Sibyx Reads the 2014 New Yorker and Other Rags
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For this year I will post a little bit differently. Mainly the addition of remarks about any article in another magazine, besides the NYer that I think is exceptional. The NYer will continue to be reviewed more intensively, I think.
The other magazines I read or browse are:
Science Fiction & Fantasy (I'm fatally behind on these)
SN (silly new name for Science Weekly)
I'm sure there are more, but at the moment.....I browse a few on-line things too but so irregularly....
-Unknown but Interesting Person Article: Storyboard P the dancer.... Dedicated? Brilliant.
-Foodie Fun: Tamales on the Delta - Trillin, of course.
-Creepy Enterprise: The Chinese getting into the genome biz. It will be interesting to see how this develops. The boulder in the road, it seems to me, is the Chinese cultural difficulty with innovation. They will probably lead the world in dissecting the genome, but then? The US should be scrambling to get a firm fix on the 'then'.
-Beating Head Against Wall Dept: Sixty years of drug war and really, nothing to show for it. Ow.
-Story Antonya Nelson 'First Husband' - this was pretty decent. Didn't quite buy the ending, how workshoppy of me.
-Book review: Passenger Pigeon - 100th anniversary of extinction. This story is everywhere, from our local Birds of Vermont museum to every science magazine etc. The review was one of the best articles in here this week. For me, anyway. I'm not sure I'll read the book, but it felt like a sensitive and just review. That a bird that lived in the billions is completely gone, and that we more or less eradicated it in a hundred years, is astonishing and salutory. Rosen makes the point that this bird may have been doomed anyway as it may have been dependent on 'swarming' and operating en masse. They must have been both beautiful to see and utterly terrifying, descending on your beech trees (they loved mast) and leaving nothing behind but five inches deep of guano.
-Endlessly Fascinating Topic- An article about the Rom - mainly their position in France. It is an odd thing to me how much these nomadic people unsettle the settled...... Gopnik didn't go into this aspect, however, sticking pretty much to the ins and outs of official bureaucratic attempts to mainstream them... (not that successfully.....) Rom may stay settled for years, but will pick up and leave when conditions deteriorate.
- S&M - Downton Abbey with cats - I didn't get hooked on DA but I enjoyed this.
- China Report: - At present Confucius has been rehabilitated. Enough said.
-Person You May or May Not Have Heard Of - Jennifer Weiner, novelist. In a perfect world art would, perhaps, be judged in different ways. Weiner's books (I haven't read one, I confess) sound like a type of fiction that soothes and heals and serves a fine purpose.
-Sport. well I skipped this.
-Fiction - Dinaw Menestu - This was sad and good.
-Attempted to read the article about hackers/makers etc. I think we fit the demographic, but I was bored. It seemed disorganized or something. Not good writing, I think, or organization or something.
-Person You May or May Not Have Heard Of: In his case definitely not for me, but he sounds like a determined and creative person, Theaster Gates in Chicago, combining art with improving real estate in stricken areas.
-Medical notes: Caring for chronically ill children. A new approach with a particular focus on managing pain for children - brilliant and definitely bucks the factory model. It saves tons of money but doesn't fit into neat categories, so it's an uphill battle to implement, naturally.
-Another Person You May Or May Not Have Heard Of: Two in one issue? This one has the excuse of being about a big figure in the music industry named Leonard Blavatsky. I didn't read it.
-More medical notes, this time scary for you and me: Cocci - a fungus which gets into the air and into our lungs from disturbed soil in the Southwest is becoming a scourge that developers and others who move land around to build things, really hate to think about. Too small a demographic to interest big pharma - but it could spread. I would think with the dry hot summers of the future it could become a terrible scourge. Hope someone with some power is paying attention.
Short story:- Akhil Sharma - Oh please, this story started so promisingly and then disintegrated into pure melodrama.
-Roger Ailes - someone I've heard of and could only read about with one eye shut from the glare.
Weird stuff people do - mud obstacle racing. Well..... sometimes it's not the worst thing to be too old to even think of doing anything like this, not that I ever would have....
-Person You Never Heard Of: mayor of the country beside Detroit. L. Brooks Patterson/Oakland. Sometimes the New Yorker stance of neutrality is annoying. Oakland exists because of Detroit and is a vampire, essentially; any life that city could possibly have is leached out by Patterson. And I don't buy the 'we're good; theyre bad' thing. Plus he's kind of a jerk. 'You be nice to us and we'll be nice to you, Gollum."
-Obama. As always sounds like my sort of guy, introverted and reflective and quite the contrast to mister "I know just what's right for you" in the previous article. We need both kinds of people, but I know which I prefer.
-Story - the Frog Prince. Kind of silly?
-Scott Stossel - My Age of Anxiety" What is anxiety? Is a disposition genetic or is it caused by external forces? How does it relate to depression? I suffer mainly from depression, anxiety not so much, but it sounds like a decent read.
Back to say, this was an odd issue - the shouts and murmurs was a bashing of NJ that wasn't very funny. I mean, bashing New Jersey is so..... old. So not cool. Maybe I'm harsh about Patterson, I don't know, but the piece felt unbalanced to me. The whole issue felt 'off' - but I'm not sure what I mean by that.
And that's it for January!
-I'm sooo hip: travelling by freighter. Oh maybe it is as dull and .... unromantic.... as Marx describes it - all too perkily in my view (attempt at humor that falls flat) - in any event, I wouldn't take her lack of enjoyment of this mode of travel as a reason to dismiss the option. It didn't suit her at all, that much is clear, so if you think you are like her, don't try it. I found her 'tone' irritating and yes, condescending in that way that makes other people dislike educated folks from the Northeast.
-What next?: Waldorf schools in China. How brave people are! I think it's deeply courageous in a country with as deep a rote tradition of learning as China (thousands of centuries....) to take a different approach.
-Very Bad Person You Never Heard Of: The bad abortionist who is giving the whole enterprise a bad name, and yet.... perversely, also illuminating the reasons why it needs to be legal and closely regulated as regards standards of health and safety.
-The media: Netflix and tv and all that. Well. I hated this piece because really I'm just plain mad about the whole thing and a rational description of greediness of various companies just makes me madder. I'd like to be able to watch the goddamned latest episodes of things without so much waiting around and begging. I mean that - everyone would be happier. I don't mind paying I just want the fucking latest Doc Martin or Game of Thrones or whatever and my life is complicated and I live off the grid. And I bet that is how we all feel: manipulated. Let go you effing networks and cable. Give us what we want. Lately Netflix has NOTHING I want, btw, I've seen what I want to see. I also LOATHE the algorithmic hoo-ha that purports to know what I might like to watch next. It doesn't work for me and only irritates. The future is the internet. We will prevail. I did appreciate that Netflix backed off their separating idea, though.
Short story-Donald Antrim, - LOVELY piece, weird and wonderful. Hooray!
Reviews, etc-Burroughs (I think about ten pages did it for me, reading his work, that is)
-Derek Walcott. I. should. read. his. stuff. again.
IIRC, it involves coordination of specialists, rather than gee-wiz techniques, and our medical system isn't set up for communication.
Freaky, in part because I'd never heard of it, and of course it gets innocent bystanders.
>5 sibylline: vampire
I'm more prone to depression than anxiety too, but I do have anxiety episodes and pretty much just have to wait until I crash out after a couple days. It'd be exhausting as a chronic thing.
I don't have much trouble with anxiety and I feel fortunate. The spousal unit has occasional bad nights.
Achievement Diana Nyad swims from Cuba to USA at 63. Good reading.
Cool internet people Horse_ebooks. So clearly I am not cool. Didn't know, don't care. They are amusing though.
S&M - zzzz
Brave or just foolhardy? Fishing family on Nantucket. You know what? This article stank of someone knowing someone who was one of the guys on the boat that overturned.
It's nice they were rescued, but.
Person You never heard of, plus, medicine, plus fun if you have consipiracy issues This was in fact the only really worthwhile piece in this issue, although Nyad's achievement is not nothing. A 'maverick' researcher, Tyrone Hayes (by that I mean, a person who does not fit the usual pallid white man in a lab coat image of a scientific researcher) has uncovered a serious problem with the herbicide atrazine. Naturally the huge conglomerate that makes money off the stuff hates him and does all it can to discredit him. It helps them, of course, that he is not your average pallid etc. Among other things, atrazine appears to reduce penis size, people! Judging from the internet this should be a matter of GREAT CONCERN to everyone??? But seriously, it seems to reduce gender characteristics, Hayes and others have incontestable results from research on frogs, who everyone who has survived 9th grade bio KNOWS are strangely a lot like us.
I don't mean to sound flippant, but I kept getting blood pressure bursts reading this. I think the real bad guys are the scientists who work for these companies. What are they thinking? And why would anyone trust them?
Story Zadie Smith as a writer is, I think, pushing her envelope, wanting to write 'up a level'. Nothing wrong with that. I was and wasn't engaged. I'm not sure what I think.
Books Robert Frost! Oh I am so intrigued, always, by this complicated and fascinating poet and person. Fine short essay, the kind that gets you excited about rereading and finding a bio. to read.
Olympic hooha .... having no Teev will make certain happenings irrelevant. And I loathe Putin so I couldn't have read it anyway.
Mom goes for the SAT I can't imagine putting myself through this. And the tests are so .... pointless anyway.
Fiction Denis Johnson - this was very very good.
e.e. cummings I fell under the spell at one point.... in the photo he reminds me weirdly of Keanu Reeves, am I the only one who notices that? Seriously, his poetry is accessible and that matters.
Egypt's woes I did my best.
-the funny, as so sadly often it is, was not funny
-Skipped the fight scene piece
-The Roz Chast was brilliant. Excrutiating. I tore it out to keep.
-A Nicaraguan Canal? Of some interest to me as I did read a book or two about the Panama Canal - this is the 'road not taken' route. Will this project happen? I doubt it.
Fiction a chinese woman in America who looks after babies for one month.... it didn't completely work, but it was a window into a world.
review murder of Kitty Genovese - we were just talking about this the other day, the book debunks some of the myths, but also it triggered awareness and research that has since proven that people really don't respond as well if there are more than a certain number present.
On a roll here, obviously..... might even get March done in a few more days!
-Lydia Davis Now this was worthwhile. Davis is an example of 'follow your weird' - it may or may not get you acclaim, but it will get you respect and you will get good at whatever your weird thing is!
-More SAT? Hunh? Not really very funny either.
-Andre Aciman on his deaf mother. This was also a classic NYer piece, personal, well written, and with wider implications. Nice.
-Time with Adam Lanza's father. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was a decent piece about a difficult subject.
-Darren Aronofsky. Okay, I just can't stand entertainment pieces, they feel, always, like covert advertisements.
-Story - Boyle. Not his best.... I couldn't quite go with the premise. Almost though. Golly, but Boyle does love to get in there and crunch around in the psyche.
-glanced at mention of Whitney Biennial. I used to get excited about it. Now I don't. Is it me? Or is it the current art scene?
The New Yorker March 24
- Should come as no surprise that I'd never heard of Ryan Trecartin videographer extraordinaire of the up-and-coming generation. As a person who did happily and enjoyably sit through the entirety of Andy Warhol's films and an early fan of Nam Jun Paik, I probably would like this fellow's work if it falls into my lap.
-On Texas was seriously unfunny. Pathetic.
-Under Armour - ok - I get that there was a slip up at the Olympics, but it read like one long not very subtle advertisement for the company.
-Scarlett Johansson. See the above, substitute 'Scarlett's movies' for 'the company'.
-Berlin - Jah, it is a weird vortex Berlin is. Been there and it really is.
-Tessa Hadley's story was not successful in my view.... I could expend time explaining why.... but it's not worth my time or yours. Disjointed? Disconnected? As in, think of a jigsaw puzzle where someone substituted little pieces that look like they should fit but they don't. The interaction between this fellow and the woman just didn't.... happen. For me, anyway.
-Lars von Trier's porn movie -well for Lord's sake, enough already this was mentioned in the last NYer in some context or other.
-Paul de Man - now this was interesting. I didn't know of his collaborationist record. It certainly does wreak a certain ironic havoc on his form of literary criticism..... And so weird that in a certain point in his life he just stopped being such a sociopath and settled down to being a Serious Person in academia. Strange indeed.
Man, these five NYers months are rugged. But only one more to go!
- The piece on Waco was good - particularly making the point about a belief system clashing with .... rational system, I guess you can call it, although it is more like the current view of what constitutes normal social behavior (like.... not having 14 yr. old 'wives', say) Belief systems are rigid and have a logic of their own - and cannot be 'talked down' in any of the usual ways.
-Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin's daughter. I was sort of interested.
-Surprised myself here by becoming interested in reading about Kobe Bryant.... I don't follow any sports, but I do know who he is, you'd have to have your head in lard not to.
-Not interested in Susan Stroman.
-Louise Erdrich story. Fine, but nothing too special.
-Thomas Piketty - he's the latest financial guru....french, naturally.
-The review of Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation did interest me. I once made that same vow. I would never ever marry. Only write and wander about. I do wonder - did I chicken out? Or is this choice, to be in a family etc. the 'better' one for a meaningful life?
-Hip hop. Well, I have to admit it passed me by.....
-Alert! was funny
-Death certificate - a classic NYer piece of journalism, something odd and nicely written and researched.
-West Virginia. You read this and feel despair. If you don't? You live in a dream world. A very fine and scary piece.
-Another installment of the wisdom of Grand Old Writer John McPhee.....I'm not sure what I think of these pieces as you can tell. They seem to be offering wisdom but so far all of them have gone off the track and been mostly about John McPhee. Whose work I cherish, but not these essays. So far, anyway.
Lethem story. I've been to Sea World in Miami..... I could relate. But the guy should stay on his Celexa. What is he thinking?
-That was it for me, nothing else caught my full attention.
-an out of control jail in Baltimore. Depressing, to be certain
-On the Parthenon. In some ways a classic article.....starts out innocently enough and truly fascinatingly too, with a thumbnail of the history, architecturally, of the Parthenon, and then a quick explanation of why it is so remarkable (tricks that alter the perspective)..... but then it diverges into a snarling attack on a book by a Parthenon enthusiast/scholar,Joan Breton Connolly who has come up with her own 'interpretation' of the purpose and uses of the building (namely sacrifice of maidens) which idea scandalizes the reviewer (Daniel Mendelsohn) into scattering snide put-downs to make sure you get it, he thinks she fell off a parapet and hit her head. Well..... As someone who views most things as both simpler and more complicated than at first sight.... and well-read enough to know that, in fact, an awful lot of maidenly bodies ended up in pits under foundations of buildings all over the world until not so long ago. So the grain of truth is likely that some maidenly bodies did get chopped up to put under some foundations somewhere, perhaps pre-dating the Parthenon, but there nonetheless..... and I am fascinated by pantheistic beliefs in water and power lines and so expect that Mendelsohn might be careless to dismiss the build-up of Connolly's argument in the first part of the book as 'padding' e.g. it's part of the put-down). I will be reading The Parthenon Enigma - so I can't make a full judgement on this article yet, of course. Meanwhile Mendelsohn would do well to read The Horse, the Wheel and Language - Greek culture emanates from there and the horse culture and horses come from that legacy. I'm only an amateur reader of archaeological stuff, of course, but I've seen so many indignant defenses of cherished turf be crushed by unavoidable finds (viz the fury over dating and method and direction of transport first native americans came to the US, neandertals and us) that I am skeptical when someone is too indignant although if Mendelsohn is faithfully reporting, I don't think Connolly likely has it all right either in her eagerness to present something new and exciting maybe she has gone over the parapet a bit.
-Christie - skimmed. Question? Will he survive this? I certainly hope not.
-The horseshoe crab. I have been a big fan of these odd creatures for decades - since first noticing them on the Cape when I was living there in the 70's when they were everywhere - and over the subsequent decades noticing how many fewer there are and worrying about them. Lovely piece. What I read the NYer for!
-Roddy Doyle story. Meh
-skimmed the rest. Couldn't get into the Chavez
-did stop to read the review of the vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive that almost looks like one worth seeing.
-deluxe first class plane travel. Now I'm sorry, but that's just plain mean mean mean to tell us about. Better we bodos in steerage never know what we're missing.
-Stonehenge - decent article. Liked the snapshots of the different types who come to 'worship'.
-Life on an aircraft carrier.... hmm. I know I read this, but it didn't really stick. Other than precision precision precision being the essential piece.
-extreme cavers. People are so weird!!!!
- refugees - I found this a careless choice to include with the other journeys - or rather - the bald placement of it? Sort of like the minister delivering an amusing instructive sermon in a cheerful drone and then suddenly shifting gears to harangue us for our shallowness shrill and accusing.
-against the previous piece, Roz's lovely travelogue jarred .... but it was, as all her work is, beguiling.
-I'm a fan of McGuane generally, but this story wasn't his best.
-Elizabeth Warren - I suppose she's on a journey of sorts too, eh?
-Parkinson's and mental focus - Kinsley has had Parkinson's for twenty years - he was surprised by how close he was to the norm for EF deterioration when tested. Disease/age-related dementia and senility are something boomers are going to have to cope with. He's wrong indeed though that previous generations didn't cope with it. At the Shelburne Museum near Burlington Vermont, a collection of old Vermont houses and furniture, there are adult sized cradles and other sad items that people used for looking after their elderly who had lost it. Anyway - this is the second article on this topic in less than a year. Dare I say that particularly the segment of boomers who consider themselves super-smart-and-very-special are going to struggle the most with decline?
-digital cloning. yawn.
-the little dictionary that might have been Shakespeare's. Fun.
-Iraq - creepy to read this now with Maliki gone and all hell breaking loose. It was definitely lurking in the background of this article.
-Shirley Jackson So where were they keeping this story? I suppose the on-line edition would tell me.
-Adam Begley on Updike. I'm an Updike fan from way back - I might or might not read the bio but I enjoyed this review of it.
-I tried to watch Orphan Black but Nu-unh, nothing doing. So 'posed' and self-conscious. Boooorriiinngg
I liked the dictionary article too.
Thanks for the link to the interview - as I read it I realized I had already read it.....
And now off to read the NYT article....
Thanks. Will continue on, not necessarily in order.
Very personal and quirky responses here - not meant to be taken too seriously! Enjoy!
-Sarah Payne Stuart - on Concord Ladies. Amusing and a bit poignant and authentic. (Trust me, I know.) The novels of Nancy Clark are set in this milieu if you are interested in spending more time in this milieu.
-Chinese techno-spying. A sad tale of complex loyalties.
-hunt for drug lord - skipped this.
-pain pill addiction. This was quite an interesting story. The doctor who handed out all these prescriptions sounds strangely sane.... naive, perhaps, but not at all a bad person.
-Sam Lipsyte 'The Naturals' - this was an A Plus Story!!! Just riveting from beginning to end.
-skimmed review of new J Q Adams & spouse bios. Not for me.
-I have vaguely heard of Charles James - The article spurred me to look for photographs of his work. I'll come back with a link. CHARLES JAMES
-The End of Food. Beware of any article that begins ' The End of.....' Seriously. So Rob Rhinehart has figured out how to make a nutritional drink, a complete food substitute, he named, with creepy humor verging on the just plain creepy, Soylent. (Remember the plot of Soylent Green? P-tui!) Anyhow, he's been living on it, feels great etcetera. And the big food producers are getting interested. You could, in theory, drop this powder along with clean water, almost anywhere people are starving and if they will consent to drink it, they will live and thrive. That's good, right? As a person who is annoyed by the fact that it is always lunchtime too soon, I could probably work my way towards drinking this stuff once a day to keep the ball rolling (I have trouble getting it rolling in the first place, is the problem) but it does ring my dystopic/classist alarm bells, not that it wasn't inevitable? I remember the days of Carnation Instant though and that stuff just didn't satisfy. Anyhow, good piece.
-Jo Nesbo. I used to read Scandi crime some but I've lost my taste for it since an incident in my own family. Random crazy violence close up and personal is a life-changer.
-Ukraine waiting for Russia to invade.... this is what makes reading older NYers worth it - here we are at the end of summer and Putin is doing pretty much exactly what the people in the article have been expecting.
-The New Nature Conservancy - partnership and compromise with big business. Is it worth it? I read this piece carefully. It's a really on the one hand and on the other..... it seems to me that pursuing both objectives of the conservation movement are worthwhile. When possible preserve a chunk and keep it wild. When dealing with a sensitive area that can't be fully preserved, then work with the owners to find alternative ways to do things that will mitigate harm and maybe lead to innovation and even improvements. To sit around arguing about which way is 'best' is just stupid. They should all save their breath for arguing over the gray areas and emergencies.
'The Fugitive' Lyudmila Ulitskaya FABULOUS STORY!!! Two weeks in a row of good fiction! Celebrate. Exceptionally fine story here.
-easing painful memory - research on ways to let a memory remain intact, but free your body from the fear response caused by the memory. One researcher's father, as a child, was swept up in the holocaust - surviving on his own and then in a camp (shades of The Painted Bird simply cannot talk about it. His way of coping: silence.
-Early sounds from 19th century. Amazing!
-Newark school rescue. I remember the hoo-ha about this and the gradual realization that it was not going to be easy (meanwhile you think of all the individual kids not learning to read or write or the least thing about arithmetic).
-Architect Jeanne Gang and redesigning aquarium..... This piece never came into focus - torn I think by the subject matter. Most aquariums in this case Baltimore) are dropping the 'dolphin show' and the captive dolphin programs. What will they use as a draw instead? Gang is in the vanguard of the rethink/redesign. All very good, but I felt the article was torn between the requirements of the dolphins and the architecture issues, understandably.
-The Waitress/Coover - the old 3 wishes tale......a one pager. OK.
-Don't watch late night TV, so.....
-review of In the Light of What We Know Zia Halder Rahman How do they choose what to review? This does sound like a worthy novel.... but why have I, five months after it came out, not heard of it, not a pip or a squeak? Smart and unreadable?
I was reading that article, thinking it reminded me of something a friend had told me awhile back about her brother, and... there on the next page was the friend's brother, the Library of Congress guy.
-The yips. I remember hearing about this years ago on some radio show, a twitch that is the bane of golfers. Much research has gone into finding out what the cause is - some kind of physical/neurological snafu - and almost everyone is vulnerable to it. It also appears to be linked to the problems that some musicians run into of certain muscles seizing up (often accompanied by great pain) and refusing to work. There also appears to be a visual component, i.e. some golfers get around the problem by not looking directly at their hands on the club or by holding it in a different way..... although some of these fixes turn out to be only temporary. Anyhow, fascinating. As someone who frequently has things just fall out of her hand, I know I have the yips without even teeing up.
-word magic. The eternally recurring notion that the language you speak might affect how you actually comprehend the world.
-Iran's 'new' (several months ago) foreign ministry. Skimmed.
-Militia within the military. Creepy, but why am I not surprised??
-Camilo Ok this story was just ok, but it was accepted for its exotic origins... The interplay of soccer/life, please. Crafted - lacked conviction.
-Where does all the time go? It's a, uh, timely topic, but..... OK so what do all the Europeans do with their leisure time is what I want to know? Do they.... sit in cafes chatting? Or take a half hour to down an ale by the Thames in Oxford? (Like my beloved Morse and Lewis.) Cook fabulous meals while chatting and drinking with friends? What? I mean, are they happy with it? I do think in the US there are two kinds of busy - the kind to keep your head above water and the kind so you can put a 4th car in yr. garage. And like the lady writes, they are connected in a bad way.
-Hillary. I'm generally disgusted with the media and their approach to the private lives of anyone 'famous' for whatever reason. On the other hand, choose the life and deal with the consequences. It's hard to pull away the dreck and get to the only question that matters, would Hillary do a good job as president? Likely, yes. Would I vote for her? Likely yes. No matter what the press does or doesn't say about her personal life. Is there anything we don't already know?
-conductor in Budapest. Sounds like a great person with interesting and worthy ideas. I have come to .... unrespect.... the 'art music' world, frankly: the perfectionism, exclusivity, obsessiveness and cruelty of it. And the boring worshipful way we are all supposed to listen to it. I'm talking about the tiny percentage who make it into the professional music world after lives of obsessive work and competition - the thousands of decently talented who are crushed and think they shouldn't play anything. Humans are wired to love music and I mean as active participants, not just obedient listeners in rows of chairs.... Epitomizes everything I find .... creepy and unnatural about high Western culture. But yeah, I am a hippie au fond, as if you hadn't guessed. I mean, I live off the grid in Vermont! What do you expect!
-Edward St. Aubyn. I've been aware of this writer and 'meaning' to read his books, and now I will. Great article.
-Gezi - read a bit hastily
-Story 'Ba Baboon'. This was pretty good although it got a little unfocussed at the end, but the setting and premise, strong.
-Tolkien's Beowulf. Good for Christopher getting this out. Can't wait to read it!
-Skimmed the Zucker.
It's a bad sign when right after you finish a NYer you look at the table of contents and can't remember half of what the pieces were....
Lots of fiction in this one - theme romance. For the wedding month. How boring can you be?
-Here's the Story. Nunh-unh. Just. No.
-John Green - a four hankie writer and obviously quite sincere etc. Seriously? He's all right. My daughter is just leaving the demographic and never was a fan.
-You can find love now - the funny, not bad. Cyclops trying cyber-dating.
-Yesterday - main characteristic was a cool sort of 'tone' or 'color' to the story....
-The Bad Graft. This was very good and very weird! Those Johsua trees!
The little doodads about romance by various writers.... some were good, some were annoying, C'mon, Rachel, NOBODY is that cool at that age. Sorry. Don't buy it.
Sketchbooks were amazing and wonderful. But I'm a sucker for Alison B. And Chris Ware puts me in a kind of trance state or something.
I understand the impulse to get fed up and read a shelf of books randomly and then write about it... but.... it's an adventure that might mean more the the individual than as a subject for an entire book. I can't imagine subjecting myself to requiring that I plow through a bunch of books I loathe. I could have at thirty, but not now.
Overall a bit thin, this issue.
-First off - the Booth cover (Beware of dog/dog crouching in tree) is worthy of posting on the icebox.
-Disruption. I thought I might burst a blood vessel reading this one. To avoid contact with the kind of people who think like this is one reason why I live out in the woods in Vermont. Some words should be left alone and disruption is one of them. Not a concept to be used carelessly or forced into servitude to big business. It's a terrible word with terrible connotations. A word that turns to bite its master. A master who, like the magician's nephew, has no idea what he or she has released. Death being the ultimate disruption. It is a word that describes worlds and lives falling apart, it is about destroying, shattering and sundering. The person who came up with the idea is, to my mind, the equivalent of the magician's nephew sloppily creating chaos out of laziness and greed. I may sound like a crank to you, but I respect language. It's very dis-couraging.
-Saunders 'Liner Notes' was brilliantly funny. I loved it!
-Broad City. Sounds like some tv I might enjoy if I watched much tv. Maybe it will turn up in some format I can watch eventually.
-OK this article was worth the whole mag. I had no idea these scams were going on. I read a dystopic novel a few years ago by the black sf writer O - you had to pay everyone, firemen etc. up front or they would just let yr. house burn down and at the time I thought, no way! But stories like this? Break your heart.
-Argosy. Sigh. I loved that store when I was at college nearby.
-Did not read the story. All I had to see was there was a cute little dog and I knew that it would end with the dog's death and how sad sad sad it would be. (Flipped to the end and yep.) What is this story doing in this magazine?
Maybe I was a little crankier than usual here. So be it.
Came back to refine the thought - evil wizard to magician's nephew, that is what I meant to write.
Speaking of disruption. My bank changed 'vendors' (which the teller explained to me as 'the people who do the scanning' whatever that means) and so the phone banking, which I needed to use to send my daughter her allowance (her balance was 12.00) which includes a big part of her food money for school, has changed. When I got on it this morning, all innocently unknowing, it would. not. work. no matter what numbers I put in.... well, yeah, I went batshit for a little while and the dude I live with said, "of course it won't work if you are carrying on like that". I had to drive to the bank and do the transfer in person where I learned from the teller that the brand-new system doesn't work yet..... isn't even set-up yet.... I don't like on-line banking, it creeps me out frankly, and I've become fond of the phone banking, and I can imagine thousands of users who are shut-ins etc. who were a lot more discommoded than me. This is classic disruption and it serves no purpose whatsoever. Oh yes, and what the teller said was telling: We changed to this new vendor because it works better for us." Not you and me, apparently!
That's awful, a typo!
Oh, I don't get kicked off my bank site for insufficient use; that would be highly annoying.
This one went by fast, let's find out why.
-Big piece on a band called xx. Skimmed
-Sedaris on the fitbit. I'm kind of off Sedaris, but it was amusing enough.
-Ted Cruz. Another scary Republican. Read it as carefully as I could.
-Richard Linklater, director. Yeah, I didn't read it all that attentively. It felt like promo for his latest movie.
-Rebecca Curtis "The Pink House" - not a bad ghost story, but why is it in the June not the end of
-Stephen Crane. Now I want to read his two other novels!
For me, not an issue that I got my teeth into.
-9/11 museum. If Adam is right it sounds brutal and desperately wrong. On the other hand, perhaps it does echo what happened? Or perhaps time will mellow it? Right when something is built is the hardest time to make a judgment.
-San Francisco woes. Well, I kind of read it. Seems as though better communication is needed? Also that the dotcom people are lagging behind the actual needs of the city's citizens, committed to ideas/projects that are now counter-productive.
-Chilean miners. I always go 'oh no' when I see this sort of story, because I know I will read it avidly - this was no exception, of course. It is always fascinating, isn't it, to read how people cope. It is a thrill that they all lived through it. Pathetic as the food supply in the locker was, if there hadn't been any they would have all died.
-Applecake/Goodman WOWZA! A plus plus Allegra! This story made the whole issue worthwhile. A 'tear out' story - that is I'll tear it out and make my husband read it. (The last tear out was Liner Notes a few weeks back.)
-Brian Eno. Is. Cool. Been a fan for decades ever since I bought a tape ('member those?) by mistake, actually!
A decent issue, not stellar but solid.
-x-games. Hard to work up caring. This felt like (not terribly) subtle media promotion.
-an uncommon genetic disorder - how the internet has brought people together in a new way. This was a classic medical piece. Very solid.
-Janet Yellen. Most interesting. I did glaze over here and there, but I did my best.
-Schools in trouble - pressure to cheat. A moving piece, but the public education juggernaut being what it is, they're victims like the students. I'm glad this fellow who is featured in the article has gotten on with his life, but he should be teaching.
-Story 'Wagner in the Desert' - I started out disliking everything about the story, the first person narrative, the premise, the characters. . . and that didn't really change, but somewhere in there the story took a turn and seemed to be about more than the sum of its parts. . . at least briefly. So I'm not sure. I'd have to read it twice and I'm not going to. I thought the end didn't keep me moving in the direction I was sensing the writer wanted to take me. In any event - two places, one where the fellow masturbates - very funny - and where Lily explains why they shouldn't have sex, stood out. Hm. I think what happened is that the characters are revealed to be more vulnerable than they act, that it is an act... doesn't quite work but see how much I'm writing about it?
-Civil rights and equal rights. Gotta find a bio of Alice Paul!
et voila. A reasonable issue. I love these three NYer months, only one more to go!!
-paleo diet. You know what? I think this stuff is just plain silly. Moderation. That's the hardest thing to do of all.
-Deniers... mildly funny
-the violin sellers - Well I don't know what to think. Belong in my category of people I didn't know about but that was OK. There is something a bit creepy about them. It is commendable however that they have the goal of keeping the instruments available for great musicians to play.
-Biden. I know he's a gasbag but head and heart are in the right place. Enjoyed reading about him.
-Mean girl. Not a sport I can summon up any interest in, slightly weird of me, as I read sf/fantasy with women characters who are great fighters, but they are always fighting for a great cause, not just ... to fight. I did try.
-Last meal at/Story Didn't work at all for me. I felt its intensity etc. but just couldn't get on board. The 'not explaining what is wrong with my mother' bit felt so so so contrived. Just annoying. I couldn't get a grip on who the people were either, at first I thought they were utterly poverty-stricken to be where they were, and yet.... somehow they had a decent little house.... oh I don't know, the broccoli cake? The only convincing bit was at the 'home' when the protag was interacting with the salesman.
-All those M-i.6 spies and counter-spies. It's kind of sad and sordid when you get down to it.
So that is it for July. I would have to categorize this issue as a bit scattered and lackluster, nothing terrible but no stand-outs. Onward to August.
-What is a woman? A brief gander and the state of gender politics at colleges. This is a topic that interests me but I think not in the same way it does many who focus on mainly on identifying issues of gender as being a matter mostly of sexual desire (orientation) and on exploitation, both sexual and economic, of women--the punishment for the vulnerabilities of being the one who physically bears children. I am thrilled at the transgender movement, probably naively, as I suspect that probably half the men and women you know, have had some aspect of their character, thwarted repressed and squashed because how they really feel doesn't fit the role into which they are shoved due to the genitalia they were born with. I'm saying even the manliest of men, quite hetero indeed, might sometimes like prancing about wearing nailpolish, and that even the womanliest of women might be seriously into, say, quantum computing -but they won't let themselves go, because it doesn't fit, so they are thwarted, I'm saying. So I love this new generation of explorers of what gender really is.
-Money talks - BRILLIANT! I was also thrilled that I knew some of these definitions already!
-annals of crime - locking up innocent people. A perennial NYer theme and one that never fails to stir my indignation. Perhaps this article will help the fellow move towards justice.
-on Edward Hirsch's new book - an elegy for his son Gabriel. Lovely, sad.
-Action - Gee whiz, this seems like such trodden ground, nothing surprising at all, much as I love Theroux generally.
-Pisani on Indonesia - I've been there and loved the country. Might actually have to get and read the book.
A reasonable issue.
Nope, not in the recycling bin. So, guilty conscience, I stepped through the registration to read it online.
Yes, I did do that. The NYer piece was mainly about how 60's-70's hard core feminists are out of step now with the transgender movement. Events like the Michigans Women's Music Festival don't want to admit men who have transitioned to women, for example. The point is that many feminists really dislike testosterone, period. They don't embrace the idea of the spectrum. There used to be a women's commune here in my village, called Howl, that no men were allowed anywhere near, and no boys over the age of three. Very intense place it was. But a lot of the women there had good reasons to want to have nothing to do with men.
-crooked ladder. Achieving social acceptability through crime. Examines how this back door route to respectability doesn't work for black people in America. Very intriguing. But I think simplified.
-Nina Simone. What a life! What a voice!
-Putin. Ugh ugh ugh. I'm too naive to understand what motivates a person like Putin.
-Shigeru Ban. Very very interesting piece on this architect. Spent quite some time afterward looking at and reading about him on line.
-Picasso. A 'joke-trick' story, not my line really
-on Rick Perlstein's new book about conservatism. Sometimes I feel as if only I could make my brain work a tiny bit harder I would figure out how this happened. My suspicion is that we aren't as far apart as the politicians and media make us out to be. But who knows?
-Zephyr Teachout running for governor of New York state . . . in her platform the 'buying your seat' corruption characteristic of the state's political elite . . . New York State has a long history of patronage and privileges given to the elite--going back to the patroons and the great estates deeded by the English to favourites before the revolution. The system and the attitude are simply.... there. I can't imagine anyone seriously dislodging it, although possibly Teachout can curb it a little. New England, it ain't.
-Triggers (the funny) a little bit funny
-Chinese (western) medical practice has a long way to go.....
-Undercover bigamist (Person you never heard of story) - a police officer working undercover to prevent violent acts against the public by organization in this case the British version of PETA, also used his position to sleep with different women, and in this case also to live with and have a child with different women. It's a sad little tale of woe and bad behaviour.
-Vandana Shiva and GMO's - well I don't know what to thinkj. Specter thinks GMO's are fine. Shiva thinks they are the spawn of the devil. Surely the truth is somewhere in between? The danger of 'uniformizing' all seeds into just a few varieties is what bothers me, not so much the dangers to human health, which I suspect, are minimal. Also I would like to see MUCH MORE ATTENTION given to controlling population growth than to feeding ever more people. What is the matter with us?
-Story Tessa Hadley One Saturday Morning. This was reasonably good but a bit bland.
This was not a gripping issue but one that in fact took me forever to read because I was never terribly taken up with any of the pieces, except perhaps the Chinese medicine one which was also heartbreaking and necessitated being read in small doses.
Zephyr. Wow. What a name! She's got my vote!
Onward to September!
Sigh. Yes. On my reading agenda for next year, pros and cons. I'm not concerned about the Frankenfood aspect, but am concerned about the environmental aspect of e.g. Roundup-ready. Recently found this series of posts and book recommendations. And I'm with you in principle about increasing the food supply... build more highways and you get more cars, etc... OTOH, scarce resources are inevitably distributed unfairly, and it's not you and I who would suffer.
And yes, patronage and corruption are rampant in NY.
-Difficult girl. Complex, anxious, phobic.... You know something about you has fundamentally changed when you no longer read an article like this comparing the person's compulsions, shortcomings, and eccentricities to your own but instead read it thinking (worrying?) just as much about your daughter than your ownself.
-I adore Mary Beard!
-the drag queen wrestler... became interested despite. . . not thinking I would be.
-AIPAC. Diligently tried to absorb the essence of this piece. Probably failed.
-Story The Referrees - I finished this NYer a couple of weeks ago and when I got to the story my mind was utterly blank. But oh yes, the fellow who finds his past has caught up with him most annoyingly.... mildly amusing. A jeu.
-Adam G. can write well but this piece on walking was utterly vapid.
- Football. It was McPhee so I skimmed instead of skipping.
-Slavery in Mauritania. Who needs time travel when we have it right here on Earth.
- Anonymous hackers. Evokes mixed feelings.
-Opioids on Staten Island. Great that they've got the nasal antidote and are distributing it more widely.
-Story McGuane - I normally like McGuane enormously, you could say I'm a fan, but David is just too unbelievably callow. But I guess that's the point, innit?
-Bone Clocks. OK, so I had kind of decided already I didn't have to read it, based on responses here. The NYer is so good at panning a book but still making you kinda want to read it!
This issue took me FOREVER to get through. I wasn't taken up by anything and had to force myself to read the McGuane story twice to make sure I REALLY didn't think it was one of his best.
-Go-Pro cameras. Hello? This felt like an advertisement for the thing, sort of peppy and upbeat. (You wear this cambera on your head and then go out and do silly death-defying things like jump off buildings then you post it on you-tube, then you go to jail for awhile because jumping off buildings is, like, ILLEGAL.)
-Misty Copeland and the ABT. Sounds as if she is going to achieve her ambition to be #1. This is good. I wish I liked ballet for her sake. I find it even a bit creepy and cruel.
-Wonder woman. I know there is a book, so this is an excerpt. And I might read the book. I'm not exactly sure what feminism and 'the style issue' have to do with one another? In fact, if I think about it I will become extremely offended, so I had better stop.
-Full-figure clothing. The quote: "Arnold, who is a veteran of the straight retail world . . . let it be known that, at times in her life, she's worn a size 12." Wha????????????? The tid-bit? Apparently if you wear 12 or less then you are a 'straight-size'. There's a world of pain in that admission, innit? Geez.
-Jack, July -story. This was awful to read, but really pretty good. A crystal freak with his brain fried still trying to live. BUT, why the dog chewing off his sister's face? Why use a DOG? It should have been - a fire he set or something. Not a dog. I should report this to the Literary Animal Abuse League.
-The piece on Scott and Zelda and the latest storm of books about them was pretty good. Adam G at his best, in fact. I know a lot about FSG - wrote a master's thesis on the tGG- so I know something for a change, not just liking the sound of my own voice. Maureen Corrigan has gotten weirder in her reviews, reaching too far? and the book on GG sounds, and no, I haven't read it, and won't, almost embarrassingly off the wall.
Well, it got me to actually read an article in the Style issue. There's another in one of the later Atlantics. I doubt I care enough to read the entire book.
I keep resolving to be more moderate here, but it's really hard. If anyone ever comes along and objects I may have to shift this to a private thread, just so you know. I'd rather write honest responses, even if I turn out to be the stupid intolerant one.
So anyway, I have finished September, which took forever being 5 issues and me being in a funk.
The New Yorker September 29 2014
-Toobin Internet privacy. Photos of a young woman decapitated in a horrific car accident were put on the internet and because the perps were folks who work for a govt. org. when the father tried to get the pix removed legal hullabaloo over our precious right to say whatever we want without considering any ethical issues or even just basic kindness whatsoever (really, what does this make us?). Europe has a different attitude to privacy due to their history of spying on people. So is there a happy middle ground? This leads me to ask is it a legitimate fear that if people curb their impulses or, say, admit they've done something stupid and unkind, that they are inhibiting their right to free speech? A mild example: So you don't tell your colleague to their face they have halitosis, cos that might be, you know, mean, but you can just tweet it. Yeah, right, nice. Beneath all of that is the question of who would look at the photos of the young woman. And what might such sights not do to them? We all get so excited about PTSD but then allow images to roam free that would traumatize me if I saw them. ---- (shift of focus)---From a technical standpoint the article is about Google's responsibilities as a purveyor - not the originator of the information. And there are ways that search engines can be directed away from certain material. You have to work harder to find it. That could, although I am not crazy about it, make a huge difference to a lot of people.
-funny, wasn't funny
-among parentless and childless, megan daum. I actually read this one twice. It's brave for a woman to admit she doesn't have the maternal yen. Very brave. That said, I was bewildered by Daum's choices. At 41 she did become pregnant, but miscarried, and this was followed by jumping into the foster care world, knowing nothing at all about children or parenting, as a way to connect with a child or children. It felt to me like a choice driven by weirdnesses and contradictions. Like, choosing the highest diving board to jump off of when you don't know how to swim. After the second read through I was more able to remind myself that everyone really is different. Her extreme choice about how to relate to children seems poignant--misguided but understandable given who she is. In sum, a decent piece. Strange, but ok.
-Isis and the Kurds. I did my best to read this attentively. The US does not come out smelling pretty. Big surprise.
-Bard College and Botstein. Hooray for Botstein! Harold Taylor did something similar for my own college, Sarah Lawrence, decades ago. Once the structure is in place, the academic underpinning that makes Bard the right choice for a particular kind of person, whoever takes over the school next can nurture it by raising money or whatever - you reinforce what works. I love what Botstein is doing! My daughter is at SLC now it is remarkable to me how little the underlying structure which Taylor hammered into place has changed - because it is sound and it works, that is why!
-Rosendale. I admit, I didn't get this story, not really, although I enjoyed reading it -- it had a quirky liveliness to it and I liked the golem idea. I just lost the thread at the end. No idea what I'm supposed to think.
Eimear McBride - Having just finished Ulysses this piece on her book A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing was intriguing.
-I'm a Martin Amis fan. Don't know if I want to read about the camps though.
And on to October!
Oh, I know, and my suspicions align with yours though I haven’t devoted any time to scientific analysis.
I like your honest responses. I’m more reserved by nature.
Semi-remembering September 29 issue...
Internet privacy : It is weird how we have trigger warnings in some contexts and then random horrors scrolling through news feeds. And village gossip expanded to a worldwide scale.
Bard : Sometimes I wish I could do college over again.
-Super PAC. skimmed. Read this a week ago and threw mag away in airport. It has utterly evaporated from my head. I know it is about election money-grubbing reform (or not).
-Chinese chefs. What makes this feel different is how isolated these chefs are - they spend so little time in any actual place - slowing the process of being absorbed (for better or worse) into US society (if at all).
-Hedge fund scandal. Well, I confess, I could not read this.
-Cairo garbageman. Fascinating and appalling. Among other horrors, I had no idea that female circ. was a big thing in Egypt too. I thought Heller was a bit too busy being 'fair.'
-Murakami Not my kind of story.
-Bio of Nelson Rockefeller. Now this was kind of interesting! Best piece in this issue. Interesting man.
Frankly a lackluster issue.
But he was governor of NY for most of my childhood/teenage years and is responsible for the infamous Rockefeller drug laws and the Attica massacre. So not my favorite man.
-Obama - analysis of his handling of the federal judiciary. Somewhat readable. It does make you wonder how he will spend his time once he leaves the White House.
-pro-life strategy. I could only think how appalled Anthony would have been by this use of her name. As ever, I am appalled by the irresponsible messianism of the "faithful." I'll take reason over beliefs any day. Hardwired.
-Ebola. Read every word. Scary. I am in awe of the medical workers.
-Billy Joel. Kind of read it.
Story by Tom Hanks? Are you kidding me? It was Woody Allenish and fairly amusing, actually.
I still have one issue - october 6 which I think I left at home, not quite finished.
Hmmmm and I don't quite know what I did with the 20th issue which I swear I read! But perhaps not. So maybe two issues.
The New Yorker Oct 6
-16 yr old exposed to Riker's prison. Hard to read without gagging with indignation.
-russian novelist Lyiudmila Ulitskaya - glad to read about her.
-Rand Paul - confirmation that intense beliefs and rational thought don't mix particularly well.
-Chris Ofil - painter. Read very casually.
-Story, with Bird, Kevin Canty. Minor effort. Polished.
-Marilynne Robinson - I am not as crazy about her as some readers. I'll probably read Lila though having read the rest. I thought Housekeeping the best and so far still do.
The New Yorker October 20
-emotional support animals. Flippant and frankly snotty. Not that I think it is a terribly sensible situation, I am not a supporter of people getting away with taking pets everywhere, but it was nonetheless a terrible and even embarrassing article. Shame on you.
-Beethoven. I though I wouldn't read and then I did. Not sure I agree with all of it, the genius bit, in particular, but it was full of interesting bits.
-Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden. This was an interesting story that I found somehow unreadable. Can't explain.
-Another desperate mess in Africa. So sad, so depressing, just so hopeless. Islam does seem the most prone, of the three major desert religions, to give people 'permission' to kill other people wantonly. Very sad.
-copyright wars. Nicked the surface, but laid out the basic issues. Info only.
-Elizabeth Harrower of Oz - might try one book.
A so so issue. I was truly appalled by the Patricia Marx piece.
The New Yorker Nov 3 Food Issue
-Shut up and Eat - Lanchester gives a tour of his changing views of restaurants and reviews and being interested in food.
-the Cronut. Well, I don't live in NYC and I don't stand around in lines to eat things I shouldn't eat, so I am not likely ever to eat one.
-Food on cruise ships. I cannot understand signing up to be trapped in a huge boat with a bunch of people on a boat so huge you don't even feel it and nothing to do but eat and shop -- I just can't wrap my head around it. But I did enjoy the article, the scale of what goes into it is amazing.
-about gluten. This was genuinely interesting, esp as I've read little rumblings on the topic here and there. The question is more about the added gluten, essentially, whether there is a tipping point, a gluten glut that does stress the immune system. I eat 'some' gluten: things I like, a piece of toast here or a cookie there. It has been my experience that when I cut back I don't feel sleepy during the day, I can lose weight, and I maintain weight more easily being careful about bread, pasta and etc. I don't really eat much in the way of processed foods, either.
-Elite meat - I like what this woman, Anya Fernald, is saying and doing with her company - sustainable practices agricuturally, in particular.
-Jess Row - The Empties. The best story I've read in here in ages and ages!!!! Great piece of spooky post-apoc.!!! Loved it!!!!! Left my head clanging with questions.
-I'm sorry I missed Olive Kittredge on the teev, but it will come around on Netflix sooner or later.
- about a magazine called "Modern Farmer" - well, I must admit it sounds like a lot of fun. Not the farming, but the magazine.
-about a playwright Butterworth. He sounds all right and his plays sound well worth seeing. I disliked the article, not sure why.
-about child abuse among Hasids. One man spoke out and was slammed down. Remind you of another male dominated fanatical church?
-about Chris Rock. Well I can't get interested. I'll have to wait and see how he is as an actor in a movie.
-Antonya Nelson's story. Good enough to rip out and keep. I loved it.
-I scanned the review of The Georgetown Set - those days seem so . . . long ago. Joe Alsop, the Grahams and etc.
-Hillary the front-runner. Let's face it, America isn't ready for a woman president. It makes me mad and sad.
-Israel's decline of tolerance. Can't even comment. A situation so complex and terrible I can't believe anyone even allows him or herself to have a righteous opinion about any of it.
-Living in Vermont as I do, possibly the most humane state in the union (one or two other contenders) every time I read about Alabama I think, "Is this state actually part of the same country I live in?" I don't mean that flippantly. I mean that for real.
-obsession with a school bully. Oh I don't know. This was the most engaging and human piece, on a small scale that I could absorb, yet. Yet. I'm not sure where the author wanted to take me.
-Eggers - "The Alaska of Giants and Gods" This was another excellent story. Very solid.
-It was fascinating to read this little bit about Bob Hope - I never would read a bio of him, this was enough but a good taste.
-an agency for top programmers. I read it.
-spotify - not something I'm likely to use, so I skimmed it.
-3-D printing and medicine. Yowza. Star Trek here we come.
-cyber athletes. It does take all the fun out of it, no? Sometimes I think our culture is just ... off the rails entirely about what matters.
-Drone warfare. Painful reading. What do we all think we're doing?
Sorry for the lackluster sum-up. You can guess that I found this whole issue disturbing in many ways. But then I also just read Dave Egger's The Circle. That might have something to do with it.
Like the 3-D stuff - if you can make a new gun or a new heart, where does that get you in the end?
Drones - wait til the first one pops up here and kills someone. It will.
I have an opposite take on running; there are elite levels w/ high pressure, but it's also filled with amateurs who care more about their own progress than comparison with others. I'd suppose decrease of "sandlot" play goes along with parental monitoring and institutionalizing of kid activities, which I agree is a dubious development.
Yeah. But we are equipped with all manner of myopic foibles; we think locally with global effects. The tragedy of the commons.
E.O. Wilson is not entirely mistaken
The gist IIRC is that it allowed population explosion separated from "nature", and evolution didn't give us a built-in ability to apply social brakes.
a SENSIBLE number of people
Yes, well... define this and implement the plan. :-)
No need to define the number. Understanding of what is at stake is the issue. Agriculture is not the bad guy. I wouldn't be the one to say that humans were only 'pure' or 'right' as hunter-gatherers. That seems kind of . . .harsh . . . somehow.
Is not one feature of being intelligent the ability to work around pure instinct? Big question!
Well, tra la, the sun is actually shining and the temp not far from 50. I must go outside!
-Missing Supreme Court files. Interesting that they get to keep their papers private. Didn't know that. Not sure what I think.
-Joseph Mitchell memoir. Beautiful, wish there was more!
-Angela Merkel. Fascinating - it's amazing what she has achieved. Could an American woman follow such a trajectory? Somehow I doubt it. Amazing that she can 'handle' Putin.
-Beneficial poop - I've read about this elsewhere. Extraordinary!
-Story - Etgar Keret -- It was OK, not riveting or terribly original.
-What Google could learn from GM. Toujours ca change toujours c'est la meme chose, n'est-ce pas?
A good issue with several riveting pieces.
-Turkish border w Syria. I don't even know what to say, really. From bad to worse it goes.
-Paris. And then the night after reading this I saw a movie that had a brief glimpse of the ghastly locks in it. Let me think - My Old Lady it's called, w Kevin Kline, it was very good! Bring on the lock-proof surface, I say. As much as anything it is a stupid and wasteful fad.
-rodeo children. !!!!!!
-the chatty curator. Actually, he sounds pretty great and I like his notions.
-Tim Parks story - pretty decent, not stellar. Could it have ended sooner?
-Samantha Harvey, novelist. Sometimes I think that the NYer combs the stacks for someone you haven't heard of just to put you in your place. Sort of like the way restaurants come up with some new food you never heard of.
-Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos, a new, quicker, cheaper, broader, less painful way to get your blood tested. If it is all it is cracked up to be, it's a breakthrough. A huge one! Is this a new paradigm for ambitious young women or is she an exception. I do find it a bit peculiar that everyone on her board could be her great-grandparent and is male to boot.
-ice hockey star is unsettling the code..... well, do I care? No. But it's ok if you do, eh? One thing a hockey playing cousin told me once was that it was di rigeur for high school and college hockey NEVER to wash any of the clothes you wore that season. He said it was the smell finally that kind of did him in.
-Vine vid - what the coolest of the cool youth are up to. Having just read that Eggers book, The Circle this article chilled me.
-Photographs from the arctic -- I must have returned to these every time I picked up the mag.
-Story, "Savage Breast ' - just didn't get anywhere with this one. Maybe the whole idea was too much of a stretch or something? Not sure, but I wasn't swept in.
-review of Inherent Vice. Oh I badly want to see this movie, but it got away from me when it came out. I hope it will pop up soon on Netflix etc.
Just the one interesting article about Holmes.
And now for the very last issue of 2014!!!!
-The as-yet mysterious applications for graphene - the problem is blocking its conductivity.
-Rachel Harrison's sculpture - she left me unmoved. I really couldn't quite get what was so amazing about it without being there, I guess.
-Aids - close to cure? Finding a med or cocktail that will rout out every last sneaky bit of it.
-Samantha Power. OK so this was interesting. I admit I avoid the news but I had never HEARD of her. I read The Week and Science weekly and, uh, the New Yorker and occasionally scan the NYT on line but she's slipped by me totally. That said - she sounds fascinating and thankyou NYer for bringing her to my attention.
-Photos of the march to Montgomery. Gives me prickles!
-New Zealand eradicating invasive pests. Way to go Kiwis!
There were several little one page pieces most were entertaining.
-Story - Farah. I had a little trouble staying focussed on it. The quiet narrative, distant focus, lack of emotion though was effective.
I confess I glanced at but did not read about the new history of the Paris Commune. my bad, I am sure.
In terms of the format and appearance? I dislike the changes. Too busy.
And good-bye to 2014.
For 2015 go here