Italics Mine: Technology -
Patrick and I have gone “screen free” around Bean. That means we aren’t checking our phones or looking at our iPads around him. I was beginning to feel like he saw us online too much. It began to seem like the only thing we did, especially since I rarely open the novel I’m reading around him…
"… said one senior FORMER prosecutor who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the Justice Department." Come on, NYT. I just don’t buy that there’s general confusion out there in the world about whether former employees are the officially authorized voice of their former employers. So the “spoke on the condition of anonymity because …" rationale feels hollow. Hollow words make my faith in a story go all wobbly. Moving on.
You don’t write as a writer, you write as a man—a man with a certain hard-earned skill in the use of words, a particular, and particularly naked, consciousness of human life, of the human tragedy and triumph—a man who is moved by human life, who cannot take it for granted. Donne was speaking of all this when he told his congregation not to ask for whom the bell tolls. His learned listeners thought he was speaking as a divine—as a stoic. He was speaking from his poet’s heart: He meant that when he heard the bell he died. It’s all in Keats’s letters—that writer’s bible which every young man or woman with this most dangerous of lives before him should be set to read. Keats is already a poet in these letters—he is certain, in spite of the reviewers, that he will be among the English poets at his death. But they are not the letters of a poet. They are the letters of a boy, a young man, who will write great poems. Who never postures. Who laughs at himself and who, when he holds his dying brother in his arms, thinks of his dying brother, not the pathos of the scene. You can put it down, I think, as gospel that a self-advertising writer is always a self-extinguished writer. — - from the how-should-a-person-be section of Archibald MacLeish, The Art of Poetry No. 18 in the Paris Review
Today, during a "Do Critics Still Matter?" segment on KUOW’s The Conversation, I kept thinking that fill-in host David Hyde needed to focus the damn camera, so I think I blurted “Exactly!” almost 16 minutes into the 18-minute segment when a guest tried to make things less blurry:
Jim DeRogatis: Not that I’m criticizing a fellow radio-show host, but I think you never defined your terms. What do you mean by “professional”? What do you mean by “critic”? You know, Douglas was right: We are in a golden age of opinion. But you know what they say about opinions, right? Everybody has one, and everybody has something else* too, right? It’s cheap. It’s easy. To say the new Kanye West sucks, to say the new Kanye West is great, that’s not criticism. That’s just mere opinion.
David Hyde: Our audience here in Seattle, Jim, is really bright. “Professionals” are people who get paid for what they do. And “critics”: You’re a critic; I know one when I see one.
Nifty move, invoking the “really bright” audience to make the show dumber.
* This was a dumb thing to say while trying to make a show less dumb.
I will never take anything for granted. It is a miracle to me that I can go to a grocery store and don’t have to stop counting at $3. I can also live without too much fear because I know I could survive without these things. I was at this event once, and somebody said, ‘I can’t believe that you survived — it’s superhuman.’ And a woman in the front row shyly raised her hand and said, ‘I’m from Liberia, and she didn’t have it so bad.’ There was a gasp in the audience, as though I was going to get upset that this chickie-poo dared to have a worse childhood than me. To the contrary. The thermostat and hot running water are luxuries. I would never want to go back, but I know I can. I don’t understand Outward Bound, having to pay for all that, but if that’s what you need to figure out you’re tougher than you realize, that’s O.K. —
- from "How Jeannette Walls Spins Good Stories Out of Bad Memories" in the NYT Mag
(via Elliott Holt)