zundel

Sunday 143

Welcome to America, now please shut up

Filed under: Travel, Writing — Tags: , — zundel @ pm

Mirror on America” by David Brooks in The New York Times 2009-05-22

…here will be a prose-poem of pure meaninglessness as his brilliance finally breaks loose from the tethers of observation and oozes across the page in a great, gopping goo of pure pretension.

I know the country, or most of it. It’ll never fit in a book. It has been too cliched, too stereotyped. Describing it truly would require new language, and that would take many words.

Jacques Barzun once observed that of all the books it is impossible to write, the most impossible is a book trying to capture the spirit of America (I first read this truth when I was three-quarters of the way through my own attempt).

Thursday 133

A long good life

Filed under: Mind, Science, Society — Tags: , — zundel @ am

and a very good long read. The best article I have read in some time:

What Makes Us Happy?” by Joshua Wolf Shenk in The Atlantic Monthly June 2009

the story of a father who on Christmas Eve puts into one son’s stocking a fine gold watch, and into another son’s, a pile of horse manure. The next morning, the first boy comes to his father and says glumly, “Dad, I just don’t know what I’ll do with this watch. It’s so fragile. It could break.” The other boy runs to him and says, “Daddy! Daddy! Santa left me a pony, if only I can just find it!”

I want to want a pony. Sadly, I have done otherwise.

“On the bright side,” he has written, “reaction formation allows us to care for someone else when we wish to be cared for ourselves.” But in intimate relationships, he continued, the defense “rarely leads to happiness for either party.”

Yup.

Friday 127

Mortgaging the nation

Filed under: Economy, Politics, Society — Tags: , , — zundel @ am

Obsessive Housing Disorder” by Steven Malanga in City Journal Spring 2009

The program could not work because it tried to solve a problem of wealth creation through debt creation.

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