“It’s the night before Thanksgiving, my neighbor is at a sing-along “Sound of Music” at the Castro, my married friends from college are probably getting a good nights sleep in preparation of their Thanksgivings with their new babies and their aging Filipino grandparents, and my bear friends are probably fucking each other in the basement of a bar somewhere on Polk Street. I am in none of these places. In two days, I’ll be taking a red-eye flight to Miami to visit my boyfriend for a couple of days, but that’s in two days, so I’m sitting here on the couch alone. Alone? Lonely? Something.”—little.yellow.different
“This is a consistent theme in stories about traveling to the future: Things are always worse when you get there. And I suspect this is because the kind of writer who’s intrigued by the notion of moving forward in time can’t see beyond their own pessimism about being alive. People who want to travel through time are both (a) unhappy and (b) unwilling to compromise anything about who they are. They would rather change every element about society except themselves.”— Chuck Klosterman, Eating the Dinosaur (via mandirigma)
“To read well is to read through systems of belief that match the book in hand. This is Edmundson’s main precept, and it comes across as Smith’s unspoken ideal as well. The wild eclecticism of Changing My Mind reflects, if anything, the versatility that [Zadie] Smith embraces on the page—taking up the mantle of the theorist, the memoirist, the pop movie critic as circumstance requires. Each of these roles departs from the work she is best known for. Each requires starting, in some way, from scratch. In the end, one realizes, Smith’s collection is not so much a book about changing one’s mind as it is a guide to living, for a change, in someone else’s.”—How Should Fiction Be Read?
“For decades, the feminist movement has been split over the status of trans people, and of trans women in particular. High-profile feminists such as Germaine Greer, Jan Raymond and Julie Bindel have spoken out against what Greer terms “people who think they are women, have women’s names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody”. Some prominent radical feminists have publicly declared that trans women are misogynist, “mutilated men”; trans people have responded to this harassment by vigorously defending themselves, demanding that anti-trans feminists are denied platforms to speak on other issues and, in some cases, by renouncing feminism altogether. The deep personal and ideological wounds suffered by women and men on both sides of the argument are reopened with vigour every time the mainstream press gives space to an anti-trans article by a cis feminist.”—Transphobic feminism makes no sense
“I have no idea what Brittany Murphy was really like in person. I’m not even her biggest fan. But somehow her death makes me feel like something in my life has ended. That person you expect to be there isn’t anymore–and won’t ever be again. It’s a strange and bittersweet feeling, not good or bad, just inescapable reality. To tell you the truth, I’m a bit numb to the grieving of the rest of Hollywood because I really have no idea who the woman truly was besides the characters she portrayed. Brittany Murphy was not a particularly important individual in my life, but her passing seems to ring the bell of a recurring theme I’m becoming all too familiar with.”—Evil Monito, “To Live and Die in LA”
The oppression of women is breathtakingly evil, it’s frighteningly pervasive in the developing world, and it is alarmingly consequential in its damage—those messages come across vividly in the able hands of authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. They write from first-hand experience as reporters, and also from a deep understanding of their subject through years of research.
Reading their book is like being taken on a frightening but irresistible ride. You don’t want to see what you’re seeing, but you can’t close your eyes either. When the ride is over, they help you understand what you saw and what you can do to make a tangible difference.
“n+1 is the tiny, self-financed biannual literary and political journal that Mr. Greif launched with Benjamin Kunkel, Marco Roth and Keith Gessen this summer, whose ambitions include-but are not limited to-“the revitalization of civilization.”—Highbrow Fight Club, Wesley Yang
“The new narrative, I’m told, is that with hard work and good ideas, you’ll hop ever higher, each time finding new and better opportunities—your employer is no longer burdened with the expensive responsibility of cultivating your loyalty, skills or health. But I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where even successful entrepreneurs like fried clam tycoon Ivar Haglund celebrated the endemic lack of ambition amongst the populace in commercial jingles, and frankly I would be happy just to get by doing something that doesn’t bore me beyond hope.”—Top 10 Jobs I Lost This Decade
“Guantanamo Bay, as we understand it today, is actually two things in one. Ever since the U.S. took it for use as a coaling station during the Spanish-American War, it’s been a 45-square mile naval base and Cold War anachronism. As a result, if you drive through it, you see all the creature comforts necessary for extended naval deployments. Southern-style plantation houses for senior officers and their families. Kindergartens. A giant outdoor movie theater. Sports leagues. And something called a NEX, or a Naval Exchange, the Navy’s equivalent of the Army’s post exchanges. Think of them like a minimally stocked mall compressed into a single store. The NEX is where you get your toiletries, fresh batteries, new DVDs, video games, condoms, new socks and underwear, snacks, somewhat recent magazines. And souvenirs of your tour.”—Guantanamo Bay, gift shop
“Tell me when you think that we became so unhappy,
wearing silver rings with nobody clapping.
When we moved here together we were so disappointed,
sleeping out of tune with our dreams disjointed.
It killed me to see you getting always rejected,
but I didn’t mind the things you threw, the phones I deflected.”—The Antlers, “Two” - aka AMR’s saddest song in the world
“How random are our reactions to celebrity misbehavior? You’d think there would be some general moral principle at work here, but there just isn’t. Barry Bonds and Shawne Merriman allegedly did exactly the same thing: took performance-enhancing drugs that gave them a decided advantage over their peers. Bonds became a pariah. Merriman went to the Pro Bowl. Leonard Little left a party, got into his car and hit and killed a young woman. He blew .19 on the Breathalyzer. What happened to him? He did 60 days. Six years later, he was arrested for drunk driving again. He still plays for the Rams. Michael Vick did bad things to dogs and went to jail for two years and become the personification of evil. I mean, I love dogs and I was appalled by Vick’s behavior. But in what universe is it a bigger crime to fight pit bulls than it is to get wasted and kill an innocent person? (Let’s not even get into Plaxico Burress, whose case proves, I guess, how unexpectedly seriously New York state courts take the crime of stupidity). And now we have Tiger Woods, who fooled around on his wife and hit a fire hydrant. And in the middle of this absurd circus, the reigning King of Kings of the NBA and role model to millions is a man who not that long ago was accused of rape and lucked out of a trial because, by all appearances, he was able to buy off his accuser in a civil settlement. Huh?”—Gladwell vs Simmons
“Discussing social life and relationships and personal histories last night at a dinner with my fellow well-traveled, multicultural, immigrant and artsy friends, Mei Ann (Singaporean) jokingly suggested that I might be a SNAG, a Sensitive New Age Guy. We busted out laughing. I’d never heard of this acronym. And heck, it’s true! Sensitive and yeah, semi-new age. However, the term itself is rife with insult.”—Straight Men and Feminism in America
“Several months ago, I gave up sports. I hadn’t planned to go cold turkey, so I didn’t note the exact day I quit. One morning—it must have been in June—I picked up the paper and didn’t feel like reading the sports section. So I didn’t, that day or any day since. Around the same time, I stopped watching live sporting events on TV, catching highlights on ESPN, and checking for the latest sports news on the Web. I abandoned, midseason, two promising fantasy baseball teams in two very competitive leagues. Though I’d visited all but three of Major League Baseball’s stadiums over the previous five seasons, I didn’t attend a single ballgame in 2009. I haven’t seen so much as a quarter of an NBA game this season. Somewhat to my surprise, I don’t miss any of it.”—How I Quit Sports Cold Turkey
Writing & Selling the YA Novel is a wonderful introduction to writing and publishing for teens. Award-winning novelist K.L. Going structures the book like a typical day of high school (with classes, lunch, and even study hall), while guiding aspiring writers through the stages of writing a novel for young adults.
As the author of Fat Kid Rules the World, Going has an intuitive understanding of literature from several angles: writer, literary agent, and bookseller. Going’s expertise allows her to craft an accessible book that is entertaining and informative. Using the typical high school schedule as a frame, Going writes in a chatty tone demonstrating a wide knowledge of the craft of writing, current “hot” literature, teenage trends, and the historical foundation of YA literature.
When a newspaper dies in America, it is not simply that a commercial enterprise has failed; a sense of place has failed. If the San Francisco Chronicle is near death—and why else would the editors celebrate its 144th anniversary? and why else would the editors devote a week to feature articles on fog?—it is because San Francisco’s sense of itself as a city is perishing.
Most newspapers that are dying today were born in the nineteenth century. The Seattle Post–Intelligencer died 2009, born 1863. The Rocky Mountain News died 2009, born 1859. The Ann Arbor News died 2009, born 1835. It was the pride and the function of the American newspaper in the nineteenth century to declare the forming congregation of buildings and services a city—a place busy enough or populated enough to have news. Frontier American journalism preserved a vestige of the low-church impulse toward universal literacy whereby the new country imagined it could read and write itself into existence. We were the Gutenberg Nation.