed by

But he would have cut ‘today’s higher theoreticians’ to shreds.… Read the rest

Small World

May 22nd, 2003 8:20 pm | By

The Jayson Blair saga continues. There is a staggeringly bizarre interview with him in the New York Observer today. It’s interesting (to me anyway) that he chooses the same sentence from the long Times article on him that I remarked on the other day.

In The Times’ lengthy May 11 account of Mr. Blair’s long trail of deception, it reported that “the porch overlooks no such thing.” Mr. Blair found this funny. “The description was just so far off from reality,” he said. “The way they described it in The Times story—someone read a portion of it for me. I just couldn’t stop laughing.”

We must have noticed the same thing, or perhaps different angles on the same thing. The … Read the rest

Blooming Buzzing Confusion *

May 22nd, 2003 | Filed by

Do we see what we see or is our brain stitching it all together?… Read the rest

Jayson Blair Talks *

May 22nd, 2003 | Filed by

‘I just couldn’t stop laughing.’… Read the rest

Credulity About This or Skepticism About That? *

May 21st, 2003 | Filed by

Blumnethal on Clinton is not Saint Simon on Louis XIV, unfortunately.… Read the rest

How to Win the Argument Against Philistinism *

May 21st, 2003 | Filed by

‘Not the kind of knowledge that flatters authorities,’ Frank Furedi says.… Read the rest

Where Did ‘Theory’ Come From? *

May 20th, 2003 | Filed by

Morris Dickstein considers some roots.… Read the rest

‘Infallible for 152 years, and now this! Oy!’ *

May 19th, 2003 | Filed by

Cronies, star systems, sanctimony, glitz – the Times after the Blair meltdown.… Read the rest

Damasio on Spinoza *

May 18th, 2003 | Filed by

His dissent on the prevailing view of the mind-body problem stood out in a sea of conformity.… Read the rest

These Predictions are Postdictions *

May 17th, 2003 | Filed by

Michael Shermer looks at Moby Dick and the Bible as secret decoder devices.… Read the rest

The Presentation of Self in Presidential Life *

May 16th, 2003 | Filed by

Ordinary millionaires without neckties and other varieties of manipulation.… Read the rest

Journalism, Truth, and ‘Truth’ *

May 16th, 2003 | Filed by

Julian Baggini says journalism’s goal of objectivity is neither anachronistic nor incoherent. … Read the rest

Hills of Beans

May 15th, 2003 7:33 pm | By

Hard on the heels of the story about New York Times reporter-trickster Jayson Blair comes this Guardian examination of the Jessica Lynch ‘story’ and the various forces that played into that exercise in media manipulation. Saving Private Lynch is one of the stories Jayson Blair was reporting on when he concocted the porch overlooking the tobacco fields and the herds of cattle, the porch that ‘overlooks no such thing,’ as the Times account says so acidly that I found myself wondering what the porch does overlook. A pile of rusting cars? A still? A tennis court? A swimming pool?

I thought when I first read the long Times story – so, they had him covering the Washington sniper, and then … Read the rest

A Heretic in the Church of Traumatology *

May 15th, 2003 | Filed by

New study of memory and repression won’t please ‘the psychobabblers and the melodramatists and the daytime-television bookers.’… Read the rest

The Rise of the Info-Novel

May 15th, 2003 | By Peter Lurie

What was it you wanted from that big new novel? If you’re looking for an education
about Victorian brothels, Dante studies during the 19th century,
iconography and iconology in art history, the structure and function of railroads,
the Allied retreat to Dunkirk, British scientific expeditions in the Himalaya,
Bobby Thomson’s Brooklyn-crushing dinger or any number of other subtopics in
history, philosophy, business or law, then you’ll likely find it satisfying
enough. But if you’re looking for the promise of invention, for a world created
and set in motion, for characters who grapple with ethical and moral dilemmas
that radically transform their perspective – the elements that make a great
and true novel – you’ll be disappointed.

I’m not arguing … Read the rest