Saturday, August 15th, 2020
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Jordan Peterson has huge charisma, period, and his recent travails serve to render him even more human. His efforts to ground our current unmoored times (the chaos referred to in the title) in the fertile garden of our intellectual and spiritual heritage (the curative order) are the work of the angels.
The first of his 12 Rules for Life is Nietzschian, an evolutionary biological backgrounder for the maxim to fake it till you make it. The second is Rousseauian: we must love ourselves with amour de soi rather than amour-propre. But the whole thing — and particularly this second rule — is peppered with discussion of founts fundamental to me — Genesis, Taoism, Jung — so that the book feels like it fell out of my own mind, albeit a more disciplined, erudite, deeper version.
Either because of this over-familiarity or because the book is in fact junk food, I cannot remember anything of it as I revisit a few weeks later to write this. Is Peterson merely an Alain de Botton of the Right, a popularizer / informal codifier of what every self-respecting Westerner already knows? Either I need to pick up the book and start again, or perhaps stop reading everything else and get back to the Bible, Plato and Aristotle.
Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Devi Sridha, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, had been trying to sound the alarm about the British herd-immunity approach with pieces such as “Britain had a head start on Covid-19, but our leaders squandered it”.
Monday, March 9th, 2020
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
This Gates Foundation presentation on global inequality is clear, straightforward, well-written, nicely illustrated with animated graphs, and surely worth the time of anyone who can access it.
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
Goodbye, Judith Kerr, goodbye!
Sunday, June 17th, 2018
As my year of diving languorously into the murky waters of the Wake wore on, I came to feel that it was this failure, this impossibility, this grand futility of the Wake, that constituted its secret theme, its true aboutness.
Sunday, May 20th, 2018
The Closing of the Hi-Gloss Colonel of American Letters Tom Wolfe’s Eyes. The New York Times obituary by Deirdre Carmody and William Grimes.
Sunday, April 1st, 2018
What did Jews tend to die of? The entry on morbidity in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906.
Saturday, August 12th, 2017
On golf, drunk driving in Phoenix, and “the hillbilly passover Seder”: Alice Cooper eulogizes his good friend Glen Campbell.
Sunday, June 11th, 2017
This fresh Los Angelino perspective on Frank Lloyd Wright tries to build the case that the somber Mayan style of the four homes he built in the city reflects the devastation of the mass murder at Taliesin a few years earlier.
Friday, January 6th, 2017
Thank you, Evelyn Gordon, for providing some clarity for those now afar over why so many Israelis are supporting Elor Azaria, convicted of manslaughter for killing subdued terrorist Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif.
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
At last — birth control for rats! A Long Read in The Guardian.
Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Published in 1976, the themes nonetheless feel contemporary some 40 years later: environmental destruction, economic inequality, social alienation, childlessness. It’s all very naturalistic. We never encounter any aliens because they are long gone, and we don’t understand their amazing technological artifacts at all. And the people are in constant emotional turmoil.
Saturday, March 19th, 2016
Max Edwards, a 16-year-old writing in The Guardian. What a dude. [Update 8 days later: the man is already gone.]
Monday, March 7th, 2016
Eddie was more than a hero, Mrs Meechum. He was our friend.
Claire Underwood in House of Cards
Friday, February 5th, 2016
Monday, January 18th, 2016
A bit of a fun mindbender. Queen’s Greatest Hits performed by what I guess is a Beatles tribute band using the latter’s idioms. Full album.
Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
The conclusion of this peer-reviewed scientific article on sauna: “Increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a reduced risk of SCD, CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality.”
Monday, August 18th, 2014
Despite it all, Israelis must own this:
B’Tselem’s list of Gazans killed at home during Operation Tzuk Eitan.
Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Not only isn’t the Israel Broadcasting Association listing the names of the child fatalities from the Gaza bombings but refusing to let B’Tselem pay for an ad doing so. And the Attorney General has upheld the decision. This seems to me a mistake. We must fully own these deeds.
Monday, April 28th, 2014
Monday, August 12th, 2013
Dr Mark Post of Maastricht University serves the world’s first non-lethal hamburger.
Friday, March 8th, 2013
Surely the definitive article about internet wunderkind Aaron Swartz. Only eating white or yellow food seems a glaring sign that not everything there was quite right.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Adam Garfinkle at The American Interest waxes catholic and sensible on the runaway American health care system — or, more accurately, disease repair system.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Friday, August 17th, 2012
BBC presenter Ben Fogle’s eulogy of his black labrador. This dog angel helped him win his fame, fortune and hot wife. Commiserations.
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Terrific humanistic piece by David Brooks using current presidential candidate bromides as a jump-off point.
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
From the comments section: “I feel sad that a supposedly respectable publication would allow a disturbed person to humiliate themselves by publishing a rant as perverse as this.” ‘Breaking Bad Karma: How the cancer victim at the center of the AMC series justifies my skepticism of Holocaust survivors’ by Anna Breslaw. [via Commentary]
Sunday, July 15th, 2012
Sunday, July 1st, 2012
Excerpt from Nora Ephron’s frank and down-to-earth essay on aging.
Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Wild city: On the night shift: Bangkok’s body collectors by Al-Jazeera. Looks like it’s mostly motorcycle accidents, or should that be mortocycle.
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
“ A world that places any value on the idea of universal human rights
should no longer overlook North Korea’s enormities. ” —The Economist
Saturday, February 18th, 2012
Friday, December 16th, 2011
Monday, December 12th, 2011
Hitchie on Nietzsche: Am I Really Stronger? [link broken]
Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Sunday, November 27th, 2011
David Brooks on Charlie Rose discusses the new political schism in America, the recent rise of narcissism in the culture, and some general trends in the thousands of life summaries he’s solicited from readers over 70.
Friday, October 21st, 2011
Dead. Qua-daffy. The NYT’s potted (and potty) history. “By the time he was done, Libya had no parliament, no unified military command, no political parties, no unions, no civil society and no nongovernmental organizations.”
Monday, September 19th, 2011
Spengler: the “new, apocalyptic tone” in the Middle East is due to Egypt’s chronic unproductivity.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
My goodness: a long juicy New Yorker piece on David Grossman.
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Monday, February 22nd, 2010
The Beginning of Wisdom
Leon R. Kass
The book of the Book. I am biased but there is just so much here, and the good doctor is such graciously juicy writerly company. I especially like the Babel treatment.
Sunday, January 17th, 2010
Satan’s open letter to Pat Robertson in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, as transcribed by Lily Coyle.
Friday, November 20th, 2009