THE INTELLECTUAL SITUATION
Death by Degrees
One sort of false consciousness may be involved when a low-income person votes Republican out of mistrust for the credentialed establishment; another occurs when the credentialed establishment denies its own existence.
Newt Gingrich seemed to be the first Big Baby, but then his divorces, affairs, and violation of every Congressional ethics rule temporarily made him seem adult. Rush Limbaugh was definitely the second Big Baby and real founder of the line.
Abroad, the emotional difficulties that usually come with making and sleeping with friends vanish in an instant. Three months from now, you’ll never have to see them again, except on Facebook, in blurry photos from a Tenerife rave.
Twitter’s formal properties bend, simultaneously, in opposite directions: toward the essential but also the superfluous, the concise but also the verbose.
Sex Class Action
Sexism at Wal-Mart could be subtle and insidious, but it was just as often overt and absurd. Sue Brown, a former teacher with a master’s degree, had been working in the electronics department of a Kentucky Wal-Mart for several years when she discovered that a teenage boy, whom she herself had trained, made more money than she did.
Panic in a Suitcase
What took you so long? You had to wait until the sun was strongest! Put on a hat. Take a dip. Come here. Don’t get sand on that. Want a sandwich, a drink, oh I know, an apricot?
Captain Midnight (Part Two)
What form of fiction was better for education than the short story? For decades, editors and writers had seen it as apprentice work, preparation for a novel. For Lish, the way it expressed these qualities was by being the form with the most mechanistic construction.
We couldn’t avoid noticing a pimply, hatchet-faced white undergraduate shoveling his eggs and bacon, it seemed with both hands. My father looked at the boy with disgust. “He’s going to run the country one day,” he said. “He should eat properly.”
Lions in Winter
Of the 5 million books held at the New York Public Library’s main building, only about 300,000 were requested last year. That means that the rest of them just sat around, taking up space in one of the most prized neighborhoods on the planet.
A while back, I joined a day of protest against Sit-Lie. I made coffee cake and spicy tea in a tin kettle. My husband brought a beanbag toss game and flyers about the proposed law. We took possession of the corner of 24th and Shotwell, a block from our house.
The critics did not like I’m Still Here. Their complaints were epistemological. Was it a documentary, or a hoax? If, as many suspected, it was a “mockumentary”—by then an established comic genre—then why perpetrate so much deceit?
On the Theory Generation
Perhaps you still possess some recognizable talismans: that copy of The Foucault Reader with the master’s bald head and piercing eyes, emblematic of pure intellection; A Thousand Plateaus with its Escher-lite line-drawing promising the thrills of disorientation; the stark, sickly-gray spine of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics.
On Atlantic Yards
In the immediate postwar years, the city delgated its planning powers, including the power of eminent domain, to newly formed agencies run by small boards of “experts.” These entities worked with the private sector and without electoral accountability to build the modern city.
The first day it was traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the value of RealD’s shares went up 30 percent. AMC, Cinemark, and Regal, of course, exercised their options. Here was a model that, if anything, was more fully integrated than the robber baron studios.
I had written to express skepticism about the voice cultivated by women’s websites. Now I was experiencing the real problem with the community defined by that voice: the way it responds to criticism.