"But not doing things too disastrously is not some minimal achievement; it is a maximal achievement, rarely managed." Does it help to know history?
A right that ends in sorrow
, aka the difficulty of standing up for something that really sucks. (via Amy Sullivan
In the newest issue of Bookforum
, critic Sven Birkerts ruminates on what he considers to be the regrettable rise of the snarky book review, taking as his starting example Dale Peck's hatchet job on Rick Moody, written in 2002. "Psychologically [the literary] landscape [is one that is] subtly demoralized by the slash-and-burn of bottom-line economics; the modernist/humanist assumption of art and social criticism marching forward, leading the way, has not recovered from the wholesale flight of academia into theory; the publishing world remains tyrannized in acquisition, marketing, and sales by the mentality of the blockbuster; the confident authority of print journalism has been challenged by the proliferation of online alternatives. [...] All of this leads, and not all that circuitously, to the question of snark, the spirit of negativity, the personal animus pushing ahead of the intellectual or critical agenda. Snark is, I believe, prompted by the terrible vacuum feeling of not mattering, not connecting, not being heard; it is fueled by rage at the same."
If This Be War.
This essay by a military historian puts the current muddle of conflicted opinions about war into historical perspective with startling clarity.
Thanks to the Little Green Footballs weblog. I find interesting stuff there every day.
Theocracy in America?
Specifically, in Utah, according to the writer of this Washington Monthly
piece, who grew up there. Is the article too harsh, though, given the author's apparent lingering bitterness regarding her upbringing?
Nader editorial in the WSJ
(with another guy). They were prolly watered down a lot and given that "two cheers for the president" sub-title, but Nader still seems remarkably sanguine about Bush's plans to rein in corporate welfare.