"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.[more inside]
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
What is Nina Totenberg wearing? The Wall Street Journal profiles some unusual style icons: the hosts and staff of National Public Radio.
Robot scientists! A Pretty cool video about research automation from the Wall Street Journal. [slyt]
So you see, I am not making a brief against reading the classics of Western literature. Far from it. I am against taking these startling epiphanies of the irrational, unspoken, unthought-of side of human life into the college classroom and turning them into the bland exercises in competition, hierarchy and information-accumulation that are these works' mortal enemies. An essay by Lee Siegel (SLWSJ)
Yahoo Inc.'s board has approved a deal to acquire blogging startup Tumblr, people familiar with the matter said Sunday. Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion in cash for the company, one of the people said. Tumblr would continue to operate largely as an independent business, the people said. Yahoo! acquired Ludicorp and Flickr in March 2005. The reported acquisition cost was $35 million. [more inside]
Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
The Wall Street Journal put together this helpful infographic showing how recent tax changes will affect the typical American tax payer.
Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
Your e-book is reading you. How publishers are using e-books to gain valuable information about consumers.
Con Artist Starred in Sting That Cost Google Millions - The government's case also contained potentially embarrassing allegations that top Google executives, including co-founder Larry Page, were told about legal problems with the drug ads. [more inside]
In a recent Op-Ed piece on the Wall Street Journal, author, journalist, public speaker and generally inquisitive fellow Robert Bryce offered up following analogy in his discussion of climate change science: "If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere. " And the internet took it from there, in the form of comics, the Twitter hashtag #WSJscience, and plenty of science-minded blogs and sites a-plenty.
That Used to Be Us Tom Friedman has long beaten the English Language like a mule. His new book, "That Used to Be Us" is no exception. [more inside]
"The argument is straightforward: When less legal work is available, more illegal 'work' takes place. ... But there have long been difficulties with the notion that unemployment causes crime. " Author James Q. Wilson on crime, law enforcement and the economy.
Dr. Fuchs’s Donald was no ordinary comic creation. He was a bird of arts and letters, and many Germans credit him with having initiated them into the language of the literary classics. The German comics are peppered with fancy quotations. In one story Donald’s nephews steal famous lines from Friedrich Schiller’s play “William Tell”; Donald garbles a classic Schiller poem, “The Bell,” in another. Other lines are straight out of Goethe, Hölderlin and even Wagner (whose words are put in the mouth of a singing cat). The great books later sounded like old friends when readers encountered them at school. As the German Donald points out, “Reading is educational! We learn so much from the works of our poets and thinkers.” [more inside]
"Among the Hagiographers": The Wall Street Journal's review of a new biography questions our supposed deification of Mohandas Gandhi.
WSJ bravely criticizes the "excessive power of collective bargaining." Robert M. Costrell of wsj.com explains how the governor's proposal to restrict collective bargaining...seems entirely reasonable. via twitter.com/ftrain
Scientists confirm what many New Yorkers already know. Sidewalk rage is real.
The Wall Street Journal's What They Know blog is charged with determining what information marketers are capable of learning about internet users through tracking technology. This weekend, they took aim at Facebook, after their investigation discovered that many popular apps on the social-networking site, including those by Zynga, have been transmitting identifying information in the form of User ID's to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, even if a user has enabled strict privacy settings. Additional analysis. Response post on Facebook's Developer Blog. Forbes' blogger Kashmir Hill asks if the WSJ is overreacting, and Techcrunch notes that the severity and risks of UID transferral are still being debated.
"Psychologists refer to this as the paradox of power. The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Instead of being polite, honest and outgoing, they become impulsive, reckless and rude." Jonah Lehrer for The Wall Street Journal writes about recent findings on power, corruption, and authority and what can be done about it.
The Wall Street Journal investigates web snoops. The 50 sites installed a total of 3,180 tracking files on a test computer used to conduct the study. Only one site, the encyclopedia Wikipedia.org, installed none. Twelve sites, including IAC/InterActive Corp.'s Dictionary.com, Comcast Corp.'s Comcast.net and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.com, installed more than 100 tracking tools apiece in the course of the Journal's test. [more inside]
The first episode of season four of Mad Men (so much previously [meta-previously]) aired tonight. Shortly after, the first "Mad Men"': A Conversation blog entry was posted on the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog. There will be a post for every episode. [more inside]
Some of the only known aerial photos, taken by a police helicopter, the only aircraft allowed in the Manhattan airspace during the attacks, of September the 11th have been released. [more inside]
With today's economy, DIY haircuts are gaining in popularity. Flowbees and electric clipper sales are up. Did you see the drummer's hair?*
"Some consider 20-year-old Fred Grzybowski the best pogo-stick rider in the world, able to leap over a minivan, among other feats. But his days on top may be numbered." Pogopalooza: The 6th Annual Extreme Pogo Competition.
The New American Dream: Renting
The Wall Street Journal goes into the history of homeownership in the US and discusses why it just may not be for everyone.
The Wall Street Journal goes into the history of homeownership in the US and discusses why it just may not be for everyone.
According to the Wall Street Journal, coffee shops in New York are starting to cut back on laptops -- by reducing WiFi privileges, removing outlets, or banning the machines outright. This article has spawned a vast number of spin-off pieces and conversations across the Web. [more inside]
"One must be very naïve or dishonest to imagine that men choose their pants independently of their situation."
Demon Denim. Feeding off a earlier column in the WSJ by Daniel Akst, who wrote, "no fabric has ever been so insidiously effective at undermining national discipline," conservative columnist George Will takes up the (denim-free) banner in the crusade to rid America of "the plague of that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche."
In a recent Wall Street Journal story asking if Obama is "too fit" to be president, the reporter uses a Yahoo! message board to find sources (Google cache of the post). (via DF)
Spread of Prosperity Brings Supply Woes: Slaking China's Thirst Malthusian catastrophe does appear to be at hand, as foreseen by the Club of Rome in 1972 publication of "The Limits of Growth"
Predicting the Future WSJ - "We look ahead 10 years, and imagine a whole different world." Plus, review of predictions from 1998 -
Remedial economics for the WSJ editorial board An April 26 Wall Street Journal editorial argued that "the overall tax burden grew more progressive" in the last 25 years because upper income taxpayers pay a larger share of total taxes than they did in 1979. But the Journal failed to explain why upper income taxpayers pay a larger share today: The wealthiest Americans earn a much larger share of total income than they did in 1979. [see, too: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_04/006194.php]
Europe versus America (PDF) is a report by a Swedish public policy institute comparing the two economies, concluding that "If the European Union were a state in the USA it would belong to the poorest group of states." The WSJ has read the report, and highlights that "Most Americans have a standard of living which the majority of Europeans will never come anywhere near [...]. in the U.S. a large 45.9% of the 'poor' own their homes, 72.8% have a car and almost 77% have air conditioning, which remains a luxury in most of Western Europe. The average living space for poor American households is 1,200 square feet. In Europe, the average space for all households, not just the poor, is 1,000 square feet.". With a looming demographic crisis in Europe to boot, will the EU be able to implement much-needed reforms to save their welfare-state system before it is too late?
Libyan dissident Fathi Eljahmi needs our help. Adam Daifallah relays the basics of Wall Street Journal columnist Claudia Rosett's piece about Eljahmi Wednesday. (I am linking to Adam's blog because the WSJ requires registration to read.) Ms. Rosett first mentioned Eljahmi last month. Now he and his family have disappeared.
Harlan Ellison vs. AOL This case has been discussed before, but here's an update from the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ offers tips for slacking off at work. My own favorite: leave an old wallet on your desk next to your monitor. See ya in three hours!
"Buying an SUV is partly an act of fantasy." In the interest of throwing gasoline on the fire, I present David Brooks, SUV apologist, in the Wall Street Journal.
How Much is a Human Life Worth? Read the smoke signals that it's nigh time for tort reform. In the newest bout of self-help jurisprudence, the "good" people of california have gone too far in awarding an obscene amount of money in a case against Philip Morris. Betty Bullock can now take her 28 billion and go shopping for half of Microsoft, or any other Fortune 500 company, if she's so inclined. Assuming that there is a bank in the land that can cash the check. Smoking my way to the bank.
Silly Putty supersized. Indulge in tactile manipulation on the kind of scale that would make jealous schoolchildren weep. Do they come in giant plastic shells?
With friends like the Saudis, who needs enemies? "There is, then, no real need for us to be frightened by the loss of the kingdom's oil friendship. But we should be concerned by the evidence of its strategic enmity. It may be true that the Saudis are neither Iraqis nor Iranians nor Libyans; but it is quite dangerous enough that they are Saudis."
Fairly well-reasoned WSJ Op-Ed piece concerning the Boston Phoenix decision to link the unedited Daniel Pearl video. Apparently the Phoenix's editor claims he would have wanted it shown.
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