Friday, September 10, 2021

Going into Hiding: You’re Right — Things Are Worse Now Than They Were 60 Years Ago


I broke that town in half like a wooden match.
Charles Bukowski, Post Office

I don't know about you, but I lie awake nights worrying about Canadian uranium. I know these people. I grew up there. You have no idea what they're capable of doing. If Sidney Crosby hadn't scored that goal to win the Olympic gold medal, there's no telling what might have ensued.
 – Charles Krauthammer  

There is no Frigate like a Book (1286)

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

You’re Right — Things Are Worse Now Than They Were 60 Years Ago

Sixty years after Kennedy’s speech to Congress, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to make the case that accomplishing hard tasks, solving hard problems, and committing to collective action are particular ambitions or ideals or strengths of American democracy. - The Walrus

Gladys Berejiklian cuts her daily press conference just as NSW Covid cases peak – that is a dereliction of duty

The government should be held accountable for the experiment it is embarking on. It will now simply tell us what it thinks we need to know – but that’s just advertising

Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson looks even more shoddy than Bush v. Gore, where Scalia set a very high bar for shoddy.

The US supreme court is deciding more and more cases in a secretive ‘shadow docket’ Guardian (with Harvard Law Review link).

How Will the Taliban Govern? A History of Rebel Rule Offers Clues. New York Times 


If you have the stomach for one more article about why the Taliban won so quickly, read this. It’s a little bit technical but well worth a few minutes.

The key point is that Afghanistan has a very low population density, so military operations have low force-to-space ratios, as the military call them. This means positional warfare (the stuff with arrows you sometimes see) is very difficult, because just finding the enemy is a challenge. Low FSRs favour irregular forces which can move quickly, hit hard and reappear elsewhere. The ANA made the situation worse by withdrawing to major cities and letting the Taliban have the countryside, so the cities were cut off and strangled. Trained by the US, the ANA was waiting for an frontal attack, which they hoped to defeat, US-style, with massive firepower. But the Taliban were playing a different game, even if they seem to have been taken aback by their own success

Sally Rooney’s Return To Writing

Rooney found immense success with her first two books - so much success that it became a challenge to writing. How did she get back to work? - The New York Times

Why We Need Poetry Right Now

Indeed, in our age of social media, words are often used as weapons. Poetry instead treats words with care. - The New York Times

What A Classical Retelling Means To Its Writer, And Its Audience

Madeline Miller's 2011 book The Song of Achilles has, she says, helped readers come out to their parents; has inspired people to earn Ph.D.s in Classics; and even led to some intense tattoos. - The Guardian (UK)

What Comedian Memoirs Reveal About Race

It's like a mini-sociology course, reading comedian memoirs. Take Tina Fey's Bossypants (which "has a truly jaw-dropping number of racist jokes") or books by Amy Poehler or Amy Schumer and compare them to memoirs by Mindy Kaling, Issa Rae, or Tiffany Haddish. - LitHub

When The NYT Book Review Minced Few Words

You might call the headlines "brutally honest," if you were being kind. "Novel or Nightmare?" one asks. "Two Pathetic Books," one proclaims. - The New York Times

Anne Serre, The Beginners.  What is it like for a woman to go from loving one man to another?  This newly translated French novel was fun enough, insightful enough, and direct and short enough for me to finish.